The Right Formula For Choosing Mr/Ms Right

As a dating and relationship expert, I am frequently asked for advice about HOW to choose the right partner. The question is often centered on the qualities that are found in lasting, healthy unions and how we can know if the people we are choosing to date are a good match for us according to these.

The answer for everyone can only be found through careful examination of one's own needs, wants, values and goals and comparing these with the answers your date or partner would give to their own self-examination of these critical relationship components. At the core of this assessment is a need for honesty and good self- awareness.

Therefore, it begins with you as an individual and your own readiness for a "real" relationship. Essentially, you need to have your own life (enough) in order and know who you are and the direction you want your life to go in. For more specific help with this, read my article at: Once you have decided that you are indeed ready for all the right reasons--then you can move successfully towards serious dating and commitment by knowing what the "right" relationship qualities are for you and learning how to "see" them in others.

In order to do a good assessment, you need to examine four critical areas that are at the foundation of all healthy, enduring relationships. These are your:

* Needs
* Wants
* Values
* Goals

When we talk about needs in this context, we are really asking ourselves what we believe is essential for us in our future life. For instance, is marriage your ultimate goal or are you looking only for companionship or a non-marital partnership? Perhaps you are looking for someone who shares a very specific lifestyle, passion or interest. Ask yourself; "What MUST I have that is non-negotiable?" Then, ask yourself, "What is unacceptable or something I just can't live with?"

Your wants are very closely related to your needs, but will have some room for compromise. Make a "wish list" related to how you see your future life. Be creative, but make sure you include things like financial status, lifestyle considerations, social and relationship needs, etc.

Your values are a very critical component to your assessment. They drive your goals and go to the very core of what is dearest to you. For instance, ask yourself the following questions. Is God an essential part of your life? Must your partner have high intelligence and/or be well educated? Do you believe that saving/investing money is essential to your life and that you must do so even if it requires sacrifices in your lifestyle? Do you absolutely want children or are you sure you do not want to be a parent? Do you have a specific vision of what you believe a good parent is and does in their role of caregiver and role model? How large of a priority is family and intimacy in your life? Do you have specific expectations regarding your partner's behavior towards you and any future children you may have? Do you see yourself settled down in a home/job/lifestyle or do you dream of travel and a lifestyle that allows you to move about freely and leaves many options open to you?

Your goals follow your values and are what you organize your life and priorities around. They include, but are not limited to: career choices, level of income, homeownership, and other investments, and desired lifestyle--which includes family, geographic area of residence etc. and timetables for accomplishment and achievement of your life's milestones.

Once you really know what these are, you will know what to look for in others. Determining how well you "match up" with someone else will become evident as you discuss and share your dreams, passions, hopes and future plans with your significant other. Many couples get into trouble because they either avoid having these honest and revealing talks--often because they fear losing the other person, or because they ASSUME that because they are so drawn to each other or have so much fun together that they must be RIGHT for one another and share the same beliefs and goals.

Remember to use your head as well as your heart when choosing the person you will travel the road of life with. For this road is unpredictable and can be full of twists, turns and perilous stretches. Make sure the person at your side will be there for you as an individual and will be willing and able to make the compromises and take the actions necessary to make it a lasting, fruitful and shared journey.

Want to read other articles on this subject?

"What Went Wrong? When Relationships Go From Hot to Cold"
List of more "Compatibility Issues" articles

"Match or Mismatch: Couples Who Are Right/Wrong For Each Other"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

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