Warning: adult language below!
Imagine you’re kick-ass Katniss in The Hunger Games.
Okay, now imagine you’re practicing shooting arrows—with a blindfold on. In the dark…without a target!
First, we’re not Kat so we’re not really that kick-ass. Second, there is no second. If we’re here then we—me, for sure—probably suck at hitting targets. We may have hit some targets in the past—but here we are!
Okay, so the metaphor is:
We can’t hit the right target if we don’t even know what the right target is—the target being our ideal mate.
The relationships we’ve had—or tried to have—in the past, haven’t worked because they were the wrong target—at least in terms of long term relationships. We are the evidence of that.
Don’t shoot arrows at the messenger (Me)! I discovered this the hard way.
The good news is that we can consider all those past mishap relationships as target practice. We learned something valuable from every person who rejected, betrayed or hurt us (and likewise if we were the jerks in those relationships).
Sometimes we’re the jerk because the relationship isn’t meant to be a long term forever partnership. On some unconscious level, we know this but don’t understand how to deal with it or get out of it or let go or whatever.
Here’s what really went wrong in those relationships: Nothing.
If we consider our so-called mistakes as varied learning experiences and choose to grow from them, then they weren’t a waste. That’s not to say we might not have some amends to make at some point, but at least something positive can come from all that pain. (Pain is a guarantee if feelings ran deep for either party.)
Here’s why it doesn’t work out: We don’t know what we want, so we go with what feels good in the moment, which is usually strong sexual attraction that lacks the the things that really matter.
What are the things that really matter? That’s exactly my point! If we don’t know, how we going to get ‘em?
A Short Story:
When I was Kick-ass Realty Lady, I’d have potential buyer clients come in to my office for an interview before we ever viewed a single property. (Admittedly, it took a lot of frustration working with “flaky” buyers to realize this was a good investment of both our time.)
We’d sit down and I’d ask them a bunch of personal, but relevant, questions and then we’d go over every quality they wanted in a home—location, style, features, ideal age etc. (Kinda like when we consider a mate.) The magic wand, “If you could have everything you want, what would it look like?” question.
Then we’d go through the must-haves and deal-breakers.
I’d ask them, “If I can find your ideal home but it doesn’t have the fireplace, would you consider it?”
“Hmm, okay, yes.”
“If I can find your ideal home but it wasn’t in the school district you want…”
“No. We really want our kids to go to__school.”
“Why is that?”
“Because blah blah blah…”
You get the idea. We’d go through all their “magic wand” wants and then narrow it down to their Top Five Must-Haves.
Most importantly, we would ask clients to tell us why those were non-negotiable.
I’d close with, “So if I can find a home with [Top Five Must-Haves] within your price range, you’ll buy it, yes?”
If the answer wasn’t a yes, it meant that they were not ready, willing and able to buy now. (If our answer isn’t yes, we might not be ready, willing and vulnerable enough for a serious relationship.)
Takeaway #1: The “why” behind our “want” is more important that the want itself.
We can apply this process to our list of “wants” in a mate.
What we think we want: A man that makes a million bucks a year! (I’m in Vancouver, after all.)
Why, why, why?
What we really want: To be with someone that makes me feel safe, not two steps away from living under a bridge.
What we think we want: A woman who looks like Jenny McCarthy.
Why, why, why?
What we really want: A woman who understands and accepts me in a way that makes me hot for teacher.
In either scenario, real estate or relationships, going through this process has a three-fold importance:
- We see and pay attention to the real red flags clearly and early.
- We don’t discount a potential mate when the non-real
redpink flags pop up.
- When we see the right one we go for it without hesitancy.
All three points are critical for long term relationship potential. “Potential” because there’s no predicting that when either party changes, as happens in life, with those changes come new needs that may no longer match with our partner. (Though there are ways to work around this, but that’s another topic.)
If we know the whys behind our must-haves, and keep those to a maximum of five things, it’s easier to stay sane and walk away when we discover the real red flags—or not flee when we don’t see them—even if he does have a Hugh Jackman perfectly man-fluffy chest. Sigh. (Or for the boy dragons: Jenny Anything’s anything.)
This way, we won’t toss a potentially perfect-for-us mate to the curb if they messed up on something relatively unimportant, like using his thumb to push peas on his fork. (Though, that one’s a close call.) Or if she doesn’t look like a Jenny Anything. (Hint: Dude, unless you’re a Hugh, you gotta lotta work to do to get a Jenny… Anything.)
Usually, we’re so excited to meet someone that we’re attracted to and who’s attracted back to us that we skip all this “target assessment” and hurry up and bump nasties. Usually, this is not a good long term plan and we know it. (These quick-to-the-sheets relationships can still work out, but they can be a lot more work.)
My “potential real estate buyer” interview process took about an hour, but I showed way fewer properties before they bought. This, and a couple of stellar team associates, is why I was able to sell 100+ units a year. (I don’t tell you this to impress you—though, it is kinda impressive! Note: I sucked at money management and spent most of it on travel and shoes, the rest I wasted *wink.*)
The reason I mention the number of sales using this formula is that it directly relates to dating. If we know our Top Five Must-Haves, we’ll invest a lot less time with “prospects” that don’t meet muster and move on to new potentials that might, which means we’re not wasting other people’s time, either.
Takeaway #2: When we “fix our pickers” we can stop picking fixer-uppers, which are simply wrong-for-us mates.
This is a win-win because:
- We avoid unnecessary pain.
- We prevent ourselves from inflicting unnecessary pain.
- More people will mate with the right person.
- The world will be a happier place with fewer horny guys running around with “loaded guns.”
- People will buy less consumer crap out of desperate loneliness—we’re saving the planet, people!
Be the right kind of picky, and you’ll attract a partner that’s juuuust right. No arrows required.
Written by a reformed broken-picker fixer-upper partner.
Author: Anna Jorgensen
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Jeremy Cai/Unsplash
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