For Keeps?

It's the most important decision you'll ever make, impacting your health, happiness, longevity, resilience and professional achievement. So how do you know if he or she is the right one with whom to spend your life? Photo: Shutterstock

The List Method: How to Find "The One"

Making a list of what you are looking for in a mate can have great results.

So things just haven't worked out that well in the love department. Or you've gotten this close to finding the person of your dreams, and wound up getting disappointed again. Or you did find the person of your dreams, but for one reason or another you are finding yourself back out on the dating scene. 

Here's a way to make your journey easier, and it may even help you find that special someone even quicker. 

Make a list of what you are looking for in a partner. Yes, you read that correctly — make a list. I've recommended it to several of my clients/patients, with great results. 

Once you specify what you are looking for in a mate, it's amazing how quickly that person can arrive in your life. Or you may discover that someone who has been in your life for a while just happens to be exactly who you were looking for. 

Guidelines:

1. Keep the list to about 10 to 20 items. If you have five pages of bullet points, you've set the bar way too high. (Note if this tends to be a pattern in your relationships.)

2. Phrase the items in a positive way. Instead of, "Doesn't smoke", consider writing "Has a healthy lifestyle" or "Takes good care of health". When you phrase something in a positive way, it seems to draw that thing to you. "Not" doesn't compute in the human brain. Don't think of a white elephant. See? By writing "Doesn't smoke", you are essentially saying that you are looking for someone that smokes. 

3. The items on your list should be things that are essential to you. Items that are most frequently listed include "interested in long-term commitment", "wants to have children", "is _________ (religion)", "adored by my family", "likes to hike and do other outdoor sports", "takes good care of himself/herself", "loves to travel", "loves dogs (cats, ferrets, snakes, horses, etc.)", "Totally accepting that I have been married before (I have kids, I travel often for work, I am a recovering addict, my parents will be living with us, etc.)

When you meet the girl/guy of your dreams. take a look at the list. Falling in love can cloud our judgment. Things that would normally be dealbreakers just fly out the window ("Oh, you like to wear live animals as hats? I can work with that!"). Take a good look at your list. Does your beloved meet the items on your list? Don't worry if someone doesn't match all of the items, we're not looking for Mr./Mrs. Perfect - we're looking for Mr./Ms. Perfect-For-You. Meeting a majority of items is a good sign. 

Continue to review this list every so often during your relationship. When you hit a rough patch in your relationship (and if you are like a vast majority of couples, you will), pull out that list. Is your beloved still meeting those items on your list? If not, why? Remember, you can't change people. You can change your behavior, but you can't change theirs. 

I've been asked if you should show this list to your mate.  It's really up to you. Granted, you want to refrain from anything along the lines of, "Dude, look at all these things on my list that you don't match." When you know you've met The One, sharing your list can be fun and a way to enhance intimacy — "I've been looking for you." Others find it to be too private to share. Whatever feels right to you is best. 

Good luck, and get that list written! If you want, you can write your list and add it as a comment on this post. (Just be aware that everyone will be able to read it.)

www.stephaniesarkis.com

Copyright 2012 Sarkis Media LLC

For Keeps?