What are you looking for in a partner? In dating, this is a question I find myself asking and not surprisingly I receive a very similar answer that goes something like this “I want what everyone else wants, the perfect person for me…I know, I’m being too picky, but I deserve to have the perfect person and I won’t settle for less”. Have you found yourself answering this question in a similar manner? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that every person deserves to be in a loving, trusting, supportive and fun relationship. However, I don’t think that a good relationship is dependent on finding the “perfect” person because a relationship is a CREATION between two imperfect people. Where to start? There are two components: Deal Makers and Deal Breakers.
What are Deal Makers?
Go back to your list of your values that are important to you. Really look at it and pull out 5-10 values that are the most important and define you. These values are the foundation for your Deal Makers list. Write these down in a list format in a column on the left-hand side…then start writing beside each value how this can be practiced. For example, you can have the value of compassion. How can this be practiced? Compassion can show up by words on how someone speaks, actions of giving to those in needs, giving time such as volunteer work or spending time with family, having a general character of softness and care and many other ways.
How someone practices a particular value can vary from person to person. Just because someone doesn’t show it in the same way that you do, doesn’t mean that they don’t hold that value. Similar values are what keeps people happy in a relationship, but each person can practice that value in a different manner. We sometimes get caught up in rejecting people because they don’t show it the same way which is short sighted and can be dismissive. Allow space for people to express values in a different manner but don’t negotiate on the value itself.
This now becomes your Deal Makers list to use in dating. It’s not about height, eye colour or build, but about the quality of their character and integrity as a human being on this planet.
What are Deal Breakers?
This is about practicality and honesty. This isn’t a list of small habits that someone might have that annoy you and you aren’t sure if you can put up with the say someone pronounces ‘library’. This is a deeply honest list of the things that are NOT negotiable to you no matter how amazing the other person might be.
Why is a deal breakers list needed? Because there are simply some things that people say are negotiable but really aren’t. This where resentment lives and builds over the years and eventually destroys relationships. What does negotiation on a deal breaker sound like? It sounds like “she’s so great in so many ways but she’s terrible with money”, “he’s amazing and perfect but he doesn’t want children”. You cannot negotiate on these things! It’s simply not worth it.
So, what’s on your deal breaker list? Here’s some help to get started:
- Do you want children?
- How do you manage money?
- How do you feel about recreational drugs? Drinking? Smoking?
- What is a good balance between together vs. alone time in a relationship?
- How do you integrate family needs into your relationship?
- Do you already have children? How does this fit into a relationship?
- How much intimacy is needed for you to feel connected?
- Is travel important to you?
- How do you prefer to vacation?
- Saver or spender?
- Mortgage or rent?
- Do you love animals/pets?
- How do you prefer to eat? Yes, food is important
- Is swearing acceptable?
- What role does faith play in your life?
- Do you plan on caring for your aging parents?
Makes these lists and then stick to them. These lists are a good foundation for dating that seeks deep connection and isn’t based on height, bank account, hair colour or pant size.