Has this ever happened to you?
You meet a person and they are amazing as they check off just about 80% of the things on your Potential Partner Must Haves relationship checklist, but for some reason, you just can’t seem to fully fancy them?
You meet a person and they are not at all what you would have wanted on paper, but man, you simply cannot quit them?
It’s like the world has gone topsy-turvy, but what could this mean?
According to the dating experts it’s time to update your relationship checklist and throw out the old one.
We all have a Must Have Checklist (don’t even try to lie and say you don’t) that we expect potential suitors to tick off, as proof that we are compatible in our minds, but what happens when the Must Have Relationship Checklist is actually not yours, rather it’s the one your parents, close friends and society have concocted for you?
Can you be happy with that? Would that list actually have on the things that best serve you and that satiate your unique needs?
Dating is already an endurance game, but how are you to find your actual partner, if your benchmarks are not actually yours to begin with?
Let’s talk about what ‘looking good on paper’ actually means and why it’s totally screwing up your chances of living with Prince(cess) Charming.
Looking good on paper in dating and relationships, “typically refers to all the desired boxes being checked: good job, good education, good looks, the works,” says Dating expert and coach Meredith Golden of SpoonmeetSpoon .
And are usually benchmarks that prove this person is someone your parents and close friends will approve off, but are any of these, things you approve of?
Golden explains this is why it is important to identify what ‘good on paper’ qualities you’re actually being drawn to and figure out if these qualities actually create sparks or if they are actually rather boring.
You need to be honest for yourself.
“So far, the best dates have not been with the people who seemed “the best” on paper to me. The Harvard Business School alum was perfectly nice, but the best dates I’ve gone on have been with people there has just been undeniable, effortless chemistry with — regardless of what happened to be on their resume” says Annie Foskett, Contributor for Elite daily.
So now that you’re resolving to be more honest about what ‘on paper relationships’ traits you actually like and which are not at all compatible with who you are a person, the next thing to pay attention to, is who they really are and not who you assume they are.
There are many assumptions we make about people because of what we are looking to tick off on the list.
For instance, guy has hiking gear in his home, that must mean he is open minded and loves the environment.
Reality: they were a gift from a friend and he has used them maybe once.
Person has a great job that must mean he/ she is good with finances and will provide.
Reality: They are stressed out, broke and haven’t the time to really connect with you.
As noted by Tracy Schorn of Chump Lady , you have to not just look at the traits you think they have or the image they are presenting, but actually see them and their actions, in order to ascertain if you two are actually compatible or now.
“Yes, this is just another way of saying, listen to their actions, and not the image they present. The flip side of this is — knows who YOU are and what kind of person you really jive with. Some self knowledge is required to choose well and EDIT well,” she notes.
So here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you trust them?
Do you feel as if you can talk to this person openly about your feelings, victories and insecurities without being judged or ignored?
Is this person supportive and do you actually want to tell them about your day?
Do you want to hear about theirs?
Pay attention to this, as this is a definite flag in the relationship.
This leads to the next obvious item to tick off on your new relationship checklist: Do you have chemistry with the person?
Schorn, in her blog post, notes that there are many people we think we should be compatible with, but in reality, no matter what we do, it’s just not true because there is simply no chemistry.
“There are all sorts of people in this world we think we should be compatible with by virtue of shared history or interests, that we really don’t have jack shit in common with. I think this is a mistake we make especially when we’re younger,” She elaborates in her blog post.
Chemistry goes beyond just physical compatibility, and delves into whether you two ‘get’ each other. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to openly and honestly have great conversations with another person and actually wanting to spend time with each other.
True chemistry is not something that can be forced, so it is a good indicator, as Golden concurs.
“There’s so much more that goes into what makes a connection between two people and a lot of it is intangible,” explains Golden.
“This is why I encourage my clients to be open because you never know which package [they] will show up in. They could be ‘the one’ but just with a different list of ‘stats’ than what you had expected.”
The irony for many is the fact that sometimes the person you have the most chemistry with, is the person that you are not sure fits into the image of the one you wanted to show your friends and family and when that happens, the next new checklist item helps with that dilemma.
Does this person contribute to your happiness?
“Compatibility supersedes checking off the traditional boxes,” says Golden.”A date can meet all your standards on paper but be a jerk, or moody, or a million other undesirable traits.”
And isn’t that the truth!
We’ve all been there, talking with a person who meets all the standard requirements but no part of you is eager to share anything with them.
They’re great and everyone likes them, infact it seems totally insane that you’re not head over heels, but if you’re being honest, they just don’t add to your happiness.
So ask yourself these questions from Golden and answer them super honestly, afterall it’s your whole heart at stake here!
“Are we comfortable together?” Is this person easy to be around? Loyal? Supportive? Sexually compatible with you?”
“No matter how great someone looks on paper, if the other stuff isn’t there, there’s no chance of a healthy relationship flourishing,” says Golden.
And lastly, do you respect this person?
It is all well and good to have a relationship checklist for your partner, but the truth is the relationship will not work if you don’t think highly of them or if there are things about them that continually raise red flags to you without any kind of resolution in sight.
Trust, integrity and respect are all mutually important in the mix of having a reliable and wonderful partner.
So there you have it, the new relationship checklist that is about you, your needs and also asks the tough questions, which I hope challenge you into no longer using the old checklist to settle but to live freely and choose the person who is compatible with who you truly are.
You made it to the end! Wooot!