It’s amazing to me the number of people I’ve come across both personally and professionally that are in search of “the perfect mate.” If not in search of, definitely ponderous about the whole notion, and how a current partnership compares to the ideal. The following are some ideas to help in the journey of finding the man/woman of your dreams.

KNOW YOURSELF!

It seems quite elementary but ask yourself how well you really know YOU. This encompasses the simple as well as the complex workings of you. Do you love hanging out with yourself? Do you know what your favorite things are? Food? Movies? Hobbies, kind of ice-cream, colors, pace of life, how you recharge? What are your goals? How do you envision your life in a year, 5, 10? Are you a dog person or cat? City person or country? Would you like to be married, if not what WOULD you like? Do you see kids in the picture?

A difficult challenge is presented when we go in search of “the perfect mate” before we really know what we are about. What can happen is a seeking out identity in the partners we choose. Our “self” can become identified with that other person. Try going on a journey of falling in love with YOU. Explore all there is to know about yourself and enjoy the process! Note: in their journey of getting to this place, many people find counseling helpful.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Once a feeling of solidarity is created around who you are, it is helpful to know what you want. Begin paying attention to traits and qualities you appreciate in other people be it friends or past partners. Use your experience as your guide in determining what works and does not work for you in a partner. Some find it helpful to make a list or more visual people may collect images encapsulating what they want. When doing this do not analyze too much. Simply allow your inner wisdom to guide you in creating a sort of “wish-list.” We all want different things so do not qualify your desires as “good” or “bad” but simply what works for YOU!

STOP WAITING

It seems those in search of a partner, often put things off for when they find that “perfect match.” Examples may be learning or experiencing something: a trip, new hobby, a geographical move, job change, dance class, getting a pet, making friends, having a social life, ect. The advancement of many lives in a sort of holding pattern contingent upon finding someone to share it with. Imagine yourself doing these things NOW. The people you may meet in that process and what you may further learn and grow about yourself, may be subliminally just what you need to attract your “perfect mate.” And ask the question, “what do I have to lose,” or “what’s the worst that could happen?” often the answer is not that bad.

DITCH THE NOTION OF “THE PERFECT MATE”

Clinging to some conventional idea of perfection can be like chasing the wind. Both for ourselves and in our expectations of others. The idea that we or any person can be “perfect” quite difficult to work with.

A question dating people often ask, “How do I know if I’m supposed to be with the person I am currently with, or if I am just too picky?” A simple answer; if you are needing that person to change in any way in order for you to move on as a couple, this is not the person for you.

Another example may be, the “perfect car.” This is very different for each of us; my perfect car being one that is small enough to fit in tight, street parking spots, is green, gets great gas mileage and 5 speeds. For someone else the perfect car has 4 doors, ample cargo room and TV’s for the kids. Neither of these cares better or worse in and of themselves, simply perfect for different people. I would find great imperfection in an SUV be it a dream vehicle for my best friend.

Another helpful way to look at this may be finding “MY perfect mate.” A match that is perfect for me. One that I love and accept just as they are; imperfections and all.

Important also to identify what imperfections DO NOT work for you and you will not accept (i.e.: “My partner beats the snot out of me every Tuesday night, but hey -who’s perfect?”). This awareness cultivated as we work on step one and two of knowing ourselves, what we want; what works and does not.

PRACTICE

Let yourself imagine or feel what it will be like when you DO find your dream partner. How might you be different? Would your daily life look different if you were watching yourself on a movie screen? Would you walk differently, or wear different clothes? How would you feel on the inside? More confident? Blissful? Hopeful? Practice feeling these things NOW. Become a student of you and pay attention to the differences inside and out when you allow yourself to practice what it would feel and look like if you had already found that person of your dreams.

About the Author:
BRITTANY HARTMAN is a therapist at Thrive Boston Counseling and Life Coaching. For more information, or to schedule an appointment (in person of by telephone), call 617-395-5806

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Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore, PhD, is Founder and Chair at Thriveworks — a counseling practice focused on premium client care, with 340+ locations across the US. Anthony is a Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and author of "How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice". He is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."