LM: Doug, I ask all my clients to make lists of what they want and need, what they are willing to overlook and what their deal breakers are. Do you believe a “list” may be keeping us from finding a great companion and potential love interest?
DS: Life’s full of compromises, isn’t it, Lori? A failure — or a refusal — to compromise or bend is a cause of war, divorce and all kinds of human suffering.
I sound very adult here, eh? The fact is that some of us are happy to hold onto our must-haves and risk a life of single-hood rather than compromise and risk the miserable-hood of a bad match.
LM: I think it’s important to keep your “must have” list to five things. Non-starters for example. The reason I say this is because in past relationships I had NO list, and we know how that turned out. By having the “list” you are valuing yourself and your time and actually doing someone else a favor by holding true to it. It’s like having a compass or a game plan. You NEED to follow something.
DS: This is probably a good time to acknowledge that people date for lots of different reasons. For some of us, we date with an open heart, on a quest for our soulmate. Or, for someone who’ll be good company or for someone great in bed. Others might date as a way to assert agency, using our must-haves as an act of empowerment. As in…”I’ve settled for way too long and it’s gonna be different from now on. Period.”
It may appear that such a man or woman is Available for dating. They may be. But what she or he might also actually be doing is dating as a means of enforcing sovereignty, manifesting as their must-haves. Which is okay. À chacun ses goûts.
LM: I often forget why people date. I thought most people dated to find a relationship. Not to pass the time and waste others time and resources. I’ve heard from many men that this is the case. In terms of settling-that clearly shouldn’t be taken out on an unknowing accomplice, don’t you agree?
DS: I do agree, Lori, totally. However, I’m not sure you and I have offered much so far that’s practical to anyone reading this. (Though I’ve been thinking about your bit of allowing yourself must-haves within limits.) Maybe this — the shortage of practical commentary — is the take-away with the question that got us rolling. That is, In the realm of dating, we often wander outside the rational and into the irrational (to put it bluntly). In that context, if I were to offer anyone anything hopeful and actionable, it would be to say Work on shortening the distance between your head and your heart.
Doug Stern is an award winning marketer and writer and can be found at http://www.doug-stern.com
Lori Mendelsohn is a Certified Matchmaker and Dating Coach and can be found at https://seacoastmatchmaker.com