I've been encouraging friends, family, and clients to start planning what type of men they want to get involved with.
At first, most don't understand why they should plan something that should "come naturally" in life. I mean, people grow up, meet people, fall in love and get married, right?
Well yes. That's true. And sometimes, the randomness of that works out okay. But a lot of the time, it leads to problems, because the two people were attracted together by shallow stuff like looks and maybe one or two shared interests.
The rest is usually forced or put up with because one or the other doesn't want to have to go through the trouble of "breaking in" another person.
If you don’t know yourself or your needs well, and hook up with someone before finding yourself first, you may end up realizing that the person you are with does not fit with you at all, or at least not enough for things to last very long.
This could be disastrous, especially if you cement yourself to him by having a child or getting married.
That's why as a woman, it's important to study yourself and know yourself well first. That way you KNOW what you want and can find someone to match as opposed to dealing with incompatibilities, or even worse, changing yourself to better fit him.
So how do you get started on this plan?
Who are you?
You are your foundation here. What does that foundation look like? And even small stuff matters! Ask yourself questions from all parts of your life.
Who am I? What are my likes and dislikes?
From food to fashion to movies to music to pets. What do YOU like? Now, your ideal guy doesn't have to like everything you like, but he should be compatible with you in more than one or two ways.
If the only things you have in common are two bands and one food item, you've got trouble. And when it comes to pets, practically members of our families, if he hates cats and you love cats...that may be a deal-breaker. It was for me with at least two guys.
My cat doesn’t like you. Get out.
What are my future plans?
What do I want to do with my life? Are you in a high-pressure profession like doctor or lawyer that really isn't conducive to having that "June Cleaver" cooked meals stay at home mom family life?
My best friend is a doctor. That ain’t happening for any guy she dates, so he can forget it, and she doesn’t pick those “I want dinner on the table when I get home” types anyway.
If that isn’t you either, don’t date a man with old-fashioned expectations that the wife stay at home and raise the kids. Make sure any guy you're vetting fits well with your present AND your planned future.
What are my beliefs and values?
Most of these have got to match. It's really hard for someone who is an avid churchgoer to enjoy being with someone who gripes about service every Sunday.
Our values and belief systems shape our every behavior. And if you date someone with less values than you or totally different ones, those issues can turn into fights.
Especially with the big ticket issues such as abortion, religion, and politics. Make sure you find someone who shares your values in the big three areas to avoid heartache.
What are my plans for family/kids, and care of elderly parents?
Do you want kids? If not, it's crucial that for your happiness that you stand by that decision and don't get involved with or pressured by any guy that wants kids. You'll really get the short end of that stick. Women have most of the responsibility when it comes to kids.
If you do want kids, find a man that is father material and will be a help in raising them...not a hindrance.
And speaking of family, if you have parents that are getting older, be sure you're with a man that understands that caring for them may be in your future and he will be required to lend a hand. Also be aware that you may end up having to help take care of his. Are you okay with that?
These are but a few characteristics to get you started. It’s worth visiting these issues, because things may come up about you that even you never knew were there!
Once you feel you know yourself well enough to start your checklist, you can begin writing things down.
For example, if you determined early on that because you're a doctor, the best fit for you would be another doctor because he understands the stress, write that down.
If you decided that he must love cats, add that to your list. Continue going down your list adding these characteristics and putting a place to check either yes or no for each one.
That way, the next guy you date can be matched against your checklist, and the more checks he gets, the closer he is to being your ideal.
Just make sure you're honest about his true personality. And one last thing...if he doesn't get enough check marks, don't be afraid to let him go. Doesn't mean he's a bad guy, he's just not right for you.
But don't lose that list just yet. Next time, we'll add one more powerful thing to it to make it work even better for you. This last tweak is crucial to avoiding settling for a man who is "almost right" but not quite. And in this game...almost doesn't count.