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Would you want to date you?
Many singles have a "mate shopping list," or at least a rough draft of criteria they are looking for that will help them identify if he or she is dateable. This list often includes physical characteristics/attractiveness, level of education, professional achievements, intelligence, and sense of humor. For some folks, the list is very detailed and covers areas such as finances, interests and hobbies, political affiliation, religion--and even things like animal lover and/or vegetarian. While there is nothing wrong with knowing what you are looking for and being honest with yourself and with potential dates--there does need to be some equity in order to achieve mutual attraction and an eventual good match. In other words, do you offer as much quality, interest, attractiveness and success as you expect from a future partner? Too often, the answer is "I'm not sure," or "I hadn't really thought about it." If this resonates with you, you may need to step back and reflect on your relationship expectations and remember that old expression about playing in your own league.
Begin with a brutal self-assessment--or at least one in which you try to be as objective as possible about what you have to offer to another person and to a potential relationship. Some specific things to consider can include:
* Attractiveness - this includes your overall health, fitness, and grooming.
* Lifestyle choices-that include such things as eating, sleeping and leisure time habits, as well as overall care of your body and physical surroundings.
* Mental attitude and outlook - Are you a positive or a negative person? Do you have a lot of baggage that you expect a potential partner to accept and/or help carry? Are you a downer looking for a cheerleader? Can you carry some of the stress and emotional weight sometimes or do you expect a mate to do this?
* Relationships with others - Include family, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances and wait staff. Do you relate well to others and have happy, mutually satisfying relationships? Or are you estranged from family, in need of friends and/or not interested in having any friends?
* Work ethic- That's right, are you willing to put forth equal effort into a relationship or a shared future?
* Financial stability- Are YOU also financially stable and relatively debt-free?
Once you have completed your assessment, consider areas that you could work on in yourself. This is part of what I call relationship readiness. Think about what you value most highly in others and use this as a place to begin. For instance, if you want someone positive, yet you are a negative person--learn about and utilize ways to address your outlook/attitude and begin to apply these consciously every day. Consider what is most important for you to address first and put the most effort into that.
Remember that NO ONE comes without flaws that are part of who they are and something a loving partner accepts. However, if there is a wide divide between who you say you are looking for and who you are--you will probably find yourself dateless. Always ask yourself- "Would I want to date me?"
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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