It's true. After all, sometimes our desires even contradict themselves: I want someone with strong opinions... who never argues. I want someone who's spontaneous and wild... who has a stable job.
Needs, on the other hand, go like this:
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You want someone creative.
You need someone you can trust.
You want someone who shares your love of jazz.
You need someone who appreciates some of your interests.
You want someone who is athletic and physically active.
You need someone who accepts you even if you let your body go.
Using this as a guideline, I was able to narrow down my list to three essential needs: intellectually curious, kid-friendly, and financially stable.
Obviously, these weren't the only qualities I would be looking for in a partner, but they would be the only basis on which I could rule someone out for a first date. In other words, I couldn't say no to a first date with a guy who wore bow ties, but met these three requirements.
And guess what? Bow-tie guy became my boyfriend. No, he didn't match the mental check-list I'd been carrying around with me. And he wasn't what I used to think of as my type, like the guys I'd always dated in the past (but who, incidentally, never worked out). The great surprise about Bow-tie guy was that he met my three needs and my most important "want": I wanted to be with him.
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Lori Gottlieb is the author of the new book, MARRY HIM: THE CASE FOR SETTLING FOR MR. GOOD ENOUGH, which has been optioned for film by Tobey Maguire for Warner Bros. Her website is www.lorigottlieb.com.