After being back in the dating pool for over two years, I’ve had some time to myself and have learned more about being an independent woman. By finding love and happiness within myself (and not being depend on a man to fill that void) I feel that I’m in a much better position to share my life with another. I feel stronger, but also pickier, and I now think I know what I am looking for in a partner.
The older I get, the less tolerance I have for BS, also. This makes me quick to crossing men off left and right (through swiping on Tinder or one-and-done dating) it is simply not worth wasting time with someone you’re not interested in.
One tool I use to help me when dating, is a list of five non-negotiable traits, as known as deal makers or breakers. I made this list alone when thinking clearly. I allowed myself hours to sit with the list and to make changes as needed. I considered past relationships, what worked, what didn’t, what made me attracted to certain people, why some relationships last longer than others, among other reflections. The list is always in flux as I allow for the possibility that new experiences may change my perspective.
I use the non-negotiables to date with dignity and respect for my core principals and to help make sure I stay on track seeking a healthy, happy and loving relationship.
I sincerely believe that dating deal makers/breakers must be personal and individualized, which is why I will not share mine specifically here, but rather share why and how I’ve identified them for myself. I will say, however, that there were many I considered along the way that did not make the final list. I found it harder to limit a list than create one in the first place, as I can easily list numerous things I want in a partner. To limit the list, I tried to imagine a scenario where a bad quality existed in a potential partner but they had everything else positive going for them. For example: if he was not athletic, but had every other quality, would I be able to live with that? My answer was “yes,” so athleticism is not on my list.
Once I got clear on my values, I seemed to repel the looser guys that I used to attract and, instead, make way for quality men to walk into my life.
I’ve found that it works best when I take responsibility for letting the guy know what I am looking for. If he is a stand-up guy ready for a relationship, he will not shy away but rather engage in the conversation and express his own hopes and desires. I found it’s better to start with the truth rather than falling in love with the potential of the relationship and try to make your visions align afterward.
When I say “yes” to someone (particularly when we reach the level of exclusivity in the relationship) it is also saying “no” to other potential good matches. For me, having a list of non-negotiables helps me to know when this is the right choice.