You Can’t Always Get What You Want: So Focus on What You Need
By Evan Marc Katz Special to Yahoo! Personals
Updated: Apr 13, 2010
Why is it so hard to land the one you want? Because what you “want” isn’t necessarily good for you. And in going after the person you think you want, you ignore what you really need.
Want vs. Need. It’s a blurry area. Because ultimately, we want it all, even when our desires contradict themselves.
“I want someone with strong opinions…who’s easygoing and never argues.”
“I want someone who’s spontaneous and wild…who has a stable job.”
“I want someone who’s gregarious at parties…but never flirts with anyone else.”
You see the problem here?
The qualities we seek often come with a significant downside — a downside that we tend to ignore. I have a dating coaching client who is in his mid-40’s, smart, successful and serious about finding Ms. Right. Every week, we talk about his dates and how they match up with his mental checklist: someone with a Mensa IQ and a model body. Yet he complains that the young, thin women are a little too immature, the brainy corporate lawyers are a little too demanding.
We want the good qualities without the bad qualities. We are all, to some degree, hypocrites.
How do you get over it?
Figure out what you NEED and separate it from what you WANT.
You want someone tall. You need a strong emotional connection.
You want someone who likes the same music. You need financial stability.
You want someone who is drop-dead gorgeous. You need someone who accepts you at your worst.
When we’re dating, we often look for people who are mirror images of ourselves. For example, a successful woman will usually seek a successful man. But that very quality which makes them successful creates friction — which is how you end up with two strong-willed people who can’t stop arguing. Or two people who demand all the attention. Or two people who put their jobs before their relationships.
Stop dissecting people
It would seem that the best course of action would to find someone who complements us instead. But we don’t. We just keep trying to find “better” versions of ourselves, to our own detriment. It’s no wonder we’re still single.
If we’re to overcome our basest wants, we need to focus on what’s most important.
We have to stop expecting people to act better than we do. We have to stop dissecting people like lab frogs and finding fault. We have to stop extolling the flashiest virtues — looks, money, pedigree — and start focusing on things like heart, kindness, compassion and loyalty.
Only then can we reach the point where we say, while looking at the ring on our finger, “It’s not that my partner is perfect; it’s that she’s perfect for me.”
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