The List: Are We Picky or Are We Afraid?

woman writing a listWe like to make lists. We’ve got lists of our life goals, bucket lists, “to do” lists, and grocery lists. For many of us, the most important list is the one we’ve made of the qualities we are looking for in a mate. And whether it is an actual written list or a list we have compiled over years of dating and have committed to memory, that list just might be the longest of them all. We want a man who is handsome, tall, smart, physically fit, educated, and God-fearing, with a great career, a large salary, and good credit. We want him to love his mom, small children and puppies. We want him to be athletic and adventurous; yet settled, dependable, kind, generous, and loving. We want him to be strong and assertive; yet sensitive and gentle with an awesome sense of humor. We want him to be wise and mature; yet young at heart. In short, we want the ideal man.

We say that we are willing to compromise, and that some of the items on our list are negotiable as long as he has enough of the qualities we seek to make us happy. After all, we are not seeking perfection. We only want the man that we feel we are deserving of; the one who is most compatible with us and mirrors our philosophical and spiritual beliefs. We just want the one who will fit. But I’m thinking that for some of us, there might just be a bug under that chip. And a big one, at that.

Mr PerfectWhy do we need a list, anyway? Is it to help us gain clarity and further define what it is that we want or is it really intended to keep us out of the game? It’s easy to get hung up on lists and forget the purpose of relationships: to experience an authentic and deep connection with another human being. And maybe that’s the thing that scares us. Maybe it isn’t so much about us being specific about who and what we want, as it is about the fear that we might be hurt if we choose wrong. Maybe we are afraid that we will not be perfect ourselves and that our flaws will make us unlovable. And maybe we focus on lists because in our hearts we know that a list can never really get us to the heart of a man or guarantee our safety in the face of being totally exposed and vulnerable. A list lets us off the hook, because until we can be open and truly challenge ourselves to show up in a real way, we can always tell the story that we failed because we didn’t stick to the list.

Not everyone has a list. The truth is that some of us are not really interested in having a long-term commitment and enjoy the freedom that comes along with being single. Life is about choices and we don’t, nor should we, all want the same things when it comes to relationships. But if we are truly looking to find “the one”, we might want to change our perspective a bit. Our prefect man may not be the man on our list.

Should we completely ignore the things that we know we absolutely want and require in a mate? No. But if we have a list, we might want to consider narrowing it just a bit, or even making a new list altogether. And beginning at #1, the list should simply read:

“To give and receive love.”

by Angie G.

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