Until very recently, Valentine's Day often passed with my friends and I sitting around wondering where all the good men were. And then, last year, something hit me: maybe they'd been right in front of me. As I looked around at my friends in happy marriages to men who might not knock your socks off at first glance, I started to realize that I'd probably passed up tons of great guys in the past because I had a fixed image of The One in my mind. I said I wanted to be "more open," but out in the dating world, I was still drawn only to my "type." Discover Your "Type" (It Really Exists)
More from YourTango: Gone Catfishin': How I Was Lured By An Online Dating Con Artist
My list? Oh, puhleeze! I told her I didn't have a list. After all, I wasn't a 16-year-old girl scribbling in my journal. I was a sophisticated 41-year-old woman with several significant relationships under my belt. Do We Find Love Or Decide To Love?
"I can't quantify what I'm looking for," I explained. "I always just fell in love."
More from YourTango: Online Dating Nightmares: 6 True (And Truly Awful) Tales
But my friend was right. When she asked me to write down what I was looking for in a guy, it took me all of three minutes to give a detailed description of more than fifty characteristics I was seeking—with specifics from hobbies to hair color! Even if I'd never written a list, I'd clearly kept a mental file. No wonder it was so hard to find my dream guy—I'd actually dreamed him up. Advice: Does Mr. Right Exist?
The problem with a list, I realized, is that it's hard to translate the bullet points into a real, live human being. The fact is, you can't make a list that doesn't either oversimplify or take things out of context. For instance, even if you make a list of qualities you want, they aren't all weighted equally (is height as important as honesty?), and with many qualities you want, it's not like people have them or they don't. Often, they have some degree of that quality—like sense of humor or financial stability—which may not be exactly what you had in mind when you wrote it down.