Originally published in September 2008 by humanHi magasine.
Know what you want and why
If you ask some people what they are looking for in a partner they will often say something like “I don’t have a type, I’m not fussy, I’ll just know him when I meet him.” For some people this may well be true … they are relaxed with being single and either find someone or they don’t; no problem. But other people are waiting. Waiting for Mr or Mrs right to come out of the blue. Waiting for their life to be complete; but not actually being that aware of what it is that they are actually waiting for. Just that they will know it when they find it and hoping that God, the universe or chance will bring it to them.
The “I’ll know him when I meet him” signal is probably a thrilling and often overwhelming love / lust feeling which puts the pink coloured spectacles on and makes us act in impulsive and sometimes irrational ways. It feels good but how reliable is it really? Have you ever felt this feeling and, later on, realised that the person was really not all that? Or have you found yourself being attracted to partners who, at some level, you know are not good for you; repeating the same patterns again and again. But what can you do? It’s just chemistry, right?
While the attraction process is an unconscious one then there is little you can do … except, perhaps, loose confidence in your emotions altogether. What I am proposing here is that you bring the attraction process into awareness. When you know what your are attracted to you will know what to look out for and when you have actually found it. And if you are attracted to ‘the wrong kind’ of partner, perhaps you can make a few changes before the pink spectacles get put on again?
Become aware of the qualities you are looking for in a partner
The first thing I would suggest is to make a list of the qualities you value in a partner. We are going for a high level view here so keep them abstract. If there are certain specific things you normally look for then ask yourself what they are an example or indicator of. “Blonde hair and blue eyes” may be an example of “Good looks”; “Masters degree” may be an indicator of “Intelligence or Education”. Get the idea?
When you have a good long list of qualities choose your top 8 – 10 and put them into a rough order of importance (most important first). For example: Kindness, Beauty, Sexiness, Intelligence, Depth, Positivity, Fun, Passion. To check the order of the list perform a series of thought experiments by asking yourself: “Would I rather have a Kind partner who wasn’t very Beautiful; or a Beautiful partner who wasn’t very kind?” You may find that your list changes somewhat.
When you have completed this process you should be able to describe what it is like as you meet your ‘Ideal Partner’ and find that it pushes all the right buttons! For example, “I am meeting a sexy, beautiful man. He is kind and intelligent and I can tell that he has great depth. He is positive about life, with a great sense of fun and is financially stable.” There should be no surprises here … more a sense of recognition – you are describing what, at some level, you already knew.
Uncover any lurking negativity
Now comes the really interesting bit. For each of the qualities you have chosen find a word which describes the opposite … try to get a separate word rather than just putting “un” or “not” in front of what you already have. When you have the opposites you are going to consider the proportion of yourself which is attracted to the positive aspect, compared to the proportion which is repulsed by the negative aspect.
Quality & proportion of me attracted to
Opposite quality & proportion of me repulsed
Financial stability 20%
You get what you focus on
Have you ever ridden a bicycle around a sharp bend in the road? When you look around the corner towards where you want to be then you tend to get around easily; when you are distracted by the gravel in the gutter that you don’t want to hit, skid on and end up in a horrible nasty mess on the side of the road … yep, you tend to create what you are trying to avoid.
As you can probably guess, the qualities we are interested in are the negatives with more than 50% of your energy going into avoiding them. Though the person in the example is saying she wants someone Passionate, Fun and Financially stable she means that she is trying to avoid being with someone Boring and Broke.
Given that ‘the energy flows where the focus goes’ the chances are that she will have a pattern of attracting Boring and Broke partners. Or, perhaps more likely, she attracts partners who appear to be Passionate, Fun and Financially stable but then reveal their ‘true’ nature later in the relationship!
Change the pattern
If you find that there are certain qualities you are avoiding I suggest the following meditation:
1 – Remember all the people who you have known in your life who have the quality you are now trying to avoid. How did they behave with you? How did that make you feel?
2 – In your imagination invite each of these people in turn to be there with you in the room. Are they standing or sitting? What direction are they looking in? What are they wearing? Politely explain the impact that their behaviour had on you. For example, “David, when you sat on the sofa watching TV when I was trying to talk to you I felt ignored and hurt.”; “Jane, when you never offered to pay for dinner I felt exploited and that made me angry.”
3 – When you have said your piece invite them to say anything that they need to say to you. Really listen to what you imagine they would say. (Repeat as necessary until you have cleared the air between you.)
4 – Forgive the other person and ask for their forgiveness in return. Then allow them to drift off on their way.
5 – Repeat the process for each other person.
When you have completed the meditation consider how you feel about that quality now. Do you still find it repulsive or is it different now? Less emotional charge? Less important to avoid it? Revisit your List of values … does it need to change now? Are other things more important? What difference does that make?