It's important to be mindful of the qualities you would like to find in a partner. Creating a simple must have/can't stand checklist can help you to get clear on things you feel you can or can't live without in a future mate. Make sure to distinguish your needs from your wants and your preferences from your absolute deal breakers. You may prefer someone who is more than 6 feet tall but realize you have more important characteristics that you "must have" in a partner. (My friend Dan is 5'8" and used to be frustrated that women online said they wouldn't date a man shorter than 5'9". He said, "Would these same women be disappointed if someone who looked like Jude Law or Tom Cruise walked in for the blind date?")
I like to confine the must have/can't stand list to five things on each side so you can stay open-minded and not limit yourself by trying to follow a long laundry list. So, take out a piece of paper and make your new checklist!
Name five things you must have in a mate and five things you can't stand. It can be as silly as wanting your partner to dance to as serious as wanting to be with someone of the same faith. Whatever is important to you, write it down. In some cases, one side will reflect the opposite of the other. If you are not attracted to bald men, put baldness as a "can't stand!" You are entitled to some deal breakers—even superficial ones—when looking for your future mate. One of my clients volunteered to share her must have/can't stand chart:
Must Have / Can't Stand
• Generosity / Self-centered
• Send of humor / Unmotivated
• Self-awareness / Arrogance
• Family values / Sense of entitlement
• Attractive (I want to kiss him) / Argumentative
Include, "He must be really into me" as one of your five must haves. Those six words will automatically affect your dating success.
When you consider men you've dated in the past, did they fulfill your must have/can't stand list? When you are forced to really home in on what's most important to you, you will find more clarity on the kind of person you would like to date and automatically create different results.
Stop pressing snooze on your life. Wake up to what will bring you true fulfillment in and out of a relationship. Live authentically and consciously—in life and in love!
Andrea Syrtash is an author, advice columnist and the host of On Dating, produced by NBC Digital Studios. Her advice has been featured on NBC's Today, USA Today and NPR, among others. She has contributed to over a dozen relationship-advice books. Her new book, He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing), will be published in April 2010. For more, please visit Andrea Syrtash.com.