When my soon-to-be-ex and I separated, he and I had agreed to attend therapy in an attempt to patch things up. It didn’t work, but I saw the therapist on my own a few more times. She didn’t know why I’d want to, if I’d decided that the marriage should be over, so I finally had to explain it. I’ve had these patterns in my life and my relationships—downward spiral patterns. I keep winding up with guys who are just plain not right for me. I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life, but I need to know how to identify these patterns and break out of them before I get seriously involved with anyone else. Isn’t that the point of most talk therapy anyway? To break old patterns and find new ways of being?
Well, the therapist and I have since parted ways. She wasn’t keen on doing this, and an assignment I had to do for a class I’m taking through my church helped me more in identifying the patterns of my past than any thing any therapist has ever said to me. The most helpful thing my therapist did was to give me an assignment to make a list of the traits I would like in an ideal mate, and how my previous partners matched or didn’t match those traits.
I’m not going to share the ways my previous partners matched up to my list. Even though each guy matched in some ways and not in others, it’s right out of the question—far too private! But the list itself is rather telling, and that I will share.
Appearance (the easy one, so I did it first): I’m not too picky here. I’ve been at least vaguely attracted to all kinds. But I do want there to be a “spark”. There has to be something, some undefinable thing in the smile or in the eyes that indicates to me that yes, there is or will be attraction between us.
Must be a good conversationalist. This includes both thinking-talk and feeling-talk.
Must be adventurous.
Must understand my sense of humor. (It’s kind of unusual, and not many people get it.)
Must have a sense of humor of his own, which is not solely based on bad or weird things happening to other people.
Must have a strong spiritual sense. I don’t insist that the person have the same shape of faith I have. I do strongly prefer that he believe in some form of Higher Power, and that this relation is important to him. My spirituality is a vital thing in my life, as odd a form as it may take at times, and if I can’t share this with the person I’m closest to and have him share in return, it hurts. A lot.
Must not mind if I have male friends. (Most of the friends are gay, anyway.)
And on that line, must not have a problem with my gay friends. Or my black friends. Really, let’s put this as “Must relate to people based on their own merit rather than their appearance, at least as much as is possible.”
Must have some ambition and drive. Not too much; I don’t want to be involved with a workaholic. But I do want someone who is willing to make himself and his life better, and willing to work for it.
Must be creative. Not necessarily an artist or poet, but someone who has ideas and isn’t shy about sharing them with me.
(Corollary: Must also be interested in my creative ideas.)
Must have an appreciation for Nature, animals, and life.
Must not blame others for problems he does have control over. This is something I’m trying to work my way out of, so being around someone else who does it could cause setbacks.
Must have some common interests with me. After all, we have to start somewhere.
Must be able to be social with my friends and family. Don’t have to be best good pals with them, but at least be friendly. (And I will do my best to reciprocate.)
Must have a desire and drive to make the world a better place.
Must be kind and compassionate.
Must not fear spontaneity.
Must be willing to share his dreams with me. And I will share mine with him, and great things may come of this. :-)