But it looks like this hasn’t been enough, because I still receive questions like: “Why can’t I meet the kind of women I want to date?” and “What’s wrong with me that I end up dating men who don’t care about the same things I do?”
These types of questions are indicative of a problem in what is called the “attraction” phase of dating – making sure that once you are “ready” to date, you will attract the kind of people who can meet your needs and requirements in a relationship. Understanding what it takes to attract the kind of people you want to date will require creating what I call a “dating road map.”
What is a “dating road map?” It’s exactly that – a “map” or a plan for describing, finding and attracting the person you want for a life partner. Having a dating road map helps to guide you and to keep focused on your ultimate destination of attaining the relationship you want. The alternative? Well, you could choose to simply wait for Prince or Princess Charming to drop magically into your life.
Creating your dating road map starts with describing your “ideal mate.” Your ideal mate will have a combination of qualities and characteristics that fit into one of two categories. The first of these categories consists of the enduring qualities — honesty, kindness, generosity, loyalty, trustworthiness and integrity. Included in this category are the interpersonal skills necessary to making and sustaining a committed relationship. These qualities are considered non-negotiable and mandatory.
The second category consists of your personal preferences: looks/beauty, intelligence, professional interests or occupation, financial stability or level of success, family background and involvement, hobbies, degree of religious involvement. These qualities can be more flexible and negotiable.
The next step in creating your dating road map is to describe yourself. Think about and ask yourself these questions: What are my strengths? What are my limitations? What do I have to give in a relationship? Think also about your goals in life– What is important to me? What is my life path? Knowing who you are and where you’re headed in life influences how you use your dating road map to search for, and especially attract, suitable candidates to date.
When your dating road map is ready – it has your vision of what you’re looking for, as well as an understanding of who you are and what’s important to you — your next goal is to reach your map’s destination. In other words — go out and find him or her! Unfortunately, this sounds easier said than done.
That’s why the next step involves comparing your two lists — the one describing your ideal mate, and the one describing yourself. Looking at the description of your ideal mate, begin to imagine what he or she would be looking for in a partner. Taking the perspective of the partner you want, ask yourself – “What would the person that I’m looking for, be looking for?”
I consider this a process of “qualifying” yourself for who you want to attract, and is an opportunity to “be who you want.” That’s because people frequently don’t realize that our relationships tend to mirror who we are on the inside. Regardless of what we say we want, we will generally attract a partner reflecting who we are and where we’re at in our lives.
This means that attracting the partner you want requires “qualifying” yourself by developing yourself and living the kind of life that you want now. While I agree that you may not be able to live your ideal life without a partner, you should still live your life to the fullest as a way of preparing to meet your eventual life partner.
So, knowing that who you are and where you’re at influences who you attract, the next question is obvious — what do you need to change, improve, or work on, in order to qualify to be the partner for the ideal mate you desire? Here are some examples of areas ripe for improvement:
Are you hoping for a spouse to rescue you from your boring and unstimulating job? Take a course now to help you find a more rewarding and gratifying career.
Eating junk food and take-out all of the time, saying that you’re waiting for a partner to cook healthy, gourmet meals for, or with, you? Enroll in a cooking class now to learn how to shop and cook yourself.
Feeling down because you’re not getting responses to the emails you’ve sent to profiles you’ve seen online? Combat those feelings now by joining and working out at a gym. You’ll feel better about yourself physically, and psychologically.
Following the part of your dating road map that’s more about you stops you from looking at others to change or be different to suit you. It also prevents you from blaming your misery on your single status. While the three examples I gave above were designed to empower you to grow and change, they were also ways to possibly meet others with similar goals — such as learning, cooking healthy, and exercising. By focusing on yourself and determining how to improve your chances of attracting the people you want to attract, you are preparing yourself, i.e., “qualifying” yourself, for the partner and relationship you want.
Dating can be filled with frustrating and ungratifying experiences. Creating a dating road map can be just the strategy you need to clarify your vision, and to help you feel more in control as you pursue a loving and fulfilling life partner relationship.
Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and personal coach living in New York City with her husband and three children. Known as “DoctorLoveCoach,” Janice helps singles navigate the journey toward attaining gratifying and committed relationships. She has been quoted in Cosmopolitan Magazine, featured in the New York Jewish Week, has a free bi-weekly e-newsletter, and gives teleclasses, lectures and workshops. For more information you may visit her website at www.DoctorLoveCoach.com.
© Copyright 2005 Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D.
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