Ok, I was *this* close to including a shot of me becoming the sixth Spice Girl (Loving Spice), but I decided to spare you. Especially on a Sunday. You're welcome.
The truth is, we do need to define what we want, what we REALLY want and who we really want, so we recognize them when they show up in our lives. I am not talking about superficial qualities. I don't care that you want to date a size 4 blonde, or a six foot tall former athlete. What I do care about is defining the qualities, values, and personality of an ideal mate.
Anyone who has worked with me may be scratching their heads right now saying, "I thought you said not to make a huge list of expectations? What about my four non-negotiables?" The answer is yes, I do not want you to make a list of 17 qualifications that your partner has to have, and set a bar that is almost impossible to reach. However, I do want you to become clear on who your ideal mate is. Your non-negotiables keep you from dating anyone that is clearly wrong for you, but a list of ideal qualities helps to 1) manifest that partner into your life and 2) make it unbelievably obvious how perfect they are for you when they show up. Pick five to ten qualities of a perfect partner, and put them out there. Without fear.
So what does this type of list look like? I'll share mine verbatim. Walking my vulnerability talk right here, and putting it all out there. I wrote this almost year ago after a relationship that wasn't right for me ended (as all relationships that aren't right for you should). Here it goes:
1- Loves kids. All kids, but most of all, my kids.
2- Appreciates and respects a strong independent woman. Loves my drive and never tries to impede my ambition.
3- Charismatic with a smile that lights the room. A social butterfly that also loves to let it shine only for me at home.
4- Trustworthy and trusting. Knows who he is, appreciates who I am, and respects the relationship enough to always make me feel safe.
5- Loves sex. Yup. Needs to want to jump me all day every day.
6- Always open to new experiences. Says yes to the opportunity to travel, meet people, experience an adventure.
7- Generous in time, money, love and spirit. Always willing to help someone in need.
8- Healthy. Eats right (most of the time) and loves physical activity. Inspires me to appreciate my health and maintain it.
I've met a ton of people since I wrote this, and I cannot tell you how many times I came back to this list. Not because I wouldn't date someone who didn't meet every qualification (sometimes it takes more than a few dates to figure it out), but because I didn't want to let chemistry override what I knew I needed in a long-term relationship.
So take some time to tell yourself what you really want. Think about what has worked in the past, and what was missing. Write it down. And let it guide you.