Lists, Prerequisites and the Burden of High Standards

I think we all have standards and a list of basic requirements for a potential Ms. or Mr. Right, or at least for Ms. or Mr. Right Now.  For example, most people probably would prefer to date someone who is at least “nice” or “not a complete asshole.”  Most of us probably also have hygiene rules: we want someone who brushes their teeth, showers at least once a day and wears some form of deodorant.  Basic qualities.  Beyond that, specific preferences of Ms/Mr. Right (Now) are certainly up to the individual, but there are likely still common traits we’re all looking for.

I’m admittedly not a Reddit user, though I do often get pointed in the direction of Reddit posts that manage to get a fair amount of traffic — don’t we all?  Yesterday, user unreal5 submitted an interesting picture, her friend’s list of qualities her future husband must have.  Let’s ignore the fact that this is a girl who is not yet married, but speaks of her husband in the present tense.  We’ll let that slide.  Here’s a transcribed copy of her list:

Qualities I love about my husband

  • Thinks I’m beautiful!!
  • Considerate
  • Sensitive
  • Intelligent
  • Humble
  • Great (“innocent”) sense of humor
  • multi-lingual/facility to pick up languages
  • kind
  • romantic
  • loving
  • Ever faithful
  • loves to travel
  • Generous
  • patient
  • calm/even tempered
  • compassionate
  • musically inclined
  • adventurous
  • ambitious
  • loves children (family oriented)
  • Enjoys all foods!!
  • educated
  • polite
  • cultured
  • healthy/physically fit
  • fun/fun loving
  • makes me laugh… from the gut
  • positive/happy
  • passionate
  • great amazing lover
  • likes animals (especially cats)

She also writes next to the list:

“The man who has me, deserves me”

My initial reaction is actually fairly positive.  Good for her to know what she’s looking for.  Of course, I would be very impressed if she actually found a man who exhibits all of these qualities and is attracted to her (keep in mind, he might have a list of his own) without one hell of a search.  Further, none of these qualities seem that unusual, though I’m a little unsure of what an “innocent” sense of humor is.

None of the items on her checklist are really that unusual qualities or extreme qualities — he doesn’t have to be captain of a sports team, a master French chef and play no less than four string instruments.  In fact, I can think of two or three guys who probably meet most of her requirements (I can’t guarantee they think she’s beautiful, that’s tough to know up front).  Also, I think some of these are qualities that I imagine most women probably look for (kind, romantic, loving, amazing lover, compassionate, fun loving) and a number of these I think are qualities that a majority of people, not just women are interested in: educated, intelligent, likes to travel, great sense of humor, thinks I’m beautiful, etc.

So let’s get to a broader question here: is it okay to have lists and requirements for our partners?  Personally, I don’t keep a very specific list of requirements.  Rather, I have a list of deal breakers: smoking, unintelligent, inability to handle social situations, etc.  and I have a list of qualities that I’m attracted to, though I don’t necessarily absolutely demand: ambitious, smart, liberal, cultured and compassionate.  Beyond that I like to consider myself open minded and again, the list of qualities I’m attracted is not a checklist, I’ve dated girls who didn’t exhibit all or most of them.

Isn’t the number one quality you should seek in someone just simple chemistry?  I for one have found that my best relationships, whether two months or five years, were built on a foundation of just this: they make me feel special, I think I make them feel special and I love spending time with them.  The ultimate goal of dating is generally to find someone to spend the rest of your life with.  While I would like my wife to have a beautiful singing voice, I don’t think her lack of one would make my life with her less enjoyable — why include it on a checklist?

We all have a list of qualities, regardless of whether it’s written down or not, that we’re seeking in potential mates.  But the fact is, it’s unlikely we’ll know what we truly want until we stumble upon it.  The Reddit girl’s future husband’s ability to speak multiple languages is unlikely going to be a major contributor to ensuring that he makes her happy for the rest of their lives.  While it may make him attractive to her, attraction like that tends to only lead you towards your partner and not necessarily keep you together.

So best of luck in finding your perfect man.  I truly hope he has all the qualities on your list.  But, while the attraction may certainly be there, the chemistry certainly isn’t guaranteed.

[via Reddit]

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