Once I receive emails from you lovely people, Kettle Talk will look a little something like this:
Dear Kettle Talk,
I would like nothing better than to tell you my how we met story but lately, my love life has been one disappointment after another. Do you have any tips or advice?
I am sorry you’ve been experiencing disappointment in your love life. Finding the right person to be in a relationship with can be challenging, to say the least. Without knowing the details of your disappointment, I can only give you general advice. I hope you find it useful because I would like nothing better than to read your how we met story!
Before I met my husband, whom I lovingly nicknamed Muffin, I took my time at the metaphorical dating buffet table. I sampled a variety of dishes before deciding I wanted to settle on only one. I have long forgotten where I heard about it but some self-help guru or another suggested that making a list of the things one wants in a life partner was helpful in finding one. I decided to give it a try and made a detailed list of what I was looking for in a relationship and it was very helpful. I wrote down things like, he must love a variety of genres of music (my Muffin plays the guitar and was a DJ), be intelligent, able to relate to all kinds of people and have nice feet. The have nice feet thing wasn’t a deal breaker but I wanted to be as specific as possible because I do believe that you get what you ask for. As luck would have it, my Muffin has great feet.
The process of making a list forced me to focus on what was really important to me and what I wanted in a relationship. I also found that the process made me more mindful and open to relationship possibilities.
Before you get to list making, a good question to ask yourself is, why? Why do you want to be in a committed relationship? It may seem like an absurd question but it will help you hone in on what you desire and what you expect in a relationship and sometimes what you desire and what you expect are diametrically opposed to each other. If they are, are you certain that being in a committed relationship is what you really want?
Who Are You?
Once you have your whys sorted out, to cover all your bases, you may want to consider making two lists—one of who you are and one of what you want. For the first list, Who Are You?, make a list of your characteristics and also ask your most trusted friends and family for their input. Have friends brainstorm words and phrases that spring to mind when they think of you. Pay special attention to those things that come up repeatedly from different people. If you are going to date online, this will also give you quality fodder for creating a screen name, headline and the body of your profile. It will also give you insight into how others’ perceive you which is always helpful. Be honest with yourself. Do not include things you wish were true about yourself. You want to attract someone that will be interested in who you are right now, not who you wish you were or who you think you will be. If you present “fantasy” or “future” you to the world (online and in reality), it is likely that you and your prospective date will both end up disappointed and possibly resentful of each other if the relationship progresses beyond dating.
What Do You Want?
For the second list, What Do You Want?, make a list of the qualities you are looking for in a date or life partner and why. For those looking for a casual date, their list will be rather short. For example, age 21-31, must love to hula hoop because hula hooping is fun. But you, Disappointed, are looking for a committed relationship so your list should be as specific as possible. You may notice that you have been so specific and restrictive in your expectations of the perfect mate that no one could possibly fit all of your criteria. Re-read your list, edit, dig down to what is really and truly important to you. Include ALL deal breakers and dissect why they are deal breakers. Think back to past relationships. What worked and didn’t work for you in those relationships? Keep all aspects of a relationship in mind. How important is appearance to you? Do you care if he/she pays bills on time? Chews with an open mouth? Only visits the dentist once every ten years? Be specific about the things that are most important to you. If you are a dancer and write on your list that your true love must love to dance too, ask yourself, is it more important to you that she be a good dancer or that she dance with all of her heart?
After digging through your wants, desires, expectations, examining and clarifying them, hopefully you come away with a clear of what you want and giving you the confidence to quickly shift through want you don’t want and recognize your muffin when you find her/him.
Now get back out there, Disappointed. Pay attention, do not ignore your list of deal breakers and enjoy the journey!
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