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Why your dating checklist makes you Mrs. Wrong

Dating is hard work. Even if you are having fun, meeting new people and exploring new places, sooner or later it becomes exhausting. Some people can have a totally good time with it, for others it becomes a task and the date turns out to be more like an interview for Mr. Right.

t couple at cafe

t Having 50 first dates was cute in the movie, but when you’ve gone on 50 first dates with 50 different guys, something more is going on.

t If you’re like most single girls I know, you probably have some sort of dating checklist, whether it’s in your head or on paper. Chances are, you’re making some mistakes with your list that can lead to unrealistic expectations and disastrous dating.

t Here are five simple tweaks to take your “list” from impossible to impressive.

1. Split your list

t Instead of only sticking to the haves and have nots, I give you permission to go a little gray. Know which items you are willing to bend on and which ones you definitely aren’t. And stick with it. If family is at the top of your values list, then don’t bend on that. If you prefer tall men, but are five-foot-two, don’t make height a deal breaker. Your list should be a guide, not the end-all-be-all for finding the perfect mate.

2. Set boundaries

t Speaking of deal breakers, know yours. Being super clear on not only what you want, but also what you don’t want, will make the process simpler. Most men will throw out their red flags on the first date. Yes, you read that right. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring them, just because he’s got gorgeous dimples and a killer smile. Pay attention. Check in with your gut and then make your decision based on that.

3. Think character, not looks

t Having a checklist doesn’t make you ridiculous, or a diva. But having the wrong one might. Do you have criteria that includes height, hair color, eye color or bank account size? While that’s all well and good, you should look at those things as “bonuses” not requirements. Think along the lines of character traits, like work ethics, morals, personality, intelligence, etc. You might not be attracted to Mr. Right at first sight. It takes time to really get to know someone and what they’re about. Don’t make a lifelong decision based on looks, because they will fade (for both of you).

4. How do you want to feel?

t This is one part a lot of people forget about. We tend to make the list about them, but it really needs to be about us. How do you want to feel in the relationship? Do you want to feel safe, like you’re number one, do you want to be treated like a queen? You can have it all, if you don’t settle for less. Take the time to think about how you want to feel when you are with this person, when you share your secrets with this person and how you would like disagreements and major decisions to be handled. Not getting your needs met will lead to resentment. Set the stage for how you want to feel in the relationship.

5. Check in with your values

t Think about the things that are most important to your life, your future family and children. If you are not on the same values page with your partner, it can lead to turmoil. Things like spirituality, raising children, priorities, finances and education are major things to not be on the same path towards. You don’t necessarily have to think exactly the same way, as long as compromises and working together are at the top of your list.

t Remember that standards are not expectations. If you become too obsessed with looking for your ideal partner, Mr. Right may walk right by you. Good things show up when you’re not looking. Instead of trying to build your boyfriend, build yourself up and become the best person you can be. Be open to love and new opportunities and you will begin to attract the perfect person for you.

Photo credit: LWA/Dann Tardif/Blend Images/Getty Images

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