When it comes to finding a partner, in some way or another we all have a criteria of the type of person that we are looking for. Logically, this makes sense. If you do not know what you are looking for, how are you going to know when you find it? But how flexible are you with your criteria? Are you reducing the pool of potential partners by filtering out people for the wrong reasons?
Let’s look at how we come up with criteria in the first place? Mentally, or on paper we start formulating our criteria based on what we find attractive, both physically and character wise. We add to this list our family’s expectations, followed by ideals derived from external influences in the form of friends, colleagues, society and the media. As we start dating and experiencing relationships, we begin to fine tune this list. On the one hand this is great, we believe that we are getting more focused and clearer about the type of person that we would like to meet. But on the other hand, you have to wonder whether we are also doing an injustice by excluding people based on perhaps one bad dating or relationship experience? For example, discriminating against people from certain types of professions, height and caste. Is it really fair to tarnish everyone with the same brush?
So we now have this fine tuned criteria, but if we look at it closely what is it primarily based upon? Assumptions. The reality is that we can never be sure whether these assumptions will live up to our expectations. But somehow we feel more comfortable about entertaining the idea of a relationship when we feel we have control. If someone ticks all of our boxes then we assume to have foresight and anticipate a successful union, versus taking a risk and stepping into the unknown. But if we translate this to other areas of our lives, we seem to be more open and willing to take a risk into the unknown, whether it’s going for a job above our station, jumping out of a plane for charity, or climbing Kilimanjaro. So why are we not as prepared to throw caution to the wind and venture outside of our comfort zone when it comes to love? Is it the fear of getting hurt; but what relationship (or even marriage) comes with a guarantee? Pressure to conform to family & external standards? I’m pretty confident that they will not be the ones waking up next to you every morning. Or perhaps it’s as simple as our own narrow mindedness?
Here’s a question that I would like you to answer honestly. If I could introduce you to your ideal partner who ticks every single box but is 2 inches less than your criteria, or one size bigger would you reject them? When you’re searching for a life partner, surely it makes sense to create and explore as many opportunities as possible. If you meet people who do not fit all of your ideal criteria are you really saving time, or acting in haste and missing out an opportunity? I’m as romantic as the next person but if you meet someone who only fits some of your criteria but there’s some attraction and you get along, the reality is that you have just as much of an opportunity to succeed or fail in that relationship, as you would with someone who fits your criteria perfectly.
When it comes to love, the more open we are to different people the more opportunities we will encounter. If you meet someone outside of your ideals, the easiest option is to talk yourself out of it and walk away. It takes a braver person to take a leap of faith and who knows they may just find love in the most unexpected way. I’ll leave you with a final thought to ponder upon from Sam Keen:
"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly"