Is Your Checklist Getting Too Long?

It’s a fact that most of us have checklists describing the qualities of our ideal mate.

I’m not going to say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m just going to acknowledge that it’s real. When you’ve been on the planet for close to 40 years, you probably have a pretty good idea about what you’re looking for in a man.

I don’t blame you for a second, and I’m not going to tell you which things you should give up in order to find the man of your dreams.

What I will do today is illustrate to you how even your simplest list of non-negotiable dealbreakers is the very thing that is keeping you from finding love.

Take it from a guy who has a pretty high sense of self-esteem and wanted a woman who was his equal and more: holding onto the idea of a person prevents you from seeing the real person inside.

Even though I’m not a big advocate of lists, I think an ideal mate checklist can be a useful exercise and teaching tool. But because I don’t want you to work too hard, I’m going to make your list for you. Please forgive me if I get a few things wrong. I’m a guy, after all. 🙂

Even when you’re getting 17 out of 18 of your needs met, you’ll pick the ONE that makes you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

You want a man who is:

Financially Stable

This is entirely normal. Then again, you probably ALSO want a man who is:


Solid list, huh? Except the list gets longer when you really think about it…


You like the fictional person that we’re putting together? I sure do.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

I want to be him for Halloween.

In case you’re wondering, there is nothing wrong with this list.

Except that it can keep going and going and going. For each quality you add, there’s another justifiable reason that a man is not suited for you.

Maybe he’s got 17 out of 18 qualities, except he’s…

Not close with family. That’s a big one. After all, you’re tight with yours and you think it’s strange that he doesn’t enjoy spending time with his brothers every Thanksgiving.

Not funny. The ability to laugh is paramount, isn’t it? And even though this guy is perfect in every other way, that’s not something you can live without.

Not confident. He’s an amazing guy, but he just tries so damn hard to please that you can’t even respect him. If he just grew a pair, he’d be perfect!

Not tall. You can’t go out with a guy you can literally see eye-to-eye with. No matter how amazing he is. It just doesn’t make you feel feminine or turned-on.

Not sexy. You know what it’s like to feel lust and you just don’t feel it with him. You can’t go the rest of your life without that chemical rush.

We can continue, of course, but I think you see the point. It’s not that any of these desires are unimportant. It’s that, no matter what, you’re ALWAYS going to find a deal breaker.

Even when you’re getting 17 out of 18 of your needs met, you’ll pick the ONE that makes you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

End of relationship. Back to the drawing board.

Does this resonate with you? Do you always find fault in the men you’re dating and dream that somewhere out there is a man who gives you everything on your ever-expanding list?

If so, join the crowd.

My 60-year-old, twice divorced client, Katherine, did the same thing for many years.

She’d most recently had her heart broken by a charming, but commitment-phobic man from, and she turned to me for guidance through the dating process.

I quickly wrote her a new profile and started getting her more responses.

Next thing she knew, she had a bunch of options from quality men.

Do you always find fault in the men you’re dating and dream that somewhere out there is a man who gives you everything on your ever-expanding list?

One guy even reminded her of the heartbreaker.

They went out once. He said he’d call her again.

He didn’t.

But this other man did.

He wasn’t the most compelling candidate in the bunch, but he just kept asking her out.


Every time my client would go on a date with him, she would have fun. And then she’d complain on the phone that he wasn’t what she was looking for.

A sample of our conversation:

“He’s 5’7”. I’m 5’7”. And I like to wear boots so that doesn’t work for me.”

Okay, I told her. What else doesn’t work for you?

“He’s not exactly the rugged type. That’s what I’m attracted to. Men who can work with their hands. Fix things around the house. Saddle up a horse. You know, manly men.”

Got it. Apart from those two things, how is he? Is he cute? Is he thoughtful? Does he make an effort to see you? Does he have the same values as you? Can he keep up with your upscale lifestyle?

“Yes. Yes, to all of those things. He’s actually pretty great. It’s just — he’s not what I’m looking for. He’s not my type.”

Which guys are your types?

“My two ex-husbands. And the guy who broke my heart.”

Do you see a pattern there?

“Maybe. So what do you think I should do? I can’t help what I’m attracted to.”

No, but you can help the choices you make. Instead of investing your energy in another charismatic Marlboro man with a lot of money and a wandering eye, keep seeing this new guy and getting to know him. Maybe you’ll find that being tall and handy isn’t as important as you think it is.

One month later, Katherine had made her decision.

Her new boyfriend would meet her children and they’d all take a trip to Portugal together.

This is one of my favorite success stories because the solution was so simple.

Drop the checklist. Give this amazing guy a chance.

You can do the same.

You’re so close to having that relationship you truly desire. Time to make it happen.