So What Do I Want, Anyway?

Single girls of every age have been told to make a list of characteristics and traits that are important in their future spouses. The list is meant to help weed out those that don’t fit the trajectory of the woman’s life and open her eyes to seeing more clearly. Somehow I missed this memo or put off this assignment, or maybe the dog ate my paper, because I don’t have a list anywhere.

Part of the (real) reason this list doesn’t exist is because I don’t like dating, so I don’t do it, so I never have needed to answer the question What are you looking for? before.

I went years and years without dating at all. After two pretty serious relationships in my late teens/early twenties, I gave it up and never looked back. I lived my life, opened doors to the world around me, traveled, wrote, achieved, failed, moved, grew, survived and experienced all on my own. Happily. Completely. With Zeal. The question never came up because I was always on the move and ready for the next adventure, with or without someone in the plane seat next to me.

If there was one thing I always fell back on that would talk me out of relationships, it was the travel. I knew I wanted to keep going, keep stepping in new countries, fill another passport and never stop that part of my story. It was key. It was me. I used it as my deal-breaker; if I was being offered a life that was less nomadic, I didn’t even start the relationship. At least for a while this worked out for me and I remained happy and single.

But, being in Portland these days has changed my dating life – as in I now have one – and I am realizing that this jet-setting life might not be the priority I once held it to.

I went on a blind date this last weekend. As I sat on the beach with this random guy and his guitar (yeah, cheesy, I don’t mind) he asked me two questions (among many), “What makes you a great girlfriend?” and “What are you looking for?”

I have no idea how to answer these questions. People tell me I am easy to get along with, always happy and smiling, supportive and encouraging, but I have never had to be that in a relationship before. Maybe I would be different. If I started listing that I could cook, clean and take care of babies, I might give off the wrong impression. How do you explain what you are like in a deep, committed relationship to someone you barely know, if you don’t really know?

The question about what I am looking for went just as unanswered. I have realized that even a couple dates here and there really help open my eyes to what I like and don’t like, what I am willing to deal with and what I am not.

As my mom put it this week, “Everyone is a little crazy. It is just a matter of figuring out which crazy you are willing to deal with.”

After a few flopped dates and attempts at dating, here is what I know I want so far:

A Man.

Not a boy, not a guys guy, not a narcissist, not a chump. A Man. Someone who has conviction and will stand by it, who believes in other people, who controls his emotions and knows how to have a conversation about tough stuff without being aggressive or passive aggressive. A steady, strong, passionate man of peace.

There is no dark hair, or blue eyes on my list; nothing about an un-checkered past or even a perfect job. I just want character.

Character shouldn’t be limited to the few in this world. It shouldn’t be such a mysterious trait to find, but it has proven rather elusive as of late.

Over the last few months I have had dates with people that made fun of me (Dear Guys, Don’t make fun of ladies on your first date. Especially things they cannot change like their height, or their feet, or the size of their behind); with guys that criticized my clothes, my apartment, and/or my car (Dear Guys, Criticism is not a turn on. Please reign it in.); and with guys that seem to be way more interested in their own stories than any I might have to share. (Dear Guys, Listening and supporting is like a magical spell that helps a girl want to fall for you.)

I wish I could just shake some of the men I have met and get some of the insecurity off them, or unload some of the baggage.

Of course, I am not saying this is a one way street. Any of the men I am thinking of now would probably have a list of things I could have done differently. I have been told that I am hard to read, shy, and intimidating depending on the situation. I try so hard not to be controlling or manipulative that it sometimes comes across like I don’t care. Words get stuck in my throat if I don’t have time to process what I really think. I have a hard time keeping boundaries, so I can get a guy into trouble . . .

But we’ll cover all my womanly faults some other time.

Which brings me back: Do you have a list? What are some of the things on it? What are your absolute deal-breakers?


246 thoughts on “So What Do I Want, Anyway?

  1. I know I am one lucky woman. I never had a list, except perhaps a quiet yet increasingly more clear “knowing” of myself and who would strengthen that knowing. I found such a man nearly two decades ago, and I know how lucky I am. Still.

  2. Are you sure we haven’t been dating all the same guys over the last few months?? Add to that list, nobody actually cares about all of the celebrities you’ve met, you could probably better use all the time you’re spending name dropping by asking me about myself. Also, “I feel like frozen yogurt” is not an invitation of any kind. I don’t even know what to do with that. Be more direct.

      • Haha, I just got a really good one via text about 10 minutes ago. (Dear Guys, do not TELL me to invite you over so that we can watch DVDs of YOUR new favorite show, just because you don’t actually own a TV. Just don’t ever invite yourself over at all. I’d like to decide that myself, thanks.)

      • That happened to me this week….creepy. If we didn’t live in different states I would think we really were seeing some of the same guys. Instead (and more sadly) there seems to be an epidemic across the country….

  3. I liked your post on “what do I want anyway ?” Sometimes it’s as much of what you don’t want than do. I have lived a full life also,
    but think it would be more enriched by sharing it with the right person. And that seems to be the problem, doesn’t it ? Read my post on “Dating… Are you serious” if you get a chance

  4. We’re on the same page on this one. When people ask me what I want for in a guy, I always end up tongue-twisted..because the truth is, what we want doesn’t always coincide with what we need. And sometimes, what we get isn’t what we desire,rather it’s what we deserve.

    • Opposites attract or common likes and dislikes – it is hard to tell what will really pan out, but we can be the best us we are capable of being and hope for the best them we are able to love.

      • I have been facing this question and in increasing frequencies recently, especially by my mum, and you are right – I always end up tongue-tied for an answer. I used to think it was because I was shy to voice out my thoughts about what I was looking out for in a guy. But as time passes, I think it is because there is simply no easy, direct way to give anyone an answer to that question! I could go on and on about a list of things I’d like to see checked off when I meet Mr Shao, but after while of listing things like must like music, must like children, must enjoy good coffee, must appreciate reading… I just feel frivolous and childish. Because you’re right – the things we ideally dream of don’t actualize but that’s okay. I would concur with the importance in the character of a man. Someone who would have the courage to stand up for what is right (and whose values hopefully coincide with yours), who cares for others other than yourself or himself, who would accept you for you who are, but challenge you to become more than you think you can be, and who can lead you to greater heights. Is that asking too much?

  5. I’ve always liked the idea that you should work on making yourself into a person who you, yourself, would want to spend time with, before you even start looking for someone to love. At the moment I’m definitely trying to do this – and hearing you talk about your nomadic aventures, being your own company on a plane, is definitely something I aspire to!

  6. What you write in your blog post is very similar to what’s going on in my dating life (and occasionally lack thereof). I’m ready to settle down after years of being single, but I’ve been single so long I’m unsure how I will be in a committed relationship. I worry a lot that my guarded nature (that protects my romantic, passionate, creative side that I am only willing to share with people I dearly care about) will keep me single far longer than I desire. I am just looking for a man who has a great sense of humor, a lot of character to him, and is mature. Most importantly, I want him to be my friend. That way, he can trick me into opening up to him and then declaring his love for me when I least expect it. ha! Thanks for sharing this post. It’s honestly brave of you to write about this topic and the difficulty of finding someone with whom you’re comfortable sharing the “crazies”. The men are out there for us. They’re just not done marinating yet. 😉

    • This is beautiful, you described me perfectly and I totally understand where you are coming from. Guarded, but wanting to offer myself to someone completely, happily single but not wanting to stay single, looking for love, humor, character and maturity and hoping that there are a few great men out there looking for a guarded girl to stick with. May the Universe move in both our favor!

      • Agreed. Glad I came across your post. It was the right thing for me to read at the right time too. Yes. The Universe is working in our favor. Just gotta have faith! Hang in there, and until then, keep writing! I will be following your journey. 🙂

  7. Wow! From Portland to Virginia Beach…we are all dating the same guys and want the same basic traits. I secretly wonder if this epidemic of not being able to find a MAN of character who will actually pursue a woman he wants wasn’t somehow caused by us girls in the first place.

    Somewhere along the way, we took control of too many things and removed their masculinity. I call it “driving”. We took away their need to hunt, pursue and acquire us like the prizes we truly are.

    I want to find a MAN of character who will “drive” the relationship!

    • I think you have a good point – It is a vicious cycle of woman taking the lead in situations, men not having to stand up to the character they are capable of because we let them off the hook and then frustrated woman who get tired of playing the roll of driver, wanting to switch up the game and not being able to. I have been there, too and wish I handled some situations differently along the way. We are all in need of some balance.

  8. Is it fair to say that he did enter into my life..20 yrs. ago? And I didn’t have a real list. Just probably less than 5-8 deal-breakers.

    I’m still with him. 🙂 Is he a MAN? I dunno, that sounds like a sandwich with all sorts of chosen fillings and trimmings. We equally drive the relationship.

  9. I have a mental list. I write it down every now and then, the scraps of paper long forgotten but the list itself is still in my mind and has changed and grown up with me. My list changed from “someone who makes me laugh” to “someone who is integrous, and someone who can lead…” I don’t know what my deal breakers really are because my list is more about character. If someone is not an honest, stick to their values type of person that would definitely be a deal breaker. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed status! I like how the gentleman with the guitar asked some fairly provocative questions. And some solid advice for guys in this post, btw.

    As a man sharing his perspective, and the first to comment on this post apparently, I don’t have a list. As I mature (early 30’s) it has become very clear to me what I want in a woman (btw ladies, there are def ‘girls’ and ‘women’ out there, same as ‘boys’ and ‘men’), and I’ve ditched the whole “we like the same pizza toppings/movies/music” bs. I met my gf over a 36-hour period and I knew right then and there–the moment I took her hand–that she was it (something I tell her all the time).

    No woman should settle for less. Neither should any man.

    • Thanks for commenting! I was really hoping for a mans perspective. What does a woman of character look like to you? Are there important traits that woman cultivate? I have a blog series about being a modern woman, I am still trying to figure it out myself, would love your thoughts.

      • I appreciate the reply and the questions darcielynn. I have to say the replies to this post are wonderful. I have to note both Lane and Matt_S_Law who are list advocates (I love Lane’s list, only because I absolutely LOVE holding a door, buying dinner, holding her hand on a walk, and acting foolishly only to see a smile–call me old fashioned).

        Ok. I’ve written almost 4 different replies to your questions, and erased them all, but I think I have the right one because it feels like a basic, yet remarkable, guy truth.

        You want to know what’s awesome about a woman? You want to know what a cool trait of that “woman of character” is that guys aren’t ever going to admit?

        It’s one simple thing: she does not need you at all.

        She doesn’t need you to make her happy, successful, smart, beautiful, pretty, glamorous, rich, hopeful, witty, satisfied, sexy, fulfilled, etc., etc. She doesn’t need you. She may not be all these things, but she doesn’t need you to get her there. The other part has to be that she believes you can do the same. She believes you don’t need her, and that you will be all these things without her.

        Without that ever-pressing need, you are free to truly want one another. Wanting is different: wanting buys flowers and opens doors; wanting writes letters, and cherishes and remembers the smallest details; wanting is faithful and trustworthy; wanting is joyous and patient; and wanting celebrates romance. I want to be the Man I know I am for my gf. She doesn’t need me to open a door for her or hold her hand or buy her dinner, she expects it because I am her Man. And allowing a man to be a Man is the only way he will become one.

      • “Allowing a man to be a man…” that is powerful truth. Not needing it, not trying to help him, not controlling or leading – Allowing. I really appreciate that insight. I think it will stick with me for a while…

        In addition, I like what you said about the woman who doesn’t require a man to be all she can be, but I have to admit I have run into some men that are really uncomfortable with my independence. It is hard for them to navigate. Perhaps I am just meeting the “right” kind of men. 🙂

        Thanks for responding. I really appreciate what you had to say. It will truly inform some future musings.

      • I have a feeling, darcielynn, that you will do just fine. After all, nothing attracts success, confidence and intelligence like success, confidence and intelligence. Until then, keep the musings coming! 😀

  11. Beautiful piece. I do have a list. Lots of them. I think I should leave off a lot of things and add in more about character. I love what you said, can stand for a tough conversation without being passive aggressive. “A steady, strong, passionate man of peace.” Yes. I’ll take one of those, too! 🙂

  12. You sound exactly like me – driven and on the go, yet quiet and slow to open up; prone to deep thought and expecting a significant other to embody certain rare but realistic character traits. I expect honesty, trust, openness, and an eager curiosity; if a guy lacks any of these, I’ll loose interested very, very quickly. At almost 24, I’ve gone on dates with five guys and only two of those made it to a third date. After two years of not dating, I recently found “Mr. Perfect” and I couldn’t even make that last for more than a few months. What do I want anyways? What do I have to offer? Those are such great questions, though I’m starting to believe there’s no clear-cut answer. Sometimes I fall into this miserable self-pity: there’s something wrong with me…I have so much to offer, so why isn’t anything falling into place? I say that personal growth and success (education, career, travel, health, spirituality, etc.) are my priorities, but I sometimes wonder if they’ve taken the wheel, or if they are simply masking my ineptitude in ineptitude. I think dating is especially difficult for strong and self-assured women (which it sounds like you are), because the most forward-thinking man still seems to want a woman who depends on him. I wish you all the best in your pursuits, dating and otherwise. You’re not alone. 🙂

    • I love everything that you wrote here, mainly because I could relate to it. At 21, I don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself “what’s wrong with me?” The guys I’ve dated had already moved on from one girl to the other, and I feel stuck in the rut for being “left behind.” But a few days of contemplation, I’ve convinced myself that there’s more to life than just dating. It’s true about what you said about personal growth and success becoming a priority, so when we meet the guy that’s meant for us they’ll just be the cherry on top – an additional happiness to the life we’re living 🙂

  13. We’re on the same page here. When people ask me what I look for in a guy, I usually end up tongue-tied…because the truth is, the things we want doesn’t always coincide with what we need. And sometimes, what we get isn’t really what we hoped for, but it’s the one we deserve.

  14. I appreciate the honesty you’ve put into this. Personally I haven’t dated much, and I’ve never had a boyfriend, but what I have seen hasn’t been hugely encouraging. I’m hoping that the young men in our churches will see manhood as the calling that it is and not giving up what they enjoy necessarily.

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  16. Wow you basically listed all my feelings on this topic. I’m 21 and never dated and don’t plan to. Guys I see these days all have something wrong with them. Boring. Annoying. Always checking out other girls. Liars. Whatever else. It’s so hard to find men of good character these days. My mom actually gave me the same exact advice about the crazy. We just have be able to deal with some kind of issue with somebody. I got a long way to go, but I feel like I need about fifty years to find someone I could be with.

    • seriously speaking…one must not date from his country. I know that real good guys are hard to find in Europe and America but there are still lots of good men in Africa especially in Nigeria. these are men who believe in faithfulness, love, sincerity and masculinity. i encourage some of sincere ladies to move down to Nigeria and find yourself true lovers. for example, i dated a girl for two years without cheating on her for a minute. she told me that she won’t have sex with me till we get married but yet i stayed with her for two years with sex with her or outside her. unfortunately, she died early this year. i loved and made her happy. i believe so much in faithfulness and there are still men like me in my country.

  17. Why would you try and be a certain way on a date? Isnt it best to be your most comfortable self so that the person you are with reacts to the way you are and not the way you are trying to be?

  18. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Love it when topics and posts like this are recognized. Really good post but I have to admit that the reply of above, is the closest to my truth. Lose the list, go with your heart and what feels right. Don’t write him off just because he doesn’t meet one of the criteria on your mental check-list. Just go with what feels right in the moment. Don’t try too hard in the moment. If he’s the right one for you, he will “see” you, listen to you, “hear” you, make the effort to get to know you. And until that happens, keep travelling and making your dreams a reality (wow, what a bucket list!). You write beautifully.

    • Yes, I had a list…general qualities like the one you made. I can admit it now but I wanted to have that chick flick kind of romance and love story all in one. I met my husband online through a forum section on a dating site. It is the easiest way to get a feel for the character of the person. After a bit of bantering through various posts you will see the veneer of “Joe Cool” wear off and the real person emerge. Word of caution, your character comes out as well.

      It was so successful that I told all my friends about it. Unfortunately, the forum was closed due to poster abuse the week that I chose to bring my now hubby to meet the folks. It seemed like it existed for the sole purpose of letting us connect. 😉 I really hated to see it go and was hoping that someone out there would create a new dating forum. I haven’t seen one yet and that was about five years ago. I’d even contribute my opinion on how to get it successful running and keep the riff-raff from killing it.

      Breaking the ice can happen before the date…within the first of many PM’s and IM’s I posed twenty questions, some very harmless, some very intimate and detailed – you might say they were character revealing. Some were worded to see if he fell into any of my deal-breakers right off the bat. And one specifically asked for his deal breakers. He went along with my questions, answered them honestly and then had me answer my own questions for him.

      End result, four years later we married. We’re older, marriage wasn’t a requirement…we decided if we we ever felt like we wanted to, we would. I’m still as crazy about him today as I was when we first met and he feels the same. He is both flawed and perfect…we compliment each other well. I feel very fortunate and grateful.

  19. It’s funny how perfectly timed some things are, like coming across your post. I recently had to tell a guy I went on a few dates with that I just wanted to be friends. It was tough, I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it got me thinking about the same thing! What do I want?
    It was great to hear that you spent some time doing exactly what you wanted and not worrying about the dating thing, as that’s where I think I am at this point. I completely agree on the character quality, too. Why is that so hard to find? Anyway, I’m rambling, but just wanted to say thanks for sharing! Reading this gave me inspiration, and I do hope you find that (ever elusive) Man 🙂

  20. First off, that guy with the guitar; my gut response to how I think I would react is 1) stumble over my gaping mouth, trying to process my thoughts into something coherent before the moment is too long behind… and 2) “What is this, a job interview?”

    About the general idea behind this post, I heard about the “list” and the whole question when I was younger. And just because it was so standard, I attempted to list off a few traits that I liked in a person…

    Years later, after I dropped the idea of dating (I wouldn’t know how anyway, and I was in a low esteem about my chances), I eventually came back to the question (having forgotten about for a few years) and reluctantly dropped it too. I realised then that my answers were mostly vain anyway, and relationships aren’t simple like that. My default answer became a lazy, “Who cares? I’m not even looking…”

    That’s still my answer, and I remain completely innocent of even one date at 22 years old, though sometimes I’ve wondered if I shouldn’t quit the lazy act and wonder hypothetically, imagining a scenario in which I’m forced to choose.

    No one’s ever really pushed me, and I sometimes wonder what truth might be pried open about my feelings about it if they did. Not that I plan on doing anything about it any time soon…

  21. The list is important. Not just because it helps you to recognize what you want when you see it. But also because having that list written down will actually help the universe to arrange the circumstances to push someone matching your list into your life. Just wanted to throw that out there (then fade away since I think I’m the only guy to reply to your post…) Congratulations on the FP!

  22. Are men allowed to respond? 🙂 What doesn’t work for guys? Or at least for me?
    Basically the same things you name. Women can be just as bad about finding faults, being interested in other things, or not listening. There is no monopoly on bad dating behavior by either gender.

    When the right person comes along, things just ‘click.’ Maybe it only last 3 weeks, or perhaps a lifetime, but it feels right. Now, if only I could find that right person!

  23. This post and the comments, all echo something I have been been going through. It does make me feel good to see that I am not alone in having this sentiment. As for lists, I do/did have them, but I have realised many things keep changing on that list as you grow older and (a little bit) wiser. You weed out stuff you thought important maybe 2 years ago. You start looking at people differently than you would have earlier.

    And I second @ Megan ” The men are out there for us. They’re just not done marinating yet. ” which is exactly what a close friend and I keep telling each other. 🙂

  24. Ah, women seeking men of character.

    Remember what Sharon Stone said, ‘women can fake an orgasm but men can fake a whole relationship’

  25. There are a few decent men “with character” left in this world; although you apparently have to muddle through “the idiots” to get to them. I definitely don’t miss that about dating!

  26. Hey! First of all, it’s nice to meet you:) It’s the first time I read your blog. My maternal language isn’t english(it is romanian) and sometimes I get bored reading english articles, but now I’ve read it all:) I like it very much! Well, answering to you, I just want a woman who will stand by me, who will understand me and love me as I am. I don’t want palaces or treasures. Our love itself is a treasure. Our world itself is palace or a paradise. Fortunately, I’ve found that woman! Now, after a lot of suffering, I’m happy! I hope you’re happy, too:)
    PS: Travelling is very nice! I’ve been to Sicily twice, but I’d love to go to India, Bhutan, New Zealand, Peru, Brazil, USA and many many more:)

  27. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I can’t believe that guy asked you, “What makes you a great girlfriend?” I mean, seriously, what is this? A job interview? I would love to know how you responded.

  28. I used to have a list – I’m only 17. I wanted someone I could talk to normally, who didn’t depend on social status, who wasn’t superficial, who was interested in me and so on. I was never very popular, so for a while I fell for the first guy who was nice to me. Big mistake. Anyway, when I finally met someone who made me feel beautiful and adored. Thing was, he lived in another country. But that wasn’t the only problem. The other problem was definatly jealousy. He was always saying how other guys might be interested in me and I kept telling him that didn’t matter anyway because I was with him. But he kept bringing it up and it almost felt like he didn’t trust me.
    I’m not sure what went on with me, but I felt sick, was loosing weight and sleep and today everyone says I looked really ill. I told him I couldn’t keep a long-distance-relationship up.
    And I thought I always wanted a guy who fought for me, but when it’s over on one side, it’s over on the other. But he kept talking, trying to keep his “property.”

    So I added something else to my list and for now it’s the only thing it consists of: No thank you, I’m fine on my own!

  29. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! And don’t give up, there are still men out there that want to travel as much as us or more. I found one, I wish you all the best!

  30. Interesting…I did make a list and it worked.

    Why make a list? Think about it…if you were (?) buying a car or a home (both huge commitments) you’d possibly think long and hard about the features that really matter most, no matter how small or odd. Be bold. The list can be really long (mine had 30+ things on it)…but it will reveal your most compelling priorities. Then make a list about who you are, as I think his question was an intriguing one.

    Then don’t date anyone more than once who really doesn’t have these qualities! Dating is tiring and annoying enough with the sorts of guys you’ve been bumping into.

    Character is essential; when times get tough (and they do), the man or woman of character will be with you and support you through them — illness, surgery, unemployment, etc. I wanted (and found) a man who is both highly accomplished professionally and deeply modest; a man with a committed spiritual life (Buddhism) but doesn’t yammer on or try to proselytize others; a man with a ferocious work ethic, someone with personal style, someone both kind and worldly. But he won me first because he made me laugh really hard and long. (We’re both journalists.)

    We’re together 13 years later, now married. Knowing yourself first is key.

  31. OH YES! I do have a list, a long one at that. And top 5 on my list are – intelligence, optimism, sense of humour, good language and should be able to love & accept me for what I am. 🙂

  32. Tomorrow, I will celebrate my 11th wedding anniversary, which these days is quite a record. No matter how well suited you are to somebody else, you have to be committed to a relationship and continue to put into it and really treasure your partner and your relationship. My husband and I have been through a lot together and it’s been a real strain for long periods of time but we have a commitment. I think it’s good to look for someone who doesn’t fall in a heap when things get difficult and is able to express their emotions.
    Just a few ideas.

  33. I really loved your post and congrats on being featured. Lists are the worst thing you could have when choosing a partner. I like when you said we need to figure out which crazy we are willing to deal with. it means you really know yourself to know what you want. I didn’t know myself when I met my husband but discovered later on that I loved to be on planes and he gets anxiety attacks at the sights of planes. If I knew this before meeting him it would have be a deal breaker for me but I am somewhat happy I didn’t because I would have let go of a perfectly fine man.

  34. A person should COMPLEMENT your life. I tell my kids that all the time (teens). I’ve been single for quite a while, some people think I’m too picky & frigid. The person I want HAS to be employed & have ambition. I don’t think there is much else than those three things.

  35. Thank you for such a lovely and well- written post! Yes, I have been advised to write every detail of what I want in a future partner down on paper, and then “offer it to the universe”. That may work for others, but I couldn’t even begin the list!

  36. Congrats on the FP 🙂 Great post. Dating is very weird, when you think about it– it’s like you want to find someone to be your significant other, and in time, your spouse (perhaps) but you definitely can’t be frank about that! Like you said, topics relating to marriage might make you look weird (and make things weird).
    I’m lucky– I met the guy I’m married to in college, we started off as pals, and then just fell for each other. Hasn’t always been a walk in the park, of course 🙂
    As for lists– I dunno, it’s hard to list what makes a person your soulmate, as opposed to your friend. Common interests? Sometimes. Common goals? Well, sort of– but not always. I’d say there are more concrete things on the “nope, never” list! “No abuse. No stealing. No cheating. No drugs.”

  37. I feel like you hit the nail on the head when you described the kind of guy you want. I desire the same traits in a guy someday. Right now, though, I am kind of in the same position that you were previously. I am not interested in dating because I cannot commit to someone in the position that I am in right now. I am working on a masters currently and I plan on enrolling in a PhD program after I graduate. I just don’t know when I would have the time to actually date someone and I don’t want to ask anyone to wait for me.

  38. You know, the way you described your dating situtation really reminds me of myself. Maybe you’re a virgo too 😉 I’ve never really had a serious boyfriend and I was always ok with it. Yet, I feel that I should start dating because I don’t want to wind up alone in life. Plus, dating lets you discover yourself and helps with the list. Your mom is right. Maybe there is no perfect guy out there who matches our list. We just have to find one that we can tolerate at the least and grow with them. As for the list, if I had to write one it would mainly consist of character traits just like yours. Except I am a little more picky and perhaps old fashioned in my beliefs. I would like a man who provides stability and security. So I wouldn’t want him working in Wendy’s of course. Otherwise, it’s really about the connection and how easily you can let down your barriers and be yourself with a guy. That’s really what measures the success of a relationship for me.

  39. “Everyone is a little crazy. It is just a matter of figuring out which crazy you are willing to deal with.” That’s some pretty interesting advice from mom. When I first read it I thought it said “everyone is a little creepy” which blew my mind. It kind of works both ways.

    I really enjoyed your paragraph at the end where you cite the fact that these guys you were dating may also have negative things to say about you. Without that paragraph and with the few critical paragraphs before it, you could’ve came across as judgmental but you avoided so by reflecting on your self.

    I enjoyed your post because you really seem like an interesting character. It’s quite compelling that you were able to travel the world and build your life as an individual, which is something we should all strive to achieve; but that now you’ve done all that and are still in that position of trying to find another person to share things with. I wish you the best of luck in your search and truthfully, if I can speak for the internet, we’d all love to hear more about your search.

  40. this struck some kind of chord with me. i’ve realised recently that dating isn’t really for me, even though i have the potential for something really great with someone at the moment. they’re perfect for me. yet, i’m just not interested in dating, at all. i think maybe the fact that you are so into travel is quite telling – you need freedom and you need to feel that in your self. i can understand that.

    really like how your post tries to explain some things that can’t often be explained without inadvertently hurting people 🙂

  41. Your romantic life is exactly like mine. I’ve only had one serious boyfriend and when that was broken off because we wanted opposite things ( he- needed schedules, plans, and to stay inside the box, me- spent a lot of time traveling, knew travel would always be a part of my life, and thought of life as an adventure) I decided I could be happy alone without having to compromise and giving up the things I wanted out of life. But that was 4 years ago and like you say things change. Now as well, I realize I don’t have a type of guy I go for. I as well just want someone with character that knows how to keep me interested, whose straightforward about things and doesn’t play games. Apparently the most basic traits are ridiculously hard to find and leaves me not wanting to play the dating game at all, it feels like such a hassle!!!

  42. This is amazing! I feel very similar to you! I don’t think i have a list of my own..but I notice things in the other person..just random things; expressions, actions, etc. that either turn me on or off…and it’s weird because I am not one to judge people while we are friends..but if i want to date this person, i am extremely picky.

  43. great thoughts. all I can say is find someone who loves you for you and doesnt care that you are quiet or intimidating or shy or hard to read! Do NOT ever change who you are for someone else, they will never be happy with what you become and you will lose who you are! and that would be tragic!

  44. Super cool questions – and your mom’s “which crazy are you willing to deal with” is sheer brilliance!
    Hope the dude with the guitar and questions got a second date….

  45. nice stuff!! good luck in finding that MAN… if you master it let me know if he has a brother!— I also know what i dont want and i am thrilled to be aware of what I dont want and what i will not tolerate. I do want honesty and humor most of all. I am still trying to adapt to the fact that honesty is not the preferred way of being for many people. Say what you mean and mean what you say, of course if it isnt nice dont say it at all, unless of course you did want the truth because that is afterall what you asked for!

  46. Excellent characteristics to hope for. I tell my 24 yr old son – if you want to be caught, you have to be a catch. And my daughter, now happily married told me when she was 16 in response to my asking if a date was ‘a smart boy’, “Mom, I’ll have fun with the dumb boys, when I want to get serious I’ll find a smart one.” Find one that is ready to be a man, in this crazy time when 24 is the new 18.

  47. No one ever asked me to write a list. Perhaps I should have. Now that I find myself on the other side of a marriage I realize that I never had a type. This is my problem with online dating I don’t have a list and they keep asking me to check off categories. What do I want? Just someone who doesn’t get on my last nerve, really. Ooh that sounds awful. The awful truth.

  48. So true !!!
    “Character shouldn’t be limited to the few in this world. It shouldn’t be such a mysterious trait to find, but it has proven rather elusive as of late.”- wonderful lines

  49. Your not the only one who doesn’t have a list and hadn’t ever really thought about it. Maybe I should make one. It would probably help weed out the boys and the men. I’m glad I read this entry tonight. A lot of stuff has been going on and I think this may help a little.

  50. Well said Lady! Re the list: strong boundaries, a good work ethic, honesty, fairness and a sense of humour. I respect men (and women) that have the gumption to say what they think (politely) and do what they say. That’s pretty much it. Being awesome at something (music, writing, gaming whatever) is a bonus.

  51. As my mom put it this week, “Everyone is a little crazy. It is just a matter of figuring out which crazy you are willing to deal with.”

    Awesome! Kudos to your mom 😀

    Great post btw!

  52. Pingback: Yes, my dearest Guatemala, it is 4.04 am « Made Up of Borrowings

  53. Well my input would be, do I have a list? no. Did I have a list? yes.

    And on that list was a whole load of things that I thought were important for me to have a sustainable relationship, what I thought was the perfect recipe for compatibility.

    And then I met my boyfriend, who most definitely does not fulfil the criteria on that list, but funnily enough we work together. I just think the best approach to have is to be open minded, lists are useless because like you said, there are certain fundamental things that you can and can’t work with, but make sure they’re the really important things such as morals etc, but for the rest, when you find the right person you’ll know.

    We’ve been together for two years now, and my past relationships with people who did fulfil criteria on the list were really pretty awful. You’re an individual and whoever you’ll be with is an individual so just keep that in mind and everything else will fall in place. 🙂

  54. I absolutely loved ur post!!!… its awesome i think any girl/woman can relate to u… atleast I can… in the sense that I m not into dating or trying out each and every man that comes my way…. i feel i’ve had my share of relationships… had heartbreaks and given them too… and for me its time to travel… I m alll up and excited abt that, more than a company in my life… AND YES i need a man too… a man in his character, not in the size of his genitalia, or in the strength of his muscles or the number of zeros in his pay!!…but A MAN!!… and i have no idea how well i can define that word… but i guess u get what it means.
    uhhhhhh!!… and the worst part is no matter how much u run away from them, u need one!!…and u always look for a stable relationship!..
    but anyway its true that we r all full of faults… and we need to see whose shortcomings can we best deal with!..
    Goodluck woman!!…

  55. Self love is important, if Ideal Man doesn’t love himself his love for you will be empty. You now know what you want, now you can choose what you want x

  56. But one can deliver Character till his hearts content, but some ladies just want the other things! Believe you me I know! I’ve danced around the dating game and some women love the idea of the man that I am…. but not the idea of the future. How many women want the creative type in their lives forever??

    • It is true, this desire for character is not a one-way street. Men are facing a famine of woman that can support dreams in the face of an uncertain future, as well.
      I wish the best for you, a woman that will be a muse AND believe so much in your creativity that the future is just an adventure waiting to happen.

      • ha now that’s why my creativity sit firmly in the boxes of blogging and magazine articles. I wish not for a muse but a creative mind to bounce off! Real women know what they want, and I respect that but my fear is that SOME women not all have a list of boxes that must be ticked. And miss the ten’s of us fun ones who would tick 95% of those boxes due to deviation from said list would mean a slight compromise? Or is there more we “Single Men In The lousy Modern World” are missing?

  57. I think the same! Glad to know there are other women out there who would go for a MAN of character and not for their looks or career.

    And your mom’s right, “Everyone is a little crazy. It is just a matter of figuring out which crazy you are willing to deal with.”


  58. I´m the same with my lists, they change, I try to get rid of them, then once I date again, I start making a new one… I think there are only a few real necessary ones: confident, passionate, open-minded, responsible, self-sufficient and of course… Latino! (that last one came after much worldwide dating and narrowing it down, Latin America is just my region, what can I say?)

  59. I never had a list, but I do remember I had a drawing when I was a child of the men I liked to meet. He was obviously beautiful for the 10-12-14-years-old-myself. I remember he was tall with long curly hair and a beard. He was strong. I kept drawing the same guy for years. Eventually I dated few guys, none of them had long hair, and my actual boyfriend is shaved (also the previous one was shaved). What I mean is that even though you have a list, you will never know what life deserves for you. Your idea of the Man you are looking for is enough I guess. The rest will be done by the feelings on your back, into your stomach on the neck. Nice post, I liked it.

  60. You have a lot of nots on your list. Do these nots end up being more like knots; things that strangle relationships before they start?
    Maybe finding a man is like finding a car. Every car is a little crazy. It is just a matter of figuring out which crazy you are willing to deal with (to borrow your mother’s words).
    (Like) a Car.
    Not a scooter, not a souped-up mustang (or is it supped-up mustang?), not a Porsche Cayenne, not an Aries k-car. Just a regular automobile. Something with rock solid assembly (without squeaks), that instills confidence in other drivers, that controls its RPMs under pressure, and exhibits remarkable traction despite the turns and bumps without being aggressive or passive aggressive. A steady, strong, performing machine that inspires peace of minds (and suppresses driver road rage, both mine and others).
    There is no dark metallic paint, or tinted windows on my list of wants; nothing about a spotless service log or even a perfect rating from Consumer Report. I just want character.
    Character shouldn’t be limited to only a few cars in the world. It shouldn’t be such a mysterious trait amongst the masses, but in cars, it has proven rather elusive as of late.
    And while I might have fun poking at your list of nots (tongue in cheek), I do agree with you in that someone dating (or any other time for that matter) should not… make fun things their date cannot change like their height, or their feet, or the size of their behind. Dating or otherwise, one should not… criticized a person’s clothes, apartment, or my car. This isn’t to say that a good friend should never give you good constructive criticism about matching colors or choosing clothes better suited for an interview. Making fun or belittling of others for the express purposes of building oneself up are simply cruel.
    Maybe compiling a list of wants (verses a list of nots) might be a good thing. Most ladies I know prefer a fellow who…

    – treats them like a lady (it used to be called chivalry) while respecting her need for independence.
    – treats his mother well (it’s usually an indicator of how you, the woman, will be treated later in life).
    – knows (or figures out) when he’s done wrong, apologizes, and seeks to make restitution.
    – is a man of his word (He lives up to his commitments, and expects others to hold him to it).
    – knows (or figures out) the kind way to approach sensitive subjects (when the time is right).
    – is known for being more often selfless, than being selfish.
    Whatever the case, thank you for sharing your piece, and thank you for inspiring me to write my response. All the best to you. Lane

    • Chivalry is like magic – open doors, pay for dinner, take care of things, walk on the traffic side of the sidewalk – all these things show a girl that you really care and that is what a lot of us are looking for.
      Knowing when and admitting wrong, with an apology, is a sign of maturity and wisdom that I would love to come across.
      Figuring out a kind approach to sensitive subjects and coupling that with correct timing!?!?! Dare I ask for that!!?!?
      Selflessness, generosity, kindness displayed in a way that indicates true integrity and time spent on others is a bullet point that should be bold and highlighted in the modern mans handbook.

      Thank you for your thoughts and input. It is great to hear from another perspective. You have made excellent points for all of us to be thoughtful of.

      • Tough world out here, especially finding that happy medium. I open doors for everyone, men/women/children/small animals…

        Some come to expect it without a thank you or even a nod of approval, many others call me sexist for doing so…tell me to get in the new millennium. Women are as capable as men, etc.

        If we judge people before we know them, all we’ve done is place our preconceived notions upon them. I think it takes a while to get to know someone, and can be worth the effort. Do we spend the same amount of time on everyone? Of course not.

        Not sure why so many now think there is a quick answer for everything. Life isn’t quick. It only appears so in retrospect.

  61. I’ve never had a “looks” type. I do however have a personality type (which for the record hasnt work out for me yet sooo may consider changing that!). I like athletic but smart, witty, sharp. They know that random 1000 question on Jeopardy but spend hours watching and playing basketball. Lean athletic. No body builders, energetic, excitable, fun.

    But if you wanna talk DEAL BREAKERS…. my partner must be open minded, make me want to be a better person, be someone I can grow from and will grow from me. He must have a good heart, he must be a truly good person. A REAL person. But hey, I’m from NYC…

  62. I want a man who wakes me up in the morning with a kiss on my forehead, a man gets me flowers at least on valentines, a man who saves my heart from his own demons I want a man who can fill the empty space that life evacuated long time ago.

  63. Great post! 🙂 My future husband should be respectful, to himself, me and everyone around us. Cheaters are not welcome! And I do not need anyone that thinks bigger of himself than he actually is. Someone with humour, patience and who knows where he is going in life!

  64. Great discussion point and a lovely way of sharing your personal insights. I think having the list (whether for men or jobs or houses or travel destinations) can be dangerous; it can be a slippery slope to forgetting about the other wonderful possibilities that you don’t know about (or know you want). That said, making a list is also human nature isn’t it? It’s how we make sense of our hearts and minds and worlds. How about a life list that includes someone(/ thing) who (/that) makes me feel wonderful?

    Congrats on being FPd!

    • Lists can be dangerous if we are too rigid. They can serve to either open or close doors, help us feel secure or shit down something potentially wonderful. Hopefully we can all be wise enough to know the boundaries.

  65. I think you pretty much covered my biggest requirement! But I also require that I be physically attracted to the guy. I’m not saying that it has to be a specific set of physical traits, but that whatever the physical traits are, they are arranged in a way that is appealing to me.

  66. Hey! The man you want is mine so stay away… I am a fortunate woman who found just that MAN almost 24 years ago. What I wanted then was someone who allowed me to be myself and not try and change or tame me, which all the others tried. He just wanted me, as-is… We are both filled with flaws and we accept and love every one them. I am lucky. But we have worked hard over the years to make it as good as it is. And to Richard McCagar: it is not sexist to open my door, it is sexy. My husband and I are equal when it comes to our minds and chores but I love feeling like a woman and being treated like one and do the same for him.
    Great post and great conversation starter… so many people replied!

  67. I had a list,now that am married,but my husband only has the 50% of the main “neccesities” on my check-list.there were some attributes like his weight,height and style ,that he just didn’t meet. You can have all the lists in the world but when it comes to decision making..I don’t know what suddenly goes might make a whole different decision than what you have in mind,it’s what I call “Fate”.

    Deal breakers: decent,not a miser or cheap,no womanizing,takes care of personal hygiene,not a mommy’s boy

  68. list: 1. Someone to travel with me 2. someone not afraid to tell me no 3. someone who loves me. the list goes on…. but really… there is no telling what you might find out there. Be careful with your heart–no matter what song they sing to you on the guitar!! ❤

  69. I think you are watching Too many Humphrey Bogart Movies. I am a guy, and you are asking for too much. I wouldn’t show all of these things on a first date or even a third date. That’s something you see when in a relationship and that’s how you really find who I am. Dating is just to get in on the relationship. And relationships fail, and you move on. Honestly, you will regret it the moment you are settling down and a thought may arise, ‘Maybe I should’ve dated more.’ Just saying!!

    Good post though.

    • Thanks for saying this! I sometimes think that I’m asking for too much and — well — it’s important to just chill out, have fun and let (at least some) of your expectations go. I am learning this, however slowly!!

    • I disagree. I don’t think character is too much to ask for at any stage in any relationship. I also don’t think not dating will provoke much regret, but only the future will be able to prove that.

  70. I have never wanted to get married and settle down in the traditional sense, so I never really made a ‘list’ either. My life goal is to be fairly footloose, travel, write (etc). I’ve always been shy and independent, like yourself.

    Your description of the man you want resonates with me: I want exactly the same thing. And I think that (unfortunately) I want that so much, that I’ve messed up my current relationship by pushing my boyfriend to ‘be’ this person that he might not be (or at least he does not believe he is).

    The best advice that I have ever received: be the person you would want to fall in love with. So right now, despite difficulties in my current relationship, that is what I’m striving for. To BE this person and let the rest take it’s course.

    Thank you for this post. I think it just changed my life.

  71. I admire your courage in articulating what could be termed as one of the most basic dilemmas/puzzles in relationships (or the lack of one!) Why do I call it a dilemma? Well, because I feel that as we (as people) change with age, we have different needs (and feelings, thoughts, points of view) at different points in our lives. So does that mean that one man may not be able to fulfill all our needs through our lives? Crazy no? Or maybe there is that one person with whom you can grow and change with comfortably in life 🙂 That one person who accepts your changing self without wondering…hey, that’s not the person I knew!! And of course, as long as both know what they want from life and are OK with it if its not the same thing. Whew.. a lot of hard work there I think:)

  72. What a great post! I want exactly the same thing as you. I’m single and well into my 30s. I’ve had lots of dates, but never found the right guy. Feeling bad about it actually made things worse, so I decided to simply enjoy life by myself. Enjoy my freedom. I write, I travel, I have hobbies. And if Mr Right knocks at my door one day, at least I will be in the right mood to welcome him.

  73. I used to have a list of things I wanted in a guy – tall, dark, all the rest of that malarkey, but also kind, clever and funny. The guy I am with now is someone that I never expected, doesn’t fit any of the physical “requirement” I always thought I wanted, but has a character and charisma to die for.

  74. Great post! I had a list, not with blue eyes and blonde hair or whatsoever. But something you describe; character, a real man that’s consistent. But looking back at my past two relationships, the reason I broke up with them was because in the end they weren’t anything I wanted. I settled, and no woman should settle with less!

  75. Just so you know, I fit your definition perfectly, and besides, I also wear a hat.

    Not quite. However, I once saw a woman with an untied shoelace at the bus station, both her hands busy, and I stooped before her and tied her troublesome shoelace. That kind of helpfulness is good in a boy, isn’t it?

    Fancy post.

    Don’t forget your toothbrush next time you go traveling!

  76. Great post, I am impressed that you don’t seem to feel the pressure of settling down. A lot of the anxiety for me comes when I compare myself to other people. Another tiny tip for men in the dating world – in general, we aren’t as interested in the apps you’ve downloaded to your phone as you are, even apple nerds like me. Save that important stuff for the second date.

  77. So as soon as I separated all my girlfriends were quick to suggest new potential relationships. I thought that was curious since the only relationship I wanted to explore was the one with myself. It’s been two years of exploring and I have relished the peace, solitude and the growth that comes from inquiring into myself and my identity as a single woman at this point in my life. My dog has been my only companion on this particular journey reminding me to keep it light. About January this year a friend asked me the same question. “What do you want?” that had been asked of me in 2010 and I could not answer. This time the answer shot out from my heart so quickly my mind could not stop it or censor it. “I want someone who is AWAKE.” Yes, awake. Everything else is up for grabs but this is non-negotiable. It became a bit like a mantra.
    The cosmic chuckle is that I found one of the most awake people on earth on a different continent without even looking for him. And it was an instant recognition of two souls meeting, a divine encounter that was so powerful that it had no explanation – because really it makes no sense if you look at it through the Mind’s lens. But awake, yes, awake.
    I know have a partner with which to explore the existential questions that will define the rest of our lives and where and how I will be in the world. And I hold this lightly as I have learned that life holds no guarantees. But it does hold hope and optimism and love. And I’m good with that.

    • I love that you found what was bursting from inside your heart! Knowing ourselves and admitting what we are truly looking for seems to be a proper theme through the life and dating seasons that are being shared with me.

  78. For years, I chose all the wrong men. Then one day, my chiropractor (of all people) suggested I make a list of all the attributes I’d like in a man. Funny! topped my list. The next week, I met a guy at an outdoor jazz concert who made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt the next day. I think you know where this is going. In a few weeks, we are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, and I have to confess, he’s still making me laugh that hard. So, yes, I am a firm believer in the list and, of course, in laughing till it hurts.

  79. I never had a list, until I had a man. Now, I realize what it was I was looking for in others: he helps me stay light-hearted and free-spirited. I tend to become serious and critical, when all is said and done. His personality constantly lightens my mood and reminds me not to take life so seriously all the time. He is also constantly affectionate and reassuring, which is essential for me.

  80. I got divorced 7 months ago and cannot even conceive of dating. However, if this is what I’m up against, I’ll happily take on the role of the crazy cat lady (I’m well on my way with 5 cats!).

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  81. I never had a list either, but eventually after dating a variety of guys I figured out what I wanted and what I could not live with. Dating can be draining!

    Thank you for sharing, I too agree with your Mom’s words.

  82. I made my “Soul Mate Spec Sheet” two weeks before I met husband, who is, in every way, my soul mate. 60 items long, I was sure I would never meet somebody who fit the bill. He meets 57 of them. The other three… Well, I’ve long since forgotten what they were.

  83. Very interesting post indeed! well written. I know what you mean. I feel the same way too about dating and relationships somewhat I feel the same way as you did.

  84. I would add “fun” to the list. I married the steady, strong, passionate man of peace, for sure. However, our ideas of fun are our biggest differences. But that is the crazy I live with for we are truly soul-mates where it counts. He likes the more quiet activities. I’m the adventuring type. The great thing, though, is he has probably saved my life on numerous occasions. He tags along with me and here’s the part that just blows me away—he says he may not enjoy my adventures but since he loves me he is quite willing to join me. And I try out some of his. We both love to watch each other do the things that bring us joy. And it all becomes indescribable fun and I think that’s called true love.

  85. LOVE IT! Cracked me up. Seriously the guy had a guitar? WOW! I’ve had a list since my 20s but realize more and more how much of it was superficial and youthful exuberance brought about by way too many happy-ever-after Disney movies. It’s slimmed down more and more over the years and you’re right. Character is what stands out for me more than anything. You also made me think twice when you mentioned him asking you what makes you a good girlfriend. Hmmmm food for thought!

    • I think it is important that our lists evolve to include the depth we get to with age. I am glad to hear you say yours has been revisited and wish you all the best in finding your match!

  86. I wrote an essay once about how love is a verb—something you *do* through through thoughts, words, and deeds. I think you know you’ve found a man when his love is present in all these things (actions, words, and deeds). It’s the expression of the character traits you described above.

  87. What a great post! I loved the bit about traveling, that is what terrifies me about dating, I’ve never been able to settle for someone or settle down. It’s nice to know someone else feels the same way and is working on figuring out what they really want in a relationship!

  88. Lovely post, which makes me think of looking back on my list and checking out if what I wrote is what really a woman wants or just an elusive and imaginary thought of the girl in me 🙂

  89. I didn’t hear about this list either! I figure if you really love someone you can get over most faults and foibles: most of us are too weak to resist. That’s why so many women end up in harmful relationships! Sigh.

  90. *** Par Viktor Egelund, mercredi 19 janvier 2011, 07:42****

    As long as I have the idea in my head “I have a relationship” or “I am in a relationship,” no matter with whom, I suffer. This I have learnt.

    With the concept of “relationship” come expectations, memories of past relationships, and further personally and culturally conditioned mental concepts of what a “relationship” should be like. Then I would try to make reality conform to these concepts. And it never does. And again I suffer.

    The fact of the matter is: there are no relationships. There is only the present moment, and in the moment there is only relating.

    How we relate, or rather how well we love, depends on how empty we are of ideas, concepts and expectations.


    Interview By Kim Eng
    Copyright September 2004

  91. Yeah I made a list of different traits that I want in my man and these traits covered all aspects forms physical to emotional and spiritual. I think in the end I really just surrender it to God and trust that he knows the best man for me. But yeah deal breakers would include being a smoker, excessive drinker, arrogant, and prone to lying.

    Great blog! I agree 100% kudos for being freshly pressed! X

  92. My response to your summary of what you want. Good luck, that’s what we all are dreaming of and misled to expect!

    It doesn’t exist, well maybe a few which are already taken at this point in our lives. First: all males act like children! Sometimes it’s funny, usually it annoys me, but I think to make a relationship work I have to learn how to keep it on the funny side. Modern culture does not create Humphrey Bogart anymore.

    There are lots of people with lots of different characteristics. And no one is perfect. So how do we kno what we can live with? I don’t know. I want to think that as long as you are with someone who shares the life experience you want (travel, career sucess, family, or whatever goals you may have), you can learn how to communicate, support, react, enjoy each other along the journey. At least, that’s what I’m attempting in my 5th try at putting my adventure activities on hold in order to maintain a relationship. We plan to have some adventure, just not as much as I enjoy when single. I loved being single, and often miss my single life. It’s a struggle for me to remember why I want this relationship. To make the daily sacrifices needed for compromise. Because I’m with someone I respect and who is a good hearted person, although he doesn’t express those points to the level you request which is also my preference.

    So from someone on the other side of greener grass, enjoy the life you have and enjoy a relationship if the right match comes along.

  93. one real problem with girl, a girl wish list never ends. when she got caring man, then he needs to be good looking and rich at same time. when she got good looking boy, then she needs somebody who cares about her. she wants you to say three words first. when you do it then she comes up with a stupid phrase to insult you. so what she really want.

  94. I love this post. I may be a little crazy with my list , but here are a few things.

    Must haves: honesty, loves to travel, intelligent, active (prefer a fellow surfer), non judgmental, loves me for me (we all know how great it feels when someone tries to change us), fun, thoughtful, generally happy, enjoys life, enriches my life (I think “completing” someone is crazy BS), chemistry (if you don’t want to get fresh at some point, you end up in the friend zone), emotionally supportive

    Deal Breakers: alcoholic (or drug addict, etc), rude, high maintenance, liar, manipulative, low self esteem (convincing someone you really do want to be with him is exhausting), pessimism, competitive with me

    I am sure there are more, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind. 🙂

  95. first of all…let me just say, in regards to the “MAN” thing. PREACH.

    second, in answer to your question…sense of humour. honesty. kindness. i think that’s what everyone looks for in everyone but it’s really important to me. i think making too much of a list really limits you.

    thanks for sharing! x

  96. This is my list:

    It’s long, it’s defined… it’s written. My best friend says it’s too much. I’ll never find him. My current bf is a close match… but in reality… all of these things are important factors but will never be as important as that feeling you get when you’re around him. I need that ‘can’t leave’ feeling. I love it! I eat it up. 🙂

    I’m thrilled that you lived your life first! Awesome start! Now, you can really enjoy a partner. Good luck!

  97. I really like this post! I’ve been single and dateless for a few years as well, and I’ve recently been considering what it would look like for me tone gin dating again! Still wrestling with that, but this blog was good.

  98. I used to think I liked brunettes, then it was surfers, then it was businessmen (then it was most certainly NOT businessmen), then it was musicians, then it was guys in the army… the truth of the matter, I just really like men! Anyone who will challenge me to grow and follow my heart in all aspects of life and will help me make a positive contribution to the world is a wonderful person. If I find a man who will understand that all I can hope for is to end up with the RIGHT regrets, then I shall be happy.

    • Good for you!! 🙂 Sounds like you’ve come to the conclusion that nothing can replace character in a man. Good luck to you, a man of good character is difficult to come by but he WILL come by. 😉

  99. I don’t have a list. I know what I want but I don’t want to limit myself to what is specifically on a list (if that makes sense?)

    I’ll know he’s right when I meet him.

  100. Pingback: The Character of Modern Dating | I Heart Change

  101. Great post, interesting topic!

    I ditched the list years back, in early high school. Girls who wanted “doctors” were, to me, “bitches.” I’ve been perfectly successful in finding the man I love and who helps me be at my best every day, with no such list.

    Thanks for putting this out there 🙂
    Mia Nicole

  102. let me tell you this – I used to have a list. some ABSOLUTE necessary things like he should be this height and the communication between us should be smooth, etc. and then I fell in love 😀

  103. Most people who have a “list” probably have a shallow list, I know mine sure was! I agree it all comes down to character. The rest you can deal with, but character isn’t something that should be negotiable when you’re looking for a mate. It’s either there or it’s not. Enjoyed reading through your thoughts. 🙂

  104. I used to have a list of traits that I’d like in a guy. Surprisingly, le bf does not just fit the list – he’s more than I could hope for. The list, I guess, is just a guide. In real life, you’ll just feel that you click with this person and you’d know that that’s what you wanted in a guy all along. I agree with you and the other comments that character is very important indeed. Everything good follows as long as one has good character.

  105. Excellent post; I really enjoyed it. As a single late-twenties guy, I find myself enjoying the single life for now after some BS relationships in the past. When I say enjoying my single life, I mean not having any cares or stresses about women whatsoever, at least the past 9 months or so. It’s been refreshing. A 4 year relationship that ended out of nowhere was the start of it, then dating mean people(turning their insecurity on you, not accepting compliments) to immature people (breaking up over text message), I finally have this peace of mind and sense that “whenever” it happens, it’ll happen. I’m not looking right now, I’m busy getting in great shape and focusing on being a successful teacher, and life is a-okay.

    But I guess if I had a list, it would start with BE HONEST. I’d rather have them tell me straight up that they aren’t interested rather than these BS games that well, we all seem to play. Also, text messaging early on is a huge pet peeve. I want to talk to you over the phone or in person – texting is a convenient excuse to ignore the person. Frustrating.

    Okay, enough rambling 🙂

  106. I used to have a list … but now I’m just holding out hope that when it’s right, I’ll feel it. I, too, went from two back-to-back serious relationships in my early 20s … followed by wanting to be single for a while … followed by about 5 years of a single date here and there, none of which ever went anywhere … and eventually wondering what is wrong with me (it has to be me, right?) It’s kind of funny – at 31, I’m not at all where I ever thought I would have been, and for a while I was okay with it. But now, I find myself thinking, I don’t even care about the wedding anymore … I just want the right guy to come along – the one who will become the husband to share my life with.

  107. You’re not alone. I do enjoy dating, but I like to think that each time I get serious with a new guy I’m “upgrading” towards more of what I’m looking for with the next, and won’t settle for less or take a step back. I like to believe my Prince Charming is out there somewhere, but for now I need to figure out myself first. It’s hard to list deal breakers or what I actually want when it honestly depends on how people present themselves/their “issues”….for example, I like when a guy has a car so that I don’t have to drive him around and have found myself to be more compatible with guys that have the same things as me (place of my own, vehicle, job) and are at a similar point in life…But what if a guy with no car was great at getting around, never left me waiting, never asked for rides and didn’t use it as an excuse for not going places?? Can’t say I’d rule him out. Or maybe bad teeth is a deal breaker? I had an ex with bad teeth…..he got veneers and looked smokin’ hot after…sometimes perceptions can change over little things depending on the person so I’ve learned to look past some things with guys I really like on the first or second dates…if it’s still bugging me after the third date it’s time to move on.

  108. Pingback: He Said, "His Life Is Complicated Right Now?" « Kelly Speechless

  109. I have just one thing on my list:

    I want someone that makes me happy.

    Nothing more. I don’t need more. I really think no one really needs something like that. If you’re just happy, you don’t feel like having more. Happiness is the best thing someone can give.

  110. Love this post. I’ve been single for a long time and was feeling a bit unsure of where my life was heading so last year I quit my job to travel around the world. I have really enjoyed traveling on my own. I feel free and almost like a different person. I know at some point I will need to decide whether I will continue being nomadic or if I should settle down. Then, trying to find that one special guy to settle down with will be another adventure in itself. Good luck with your adventure!

  111. I love your list. I’m in the middle of my wanderlust phase, but I can’t help wishing I had someone to share it with. Great post!

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