__ – Tall
__ – Dark
__ – Handsome, at least a 9.5
__ – Must be a doctor, lawyer, or surgeon
__ – Must love cats, but not all cats, only orange ones
__ – Must be no more than 4 months older than me
If the above list resembles your online dating checklist for the perfect match, your due diligence may be ruining your chances of finding the perfect match. Today we’re going to talk about dating checklists and why they can be great to keep you from settling and also be disastrous to your success. We’ll talk about the things that should stay on the list and those things that you might want to move over to the “want” list instead of the “need” list.
Wants vs. Needs
Before we go any further, we need to talk about the difference between wants and needs as they pertain to finding your perfect match. A need is something that you refuse to live without. It’s something that you might have heard referred to as a deal breaker. These are the things that no matter what, you’re not going to date or marry someone who doesn’t have this quality. A lot of times there are things like no smoking, wants or does not want kids, religious preference, etc.
On the other side of the aisle, you have your wants. A want is something that you’d like to see in your matches, but it’s not something that you HAVE to have. For example, let’s say you like guys with brown hair. Are you not going to date someone because they have blond hair? We’d hope that you’re not that strict. If you are, you may have already found the first thing you need to adjust on your checklist.
You need to be honest with yourself about which list different characteristics, and qualities fall on. If something is a deal breaker, don’t let it fall on the wants list. It’s important to you and deserves to be on the needs list. If something seems important to you but really isn’t, there’s no reason it should be on the needs list. You don’t NEED to date a girl with double Ds. You don’t NEED to marry a guy who is a doctor or a lawyer only.
These are things that you would LIKE to have, but you shouldn’t HAVE to have. Does this mean you shouldn’t seek out people that have your needs and your wants? Nope! If you can find people that match your wants and needs, you’ve struck gold. Remember, though, it’s probably not going to happen unless you live in a fairytale world and are just stopping through Earth on your way back to Neverland.
Moving things from your needs list to your wants list can be the hardest part of this process. You may have convinced yourself that you can’t live without a guy or girl with brown hair. Take a step back and think about that. If the perfect person came around and they had blond hair, would you refuse to date them? If the answer is yes, you may have other things you need to work out internally. We would guess, though, that most of you would agree that you would learn to get over the hair color.
You need to ask yourself this same question with all of your dating checklist criteria. If the perfect person came along, but they didn’t have _____, would I still date or potentially marry them? If the answer is yes, then you’ve identified something that needs to move over to the wants list.
We aren’t trying to get you to settle here. We just don’t want you to let Mr. or Ms. Prince or Princess Charming walk right on off your computer screen and out of your life because of some silly checklist criteria.
Don’t Settle on the Important Stuff
It’s important that we say this. If something is truly a deal breaker and something you can’t live without, NEVER settle on it. If you’re set that you have to date a Christian man or woman and a perfect person who isn’t religious comes along, don’t start talking to them or date them. You’re going to set yourself and them up for a lot of heartaches when the relationship starts to get more serious.
If you 100% want kids and a match you’re talking to does not, don’t start talking to them or start going on dates. They are not going to “come around” or change their mind. Save yourself the heartache and find someone who fits all of your needs.
There are so many singles out there looking for love, and the online dating sites are packed full of them. There’s no reason that you should ever even consider settling for someone who didn’t have everything that was a deal breaker for you in a mate or a potential future spouse.
Allow Your Dating Checklist to Be Fluid
Should you set your checklist at the beginning of your search and then print it and get it framed? As you know, almost all of our questions are rhetorical trick questions. The answer is no, you should not. Your checklist needs to be something that changes as you change.
One of the coolest things that happens through the online dating process is no matter what sort of success or failure you have, one thing is for sure; you’re going to learn a lot about yourself, and you’re going to grow and change as a person.
This means that the things that you want and the things that you need in a potential mate could change. Are they definitely going to change? No, but it’s very possible and even probable that they are going to change. You might have something that you thought was a want and find out after talking to a few people that it is 100% a need. Or, you may have something that you think you need and realize later that you were being silly and it isn’t really that important.
**Sidenote** Be careful with moving things from the needs list to the wants list during the dating process. Our brains can sometimes rationalize and trick us that we don’t want things because we like someone when in reality those are things that we do need. We would suggest you spend enough time at the beginning of the process evaluating yourself and soul searching to know what has to stay on that needs list.
The bottom line is that it’s not a bad thing to have a dating checklist. In fact, we encourage you to have one. But, we encourage you to have one as long as you also have a wants list and you make sure you know the difference between the two. Take some time and put things on each list and make sure that you’re being honest with yourself.
If you aren’t sure about something, ask your friends and family for input. They know you and dating you sometimes better than you know yourself. They’ve seen your relationship wins and your relationship losses first-hand. Ask them if they think your wants and needs list is correct or if there is something that you’re missing or need to shift around.
Ultimately, taking a few extra minutes to get this sorted out will result in a lot more successful dates, relationships, and hopefully marriages (if that’s what you want) for you.
Also, we hope and pray your checklist looks NOTHING like the one we posted at the top of the page 🙂 If it does, we have more to talk about…
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.