So you’ve worked out which are the best online dating sites. Your profile has been refined to be irresistible, with all the right buzzwords. You’ve read countless blog posts on managing your online presence. Most importantly, you know that Ms/Mr Right is just waiting to be found.
Well…they’re definitely out there somewhere. You have extended your geographical catchment (no, 100 miles isn’t too much… is it?!), and the app is the first thing you check when you wake up. You are taking this seriously. You are not going to accept second best. You are clear about what you want and you are not going to leave it to chance. In my work as a psychotherapist, my clients come to me with a very clear idea of who the ideal love of their life would be.
But here’s the rub!
Entering into the dating game, we enter world where we are buying into expectations. These expectations are managed by ad execs that are selling us the dream and have the ability to manipulate our expectations. And, in matters of the heart we are sometimes easily seduced.
We buy into the myth that our idealized other actually exists. We can be forgiven if we do honestly believe that our beautiful curvy blonde with the Biology degree is just waiting around the corner for us. It’s hard not to get caught up in dreaming that dream. This is the fuel that online sites are using to promote their offerings and it is also our deepest desire on a subconscious psychological level. Our subconscious belief is that when we find said “idealized other”all our troubles will disappear.
Then there is the other problem. As we check out a profile online, as soon as we see something that does not fit the bill we move to the next. They stop being the ideal partner. Too short, only reads romance novels, wears strange shoes. We are so caught up with finding “The One” that we feel if we accept someone with a little imperfection that this shows us up as someone who will accept second best! This can make us feel that somehow we our selling ourselves short, and haven’t acknowledged our priorities.
Take a huge reality check!
Look at all the couples you admire – not the couples where both are freakishly good-looking- but the ones that you think have a healthy meaningful relationship. One you would like yourself.
Did they choose each other because she had the right color eyes or because he had the most prestigious address?
People who have healthy, meaningful and fulfilling love relationships are the ones who are attracted by the values that resonate strongly with their own. This takes an ability to take a long hard look at yourself, to understand what your core values and beliefs are.
To understand that there is no such thing as the ideal partner because in truth we ourselves have small imperfections (I said small, ok!). Research has shown that those with the healthiest self esteem (not arrogance) have the greatest ability to accept that their partner is not perfect.
If we are able to be truly happy with ourselves, we can make judgments that are based on our values and less on the vital statistics. What becomes really attractive is that the people we meet resonate with our core values, making us feel happy and attractive. We feel in harmony with the other person. Most importantly we feel truly validated.
Ok, ok, I still haven’t told you where this person is hiding right under your nose!
I wonder if you were to take a fresh look at everyone you know. Your best friends single sister who loves your stories, the person you meet at the water fountain every day who makes you laugh, the guy you’ve known since university who is happy to come over when you need shelves putting up. Have a look at them with fresh eyes, just as they are, untainted by advertising exec catchphrases or the multibillion-dollar machine that is called being single and dating. You might find that their values make them the catch that has been right under your nose the whole time.