How to find the perfect guy by creating a list (or two).
Making a list of the qualities you want in a partner has been around for a long time. You’ve heard people say their Mr. Perfect is someone completely different than their type or their list. You’ve also heard the stories of Mr. Perfect walking in the door one day that matches their list down to their physical features.
What goes on your list?
Advice ranges from putting down everything single thing you want from eye color to income. Then there are those, like Pat Allen and Settling for Mr. Good Enough author, who say you should just have a few non-negotiable ones like smoking and religion.
Another version of The List is a vision board, a favorite of Oprah and law of attraction people. You cut out images in a magazine that speak to you or are part of the vision of your life (a beach house, family picnics, world travel). Then you glue them on a poster board and let it marinate in the universe.
People say you should burn it or bury it after you are finished writing it. Others say write it on fancy paper and make a shrine around it, so you see it every day.
This attorney said she found her perfect man by jokingly casting a spell on her list.
Why make a list and how do they work?
Some say list work because they give you a sort of check list you can compare guys you date to. It’s more like making a list of all the things you want in a house before you go out looking for one. You might not get them all but if you have a list you will at least know where to look and how much you are getting/not getting. Otherwise you might fall in love with a house even though it doesn’t fit your budget or location requirements.
It might also work by putting out into the universe your wish and desire. Who really knows.
You might think list are stupid. You don’t want to box yourself in. You’ll just know when you meet Mr. Perfect because that person will make you feel a certain way. (Scroll to the bottom)
So what’s a girl to do?
First we’ll look at some tips from the experts. Then I’ll give you instructions on how to create or edit your list.
How to make a great list from the experts:
1. Content. What really matters in your list.
Gabrielle Bernstein says we often focus on “the frame and not the content.” We think of the physical or surface traits, like he will be outdoorsy, love sushi, be taller than me, and enjoys farmers markets on Saturdays. She says that is great and for sure have those things on your list.
However, you should also include “content” stuff. How will being with him make you feel?
- more yourself
- a better person
She says these should be on the very top of your list. Picture your list more as an upside down triangle, with feelings and “content” at the top and the “frame” at the bottom.
Another mistake we make in our long lists is that we ask for contradictory things. It would be like a man having on his list that she be a super maternal, PTA mom who also makes a lot of money in an amazing career. Sure there are probably some career women who can also juggle being a PTA mom, but very few career women I know can make it to every soccer game and have home cooked meal on the table (not that this makes them a bad mom at all.)
We women do it all the time. We want him to be social and the life of the party, but also love being at home body with you in a small town close to your parents. We want someone who is wealthy but a devote family man. Sure there are some millionaires who can do both but most men who make a lot of money work a lot of hours and travel a lot of miles to do it. So likely he is going to miss many of your home cooked meals and school plays.
We want spontaneous but dependable. How many spontaneous friends do you have that are also always there when you need them? We want him to come from an amazing family but also spend all the holidays with our amazing family. We want an alpha male that also likes to listen and talk about his feelings.
There are some unicorns out there, but it’s best to get clear on what means the most to you and understand if you really value togetherness and family time then maybe the school teacher is a better choice than the lawyer working 70 hour weeks.
The take away message here is think carefully about what really matters in the picture you painted of your future. Maybe that nerdy, skinny guy can’t change your tire, but you can always depend on him to be there for you and check the tire pressure before you leave on a trip. Ha.
Great things to include: traits you are mentally and physically attracted to, income, life-style, type of relationship you want, hobbies you want to share, kids/no kids, drugs/alcohol, religion, temperament, location, affection, conflict resolution style, etc.
Do you know your love languages? These are the things that others do or say to you that make you feel loved. Take the quiz from the book, The 5 Love Languages to find yours. To feel the most loved you might need someone to express it in words, spend time with you, give you gifts, touch you, or do simple things for you. It’s great to know what you are and find out what your partner is. Add the things you like on your list (Flowers? Love letters? Drive you around? Lots of hand holding?). Not everyone values these equally.
2. Intention. Writing from a real place.
If we make our list from a place of neediness or from a place of lack in ourselves then it’s likely we won’t have a true list made from our core or heart.
I think life-coach guru Martha Beck gets it right when she says go ahead make your list with 100 things you want in a man, but make it from your Core self not your Shallow self.
Maybe you are making a list from what Beck calls your Shallow self. If you put that you want a guy taller than you, maybe what you really intend to say is you want to feel safe, secure, and protected- something we naturally feel in the arms of a physically larger man. A shorter guy could also offer that to you, but you’ll have to get over your insecurity that something is off if you are taller than your man in heels.
Same with money, you might put he needs to make six-figures, when really want you are seeking is a feeling of being taken care of and security. What if you met a software engineer that managed his $70,000 salary so he lived within his budget and had plenty in retirement? Just because a man makes bank, doesn’t mean he always will or that he knows how to manage it. Are you afraid you might have to budget? Or you don’t want to have to work again because you never found your passion?
Maybe you want a dark and handsome man, but you really mean you want to be sexually attracted to your partner. You might find you are attracted to the funny guy once you get to know him.
Or maybe it’s that you are too afraid to be yourself and ask for what you truly want.
The more we know ourselves and what we truly want then the better our list will be.
If you secretly want to live overseas, but you put on your list that you want him to live in Chicago where you are now because you are too afraid to make a move, you likely won’t to be satisfied. Maybe you and all your friends are high power career gals, but you secretly want to be a stay at home mom.
It's your life so live it for yourself. You don't have to want a traditional marriage, what your parents have or even what your friend are doing.
3. You really need two lists.
I think the best advice about making The List is making a second list one that is your own list about YOU. We focus so much on the man. We are sizing them up, judging them, and checking under every couch cushion for something we don’t like.
What are you going to bring to the table?
What do you think is on your Mr. Perfect’s list?
The Perfect Woman: Forgiving when I mess up, Knows what she wants and lets me know in a loving way, Loving, Warm, open, giving (back rubs, an occasional sandwich or beer), Comforting after a hard day, confident, understands men, needs me but not to complete her, fun, playful, spontaneous, trusts me, respects me and my decisions, attracted to me/wants me sexually, takes care of herself mentally/physically, happy, has passion, listens, slow to anger, gets along with my family and friends.
This is really the list you want to spend hours going over and keep posted on your bathroom mirror.
How long do you think it would take to attract Mr. Perfect if you were already being this list.
As Marabel Morgan says in The Total Woman, “Marriage is more about being the right person and less about finding the right person.”
Here’s how I suggest you make your list:
1. Free write anything and everything you want in a life partner.
2. Go back and edit. Take out any contradictory traits and add depth statements to any Shallow traits you can.
3. Now go back through your list and organize it, so there is “content” at the top and more “frame” things at the bottom.
4. Finally, look at your list of the perfect partner and make a list of things he would want in a woman. This is a list for you to work on.
A Note for the No-List Girls.
Are you going to just wait for when you have the right feeling? You don’t need a list to tell you who is the one.
Let’s take a closer look at your reasoning.
- Are you maybe too afraid to put down on paper what you actually want?
- Do you think it doesn’t exist so why bother setting myself up for disappointment?
- Do you hate feeling boxed in?
- Do you feel like its demeaning to men? (if so you might want to make a list for yourself so it’s fair.) Maybe you don’t want to rule anyone out cause there aren’t that many guys to begin with?
If you don’t have a pretty clear picture of what you want your life to look like, you might be at the mercy of your partner’s vision. If you go through life without taking a moment to reflect on what you want, you’ll fall for anything. (Of course compromise is what makes relationship works, but if you don't know what you want or what you bring to the table, you'll never know what you are giving up).
What if you get “the feeling” with a man in the Army and you want to live in a certain city and work on your career? What if he doesn’t want kids and you do? What if he wants to live down the street from his mom in a tiny country town and you get there and decide you really feel at home in the big city?
It’s okay to have a list and vision of what you want and then turn down men who don’t meet it. You don’t want to end up with someone just because you don’t think there is something better out there.
There are other men out there.
Coming from a place of security in knowing yourself and knowing there are other options is the best, most rewarding place to come from.
What might happen if you pick someone based solely on “the one” feeling?
If you wait for “the feeling” it might never come with a great, available guy.
Mr. Perfect may need to convince you. Often the people who take one look around the room and decide there is no one for them here are shutting down and shutting out lots of possibilities.
“The feeling” is intense chemistry or a buzz when you meet someone. You are attracting your equal in terms of self-esteem, availability, and readiness for love. He can be married and you’ll feel “the feeling,” but that should be your indicator that you are somehow unavailable for love. If you were feeling great and your whole true self and ran into the same married man, you would likely feel nothing.
Rori Raye says,
chemistry doesn’t equal relationship
Chemistry is separate from love and commitment. You can feel chemistry with a complete dud or emotionally unavailable guy.
Chemistry puts blinders on us and we are quick to excuse, settle, or accommodate their behavior. See my article on more about chemistry.
So hopefully I've convinced you to at least have an idea what you want your life to look and what you bring to the table before you go looking for your next partner.
Go to “The List” part two to find out what to do after you’ve come up with your list.
Best of luck with your list and contact me below in the comment or my contact page if you have any questions or have suggestions for this article.
Comment below with if you know of anyone who created a list and found their partner matched him. Let me know if you made any edits to your list after reading this.