"The List"

"The List"
Photo by Kiki Siepel / Unsplash

Happy New Year! Since this was one of my most popular posts last year, I figured I’d talk a bit more about choosing a partner. When you’ve had mostly terrible dating experiences, it’s easy to get comfortable with the idea that all you want is someone who treats you nicely. Having someone who treats you nicely can be considered an upgrade if you’ve never had that before, but still, it’s okay for you to want more than that. It’s expected that you’d want more.

I had to get comfortable with the idea that it’s okay for me to want a relationship with someone who doesn’t have kindness as the primary reason I wanted to be with them. My first healthy dating experience was with a great guy who I knew pretty early on wasn’t a good fit for me. I’d lay in bed silently listing all the reasons why we wouldn’t work, and then I’d follow it up with, “but he treats me good”. And I continued seeing him, enjoying my time, until we eventually hit our breaking point. I don't regret my time with him, those three months actually taught me a lot, but if I was clearer about what I wanted and allowed myself to have standards, we wouldn't have even lasted as long as we did.

With him in particular, I remember feeling guilty, like I was a bad person or didn’t know how to recognise a good thing because I didn’t want to be with him. I wasn't comfortable with nor considerate of the idea that someone could be a great partner, but that doesn't mean they're a great partner for me.

About six months before my dating break was due to end, I decided I wanted to get clear on what I wanted in a partner. I find clarity by writing things out. So, I made a list of non-negotiables when choosing a partner, and I’m sharing it with you because it might help you create your list. This list isn’t in any particular order.

My Non-Negotiables

Decisive: I need someone who isn’t the type to just roll over and take whatever life throws at them. I can’t tolerate relentless negativity, inherent pessimism or incessant complaining without any action to try to change your circumstances.

Resilient: To piggyback off decisiveness, resilience is important. I’ll never expect anyone to be a ray of sunshine all the time or not to process their emotions. But they need to be able to eventually pick themselves up after a setback and keep moving.

Actions align with their words: A huge trigger for me is when actions don’t align with words. How can I trust them if they can’t do what they say they will? And if I can’t trust them, how can we have a relationship? It’s comforting to know that the person you are with keeps their word. And when they can’t, they acknowledge that and make amends.

Understands and appreciates balance: This applies to all facets of life. Work-life balance, spending-saving balance, alone time and couple time balance. Etc.

Physically attractive: I know attraction can fade or waver over time, and I’m fine with that. I’m not fine with attraction, never having been there, to begin with. I’ve forced myself to give someone a chance who I didn’t find attractive because they were nice. The whole thing was awkward. None of this is to say that I was looking for a particular look.

Similar money and lifestyle goals to me: I don’t have a specific number regarding my ideal partner’s salary, but I do have an ideal lifestyle, and I want to ensure we’re on the same page.

Financially stable: Good spending habits, no debt or manageable debt and good saving habits. Admittedly, this is to help me with where I lack. While I don’t have major debt, I’m not great at saving either.

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