Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guest Blogger: Amanda Kane, LSW

Mr. Right—Potbelly Included

Steve Harvey appeared on Oprah the other day. He promoted his new book, Act Like A Lady and Think Like a Man and gave advice to the all-female audience. I found Mr. Harvey's commentary on relationship dynamics both hysterical and insightful. A female guest who was seeking relationship advice revealed that she had a list of requirements for her future "Mr. Right." This immediately reminded me of a friend that keeps a similar list. Steve Harvey praised the general idea of these kinds of lists because "you have to have standards." But he cautioned that list makers should possess the same qualities they expect in a mate.

This brings me back to my friend whose list for her Mr. Right includes "must be ivy league educated" and "cannot have a potbelly" among other requirements. Now my friend is single, in her late thirties, not ivy league educated, and desperately wants to have a child. She has created the list because she wants to have standards, but the list has become so specific and extensive that almost no man can fulfill it. Until recently she has remained committed to these rigid prerequisites. But lately she began to reflect on some of the more superficial requirements. She realized that a potbelly can be changed and having a Burberry trench coat is negotiable.

Recognize that creating a list of ideal attributes is not the same as not ordering a product from a catalogue. Consider a person's compensatory qualities before tossing them back into the dating pool. It may be a good idea to rank the most important qualities in a mate to get an idea about what is most vital to you. Does your future husband need to love children? Does your future wife need to be career minded? Can you cope with someone who smokes? Does your list (or heart) have any room for flexibility? If not, why not? I'm a supporter of visualizing what you want to get out of life. Lists are great because they focus your attention (they remind you of your standards) and your intention (how to get what you want). But don't let a list rule your life!

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