Skip to main content

The List.

I've been told a lot that I don't have a "type" or a checklist of what I'm looking for in a partner.

When it's been said, usually it's a compliment.

It's been true, and it hasn't served me.

In the past, I think I felt if I had deal-breakers (some might call them "standards") it would make me unreasonable, difficult, and partners would leave me because of it.

Mustn't be difficult, don't you know? So I was super flexible, forgiving, and self-contained, and I gave a lot of love and care away to people who didn't give it back, weren't reliable, weren't honest and didn't show up when it counted.

It wasn't right, and I don't want my children to do the same, to think that having standards makes them "needy" and that this is somehow to be avoided at all costs.

But people have a way of meeting the expectations you set for them. It's reasonable to have standards, as long as I am committed to having them for myself as well.

So, I'm working on my list. To reaffirm, I am committed to these things as well, because generally, this list describes me, and in no particular order:

1. Someone who has a spiritual relationship with something bigger than themselves, regardless of what they call it.

2. Someone who doesn't get into flame wars on the Internet with strangers over political issues, no matter what the cause.

3. Someone who has a good relationship with his ex(es) and/or mother of his children, if he has them. A relationship that is so good, that he has no fear of me meeting her. That kind of good.

4. Someone who has a good relationship with his family, whatever it consists of. Again, no fear of me meeting them.

5. Someone who shows good self-care, specifically, seeking timely, appropriate and regular health care, without reminder or foot-dragging. Neither a sense of invincibility and denial, nor a learned helplessness and willingness to suffer.

6. Someone who has an appropriate relationship to substances - including alcohol, drugs, and food. Moderation in all things.  Who likes and cares about beautiful food.

7. Someone who has an appropriate relationship to work, including having both a vocation that they are skilled at and committed to, and a sense that there is more to life than work.  If they're at a change point in a career, clear goals, timeline and a strategy to make them a reality.

8. Someone who has interests and hobbies, but again, a sense that they are just hobbies, and may be interesting and fulfilling, but everything is in moderation.

9. Someone who is comfortable with children and compassionate about the fact that being a single mother (albeit with a committed and present ex-husband) has a different set of rules, and frankly, means he has to show up twice as strong as I am in order to make my vulnerability worth it, and is fine with that.

10. Someone whose financial life is managed and in order.

11. Someone whose domestic life is managed and in order.

12. Someone with concrete skills that can be called upon - handy with cars, animals, the garden, and basic household tasks.

13. Someone who is interested and aware of a wider world, including politics, news, and the arts.

14. Someone who is a skilled and flexible traveler.

15. Someone who has been in a therapeutic relationship for a committed period of time OR has a long-standing spiritual practice that encourages self-reflection and responsibility taking.

16. Someone who is clear, direct and accountable. Who shows up on time, every time, or calls in a timely fashion to let me know he can't and for what reason.

17. Someone who doesn't use social media excessively, and prefers to meet in person. Who phones instead of texts.

18. Someone who handles conflict without withdrawing.

19. Someone who is not intimidated by other people's accomplishments, and has a deep seated sense of self-worth.

20. Someone with an appropriate relationship to their body and others: not obsessive and not critical. This includes an appropriate relationship to exercise and fitness. Not too little, not too much.

21. Someone with an appropriate, mature, and healthy sexuality. This includes not using pornography.

22. Someone who doesn't have lingering, inappropriate, and/or totally virtual relationships with exes on social media.

Again, this is a list I can honestly say reflects who I am and what I have to give. One day, maybe I'll meet someone who matches it.