Once you know you're ready to date and you know the type of relationship you seek, it's time to get an idea of what you're looking for in a partner. While some might say that this limits you too much, it's possible to both know what you're looking for and be open to something else.
The secret is in how you put together the list of characteristics and how you think about that list once you have it. If you see every characteristic on it as necessary, you might miss out on meeting a great person who doesn't have everything you've ever wanted in a partner. If, on the other hand, you see your list as a set of guidelines, having it can help you choose the relationships you do and do not want to pursue.
Necessary and Unnecessary Characteristics
To get started on your list, think back over past relationships, whether they were romantic in nature or not. Are there any characteristics that other people have that make life incredibly difficult for you? In contrast, are there any that you find necessary in anyone you're going to be close to? Now think about some attributes and aspects you would appreciate or admire in a potential new partner.
Use these to get you started, both in making a list of things you want in a partner and in making another one of things that you don't want. Anything that comes up in these thought exercises is probably pretty important to you, and might even make or break a future relationship.
Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics
After you have your lists of necessary and unnecessary characteristics, think about other aspects of people you've known that you have enjoyed or that have been hard for you. These may not be quite as important as the things you just listed, but they are aspects of another person that it would be nice to have or avoid.
You may want to make these into a separate category on your list. That way, you can separate them in your mind from things that are necessary or to be avoided.
Decide How Picky to Be
Now that you have your list in front of you, it's up to you to decide how strictly you want to stick with it. Are the characteristics on the list important enough to you that any perfect partner would have to have all of them? Alternately, are some of them essential and others expendable?
Know that you are free to make whatever choice you want to in this area. After all, this is your relationship you're considering, so the choices need to be suited to your preferences.
Remember, though, that choosing to be pickier might mean that it is harder to find your perfect partner. No matter how many of these characteristics he or she has, there will still be areas of your relationship that could be difficult in other areas.
Once you've made this decision, don't let anyone persuade you otherwise. No matter how good looking a perfect partner is if they don't have a characteristic that you've deemed essential, the relationship probably isn't going to work out.
Also, don't let your friends persuade you, either. Who you date and how you choose them is your choice, not anyone else's. Your personal taste won't be the same as anyone else's, so relying on their judgment simply won't work. You need to trust your needs and preferences when figuring out how to find the perfect partner.
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