A woman walks into my office; she is dishevelled, staring at the floor, and trying to suppress a frown that extends from her head to her toes. She begins to talk and before long her problem becomes clear: Mr. Right does not exist. She swears that she has looked both high and low but to this day, all she has to show for herself is misguided romance and heartbreak.
This woman is not alone. She encompasses a large portion of my clientele, both male and female, who struggle with finding that special someone that fits into their list of qualities entitled Mrs or Mr. Right. You may ask yourself, why are there so many of us struggling in this arena? Why does trying to find that special someone seem like such a daunting task? And how can we move past this hurdle and finally find what we’re looking for?
Well, I’m here to tell you that there are two important things you need to do in order to move for singleton to “happy-couplesville.”
1. Create your list and compare
Start by writing out the qualities that would encompass Mr. Right. For many women this list can get to be pages long, including everything from a man’s height and profession, to his “shoe size” (wink wink) and the kind of car he drives. After you’ve finished your list, compare each and every one of these must haves to qualities that you yourself possess, and see how you stack up.
For example, I met a woman whose “perfect man list” entailed a gentleman with washboard abs who owned his own home, made a six-figure income and volunteered at a local shelter. However this woman was slightly overweight, slept on her brother’s couch, worked three days a week in a minimum-wage job and spent her days off relaxing with friends, professing to have never volunteered a day in her life. My point: striving to obtain a worthy partner that makes you happy and pushes you to become a better person is important. However, shutting out all men that don’t fit into your Mr. Perfect list, when you yourself have a lot of work to do, will never bring about a future fairy-tale outcome.
2. Revaluate your list
The truth about Mr. Right is that he can take many shapes and forms, and that the more we confine and constrict what he may or may not be, the more we are setting ourselves up for failure. For instance (and this is a specific example, but not uncommon), if you have decided that you don’t want a partner who has children from a past relationship, stop and ask yourself why that is. Is it because you think his children will take time away from you, or will be a financial burden to your future, or will require you to occasionally play a different “role” within the relationship – a role that is unfamiliar and scary to you?
Before you rule out a man with a child, take the time to sit and really contemplate why this is a deal breaker for you. You might just discover that you’ve been dismissing men for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps the man and father you never took the time to get to know has the qualities you’ve been looking for, as becoming a father taught him responsibility, unconditional love, patience and the importance of financial planning.
So, my advice to you is to rewrite your Mr. Right list, and then cross out every item except for the top five. These are what you’ve been looking for, and these are what you can’t live without. And while washboard abs may be nice to look at, they will never bring you long-term happiness – short-term happiness yes, but so does chocolate, and that’s a whole lot easier to find.
Dr. Teesha Morgan is a sex therapist based in Vancouver, BC.