So many people just jump into dating without much thought about it—and certainly without any type of plan.
Every successful initiative needs planning. Yes, even dating!
Think about it: How will you find the relationship you want if you don’t know what it is? How are you going to meet the partner you’re looking for if you don’t know who that person might be or what they’re like?
It’s interesting. When you’re planning your career, you spent years preparing for it. You go to school, you intern, and take on various roles to gain experience so you can decide what you want to do—and perhaps more importantly, eliminate the things you don’t want to do. It’s a process you commit to because you know it will be a big part of your life.
But in their personal lives, people put little to no thought into finding love. In the end, they are incredibly disappointed when they don’t get what they want.
Real Life vs. Fantasy
Movies, TV shows, and romance novels give us unrealistic expectations about what love is. They tell us that you just live your life and—poof! Your prince/princess appears in front of you; they sweep you off your feet with romance and tell you everything you want to hear. You fall in love and live happily ever after.
The truth is, finding somebody to have a really strong connection with takes time. They call it a process for a reason. Dating comes with many ups and downs, highs and lows, and the occasional broken heart. This process helps us learn more about ourselves and the kind of person who would be a good match for us.
Like finding your career purpose, dating is a long process of figuring out what you don’t want. But you’ll never know unless you have that experience. You need to be okay with taking chances because reality is often very different from the fantasy. There are very few people in the world who will say that where they ended up, professionally or in love, is exactly how they envisioned it.
So, forget about the destination. It’s time to embrace the journey.
What Brings You Joy?
Before you start dating, it’s good to give yourself some attention. Get introspective and honest and learn more about what brings you joy. You need to be happy on your own first before you can invite somebody into your life.
As you journey through life, you’ll find things, people, and ideas that make you happy and fill your heart. You’ll also find things, people, and ideas that sink the boat. Sometimes these things are surprising, but it’s a learning experience, one you can carry forward as your dreams take shape.
That’s what we call the non-negotiables.
Making Your Non-Negotiables List
When we’re talking about a potential partner, non-negotiables refer to specific aspects of character and values.
These values are different for everyone, but some examples could include the big stuff, like family values, passion for career, a curious mind, kindness, caring, and a supportive nature.
Only you know what your non-negotiables are. But if we could offer one suggestion—keep them positive. You should always be looking for the best in people, not the worst.
When you’re actively dating, have your non-negotiable list handy and stick to it. Keep the list small enough, maybe five items. Your list is meant to help you stay on track without being too picky. You need to keep an open mind if you’re dating, but you don’t want to compromise deeply held values.
The next step is to stick to your list. Don’t become blinded by how attractive a person is, how much money they have, or the physical connection you already have. Why? Because those non-negotiables will pop up eventually, and heartbreak will ensue. Better to know ahead of time so you can get ahead of it.
Stick to your list to get the best results in love.
Dealbreakers vs. Non-Negotiables
Along with your non-negotiable list, it’s also a good idea to have a deal breaker list. The deal breaker list might include qualities you experienced in past toxic relationships, such as poor communication skills, dealing with past trauma, emotionally unavailable.
In truth, we all make relationship mistakes, but we can turn them into positives if we identify the issue, give it a name, and remember what it felt like. Many people feel that they are “doomed” to repeat the same relationship mistakes over and over, but if we see those mistakes as a learning experience and not as our “fate,” we can turn it into a positive. Remember—process of elimination!
Finding long-lasting love is something you can help yourself accomplish. Like most worthwhile things in life, you can’t leave it to chance. Put the time and energy into yourself because you deserve it. If finding the time is challenging, schedule it into your calendar as if it was a meeting, and then show up for yourself.
You got this.
Have you ever wondered if matchmaking is for you? Book a call today to learn more. Your perfect match is out there—and they’re looking for you too.