February 13, 2006
It’s very important to know exactly the type of partner you are searching for. If you don’t, how will you know when you’ve found him/her? In Chapter 3 of Love Smart: Find the One You Want, Fix the One You Got, Dr. Phil walks you through the process of figuring out who your perfect match is. To get started, consider the following:
Who, exactly, precisely, specifically, do you consider to be a quality guy? Figuring this out now doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be fluid and open to change, but it helps to at least start with some objective in mind. It’s time to set some standards and start learning to reject those guys who fall far below the bar.
First, assume for a moment that you have found somebody who rings your bell, lights your fire and gets your motor running — all at the same time. How do you feel, knowing that this person is head-over-heels in love with you? Are you feeling a sense of belonging? A sense of acceptance? Are you feeling lucky, blessed and proud of yourself and of your partner? Do you feel peace, joy, security? Do you feel you have finally found your place in this world through this person with whom you are going to share your life?
Those feelings are your real goal. So why go through the process of developing the Character of Him? Because those are the traits and qualities likely to create the feelings described above. So, while it’s important that you have a wish list, it’s equally important to remember that you’re actually looking for the character that will give you the feeling.
Dr. Phil reminds women not to let themselves be seduced by a man’s good looks. Your perfect match has to make you feel the way you want to feel. Physical attributes that seem so important in the beginning become superficial. Height, weight, hair color, job and all those sorts of things that may have attracted you to him initially and made your chest swell with pride when you walk into a party together will be at the bottom of the list describing the Character of Him. That’s because what you are looking for is the experience of you. And the things that will create this for you will be his values, personality style and interaction style, and the way he helps you to feel.
Dr. Phil cautions: The 100 percent candidate doesn’t exist. Instead of wasting time searching for an exact match, look for the guy who is free of the deal-breakers and has 80 percent of what you do want in a partner. The other 20 percent you can grow. If the guy has 80 percent of what you want and potential to grow the extra 20 percent, you have found your match. Remember, life is a compromise. Relationships are a compromise.
To figure out the kind of guy you want, go through the following five lists and check off everything that you can imagine as a desirable trait in your special someone. Don’t worry if your wish list seems too long. Check as many items in each category as you desire. Think about you, your life and your potential targets as you go. Which qualities would get you all hot and bothered? Which ones will make your life easier? And which ones have you been looking for all along?
Check all the boxes that apply to what you’re looking for, and then print this page for your reference.
Your preferences here should be made with full consideration of what would complement or compensate for your personality.
Funny: Makes me laugh out loud even when I’m having a bad day, which I haven’t done since I saw the last Adam Sandler movie. Plus, I tend to be too serious and want to lighten up some.
Serious: Isn’t afraid to think or talk about the deeper issues in life. Seriousness is important to me because I detest superficiality and need someone to resonate with me mentally and emotionally. The class clown is the last person I need to be with.
Leader: Knows how to take charge both at home and at work, so I feel safe knowing that if things get out of control, he can step in and make them right.
Supportive: Boosts my ego with plenty of praise and stands behind me no matter what. This is important because while I like to run things, I don’t see myself as a Lone Ranger.
Intellectual: Can participate in more esoteric discussions with me and our friends. This is important because I like to learn new things from my partner.
Emotional: Feels deeply and can relate to me on more than an intellectual level. This is important because I have an active emotional life and I need someone who understands this side of me.
Street-smart: Has great social skills and is a real survivor. He will make it in any circumstances. I need this either because I can be naïve sometimes and I like to have someone around who knows the score, or just because I get how it all works and I don’t want to spend my time teaching some guy who doesn’t.
Honest: Doesn’t play games, but is candid and forthright with me, even when it’s not easy – such as when he tells me I have food in my teeth and have had for days.
Sensual: Brings out the sexual vixen in me. I need this because I am usually pretty calm in the sexual realm and need someone to stir up that side of me, or because I am so sensual that I tend to overpower partners who aren’t.
Motivated: Driven to succeed in every aspect of his life. This is important because I want to live like a queen and my kids to live like princes, not paupers.
Stable: Lets me feel safe and comfortable because he is so solid. This is important because I am a free spirit and I need someone to be the ground beneath my feet, or because I work hard to be reliable and can’t stand people who don’t reciprocate.
Carefree: Helps me escape from all my stress with his easygoing, go-with-the-flow attitude. This is great because life is too short to worry all the time.
Spontaneous: Can live on the edge, pick up and go on the spur of the moment. This is important to me because I think too much planning takes all the fun out of having a good time.
Unpredictable: Keeps me on my toes so that I am never bored. This is important because, although I am quite structured, the thing I hate most in the world is getting stuck in a rut.
Organized: Takes care of things like bills and makes sure everything that needs to get done does. This is great because I can actually be a little scatterbrained sometimes.
Responsible: Can be relied upon to do what he says he will do. This is important because I need someone who can be my equal partner when it comes to doing the stuff that’s not fun as well as the stuff that is.
Dangerous: Gives me intense emotions, huge ups and downs, and makes me feel that I’m really alive. This is important to me because I don’t feel I’ve lived enough or because I’m bored to death any other way.
Independent: Likes to spend a lot of time apart and allows me to do the same. He never makes me feel any pressure or makes me feel that I’m responsible for his emotions. This is great because nothing turns me off faster than pressure.
Dependent: I feel certain that he’ll never leave me, because he would be lost without me. That’s important because I don’t handle emotional pain well alone.
Talkative: Keeps me entertained into the wee hours with great conversation. That’s important to me because I have lots to say.
Confident: Believes in himself, and makes me believe in him. This quality makes me feel good about my place in the world and secure in my future.
Wise: Thinks before he acts because he has learned from experience. This is important to me because I sometimes need guidance and would love to have a partner who can give me some real advice.
Disciplined: Strong enough to structure his life and follow his own rules. This is important because I can always trust him to follow through on what he promises.
Take some time to consider what would make you feel most comfortable or what you could easily get used to and check off those descriptions below.
Corporate entertainer: He always has business associates to entertain.
Political crusader: I’m not sure if he’d rather talk politics or have sex. Or have sex while talking politics.
Family guy: Every night is family night. He never gets tired of togetherness.
Homebody: Would rather stay in his boxers and watch TV than go to all the trouble of going out.
Late-night raver: Will dance the night away and then somehow still make it to work in the morning.
Night crawler: Cannot stay in for the life of him. Must be out and about all the time.
Networker: Goes to a lot of industry parties and events to rub elbows and distribute his card.
Philanthropist, benefitgoer: Life is just one gala after another.
Sports enthusiast: If there’s a game on, you know where to find him: at some bar with big-screen TVs and sawdust on the floor.
Jet-setter: He’s a regular saint … as in he skis in Saint Moritz, summers in Saint-Tropez and winters in Saint Bart’s.
Part-time socializer: Likes to stay in, but will go out once in a while to have dinner with friends.
Couple-crazy: Life for him is like one long “happy couple” montage from the movies. He wants to do everything with me and me alone.
Dinner party thrower: His home is the place for food and fun.
Dinner party goer: He is often invited to his friends’ houses for parties.
Dinner party avoider: He hates parties and doesn’t like to make the effort to maintain friendships.
Nature lover (hiking and camping groups): Card-carrying member of the Sierra Club. An Eagle Scout who likes getaways to national parks.
Athlete: Big-time runner, Ironman triathlete, mountain climber and cross-country cyclist. This guy’s life revolves around athleticism and peak performance.
Good provider: We always have our material needs met.
Good dad and husband: Dinner with the family after work, fun time with the kids on the weekends, and one night a week we go out, just the two of us.
This is about how you want your dream guy to relate to you. The same goes for parenting style, financial issues and sexual style. Take some time to think about the way your dream man would handle your relationship and then check off the descriptions that come to mind.
Emotionally expressive. Articulates his feelings.
Affectionate. Shows emotion through hugs and kisses.
Romantic in all the ways Hallmark would expect.
Actively involved parenting style.
In control of finances.
Willing to share responsibility for money.
Not that sexual.
Aloof and doesn’t need or give much attention.
Compassionate but remains level-headed.
Money-motivated and a go-getter who must have all the creature comforts.
A bohemian free spirit who doesn’t need many creature comforts.
Someone who stubbornly demands to get his way.
Open to compromise.
Inseparable from you.
In need of a lot of personal space.
Look over the following list and check off whichever approach to spirituality works for you.
He is very observant of the same religion as you.
He is somewhat observant of the same religion as you.
He is not at all observant, but comes from the same religious background as you.
He is not at all religious but believes in a higher power.
He doesn’t believe in a higher power at all.
It doesn’t matter what he believes as long as he is open-minded and respectful of your beliefs.
It’s definitely not the only thing –- it’s not even an important thing –- but it’s part of the formula you get. Come up with what you’d want if you had your druthers.
Hair color, hair style.
Body type: athletic, skinny, muscular, average size.
Look over what you’ve checked off. That is your 80-percent guy — at least on paper. Remember, whenever you merge two lives, there is going to be some pain of adjustment. You have to be willing to sacrifice some of your time, space, money, effort and freedom — and you certainly have to be willing to compromise on some of what you want.
Now that you’re through checking off what you want, go back over your choices and cross off all the luxury items you can do without. What remains is your standard.
For more information, read Love Smart: Find the One You Want, Fix the One You Got.