This is a continuation of Part 1 of the Manifestation series, where I share with you the processes which I have found to be the most practical in attracting what you want into your life. In Part 1, I outlined the steps to getting clear on what you want. This process will however look slightly different when it comes to figuring out what exactly you want in a partner and it involves a few extra considerations. By the end, you will essentially end up with a list, separate from the ones you created in Part 1 of this series. This list will contain the things that others do, and the qualities that others have which make you genuinely happy. It will serve as a guide for you to refer back to during your future interactions so that you can easily decide whether or not a potential partner is the right one for you. And if you’re already in a relationship, feel free use this guide as a way to help you figure out whether or not you’re on the right track.
The advice here will help you build your “love list.”
To start off, it can be helpful to think back to your experiences with others in the past in order to clearly identify which aspects of them brought joy and value into your life. It might have been something as simple as giving you a good hug when you were feeling down. Or maybe you appreciated it when they cooked a nice meal for you. The events that we identify indicate the qualities we really liked in that person—maybe they were very comforting (like with the hugging example) or very generous (like with the cooking example). Identify events where others really made you feel good and then write down which quality that indicates in a person (it doesn’t necessarily have to be a past partner; it can be anyone). Think of it this way:
Event: They gave me a hug when I was feeling down
Then, list all of the qualities that come to mind, likeso:
I feel really good with people who are:
This is the beginning of your love list. However, the qualities that you write here are the ones which you should keep in mind when meeting new people in general. It can help you when deciding whether you want to continue spending time with a particular person, or whether it would be best to “love them from a distance,” as Lisa Nichols would say. The sections in this article are intended to help you build on this list, so feel free pause before moving on if you like.
If you’ve never had a romantic partner before, don’t worry! Again, you can simply list things that people in general do which make you feel really good. In order to get clear on the qualities you should look for in a partner, it’s especially helpful to think about the qualities of the people closest to you: Who do you vibe with? What qualities do they have? I personally noticed that I tend to feel nurtured by people who validate me, who are very present with me during our interactions, and who are really positive/supportive.
Physical Attraction, Hobbies, and Interests
Physical attraction is essential for most of us but if you notice yourself listing very specific physical attributes on this list, it may be likely that you have a strong connection to your ego which you are projecting onto your future ideal partner. In that case, I’d recommend doing some more self-work before pursuing a relationship. Hobbies and interests are also unimportant—research shows that having interests and hobbies in common does not indicate compatibility!
What should make up the majority of the list? Things that your partner does which make you feel safe and loved, and that add value to your life. Again, these are personal qualities, otherwise known as character traits.
Positive character traits
Some examples of positive character traits include: appreciative, compassionate, empathetic, generous, faithful, good-natured, intelligent, kind, mature, respectful, strong, and witty. A person who has many positive character traits can be considered to have good core values. Finding a good-natured partner like this may be more likely to result in a positive and healthy relationship. Kindness and maturity, for example, create a strong foundation for a relationship. Respectfulness is crucial for a healthy one. You can get through a great deal of hardships with someone who is “strong.” And many people enjoy witty banter.
There are many positive character traits so it’s important to figure out which ones you value the most. Again, everyone’s answers will be different! Maybe you have a stronger need to connect with people who are very intellectual and who you can carry meaningful conversations with? I personally have enough of those conversations in my head to satisfy that need :).
An important caveat
A caveat here is that relationships aren’t easy. They demand constant effort. Even if a partner has great positive traits, no relationship is perfect. Believing that relationships should be magical, immediate, and free of conflict is simply unrealistic. It’s okay for partners to disagree and to dislike certain things about each other. It doesn’t mean that they’re not in love—rather, it can often mean the opposite. Couples who are willing to put in the work to grow and learn together can really deepen their connection. It’s all about communication and the willingness to try and grow together. This doesn’t always look pretty—it might mean (safely and respectfully) discussing tough topics. But the important part is finding a partner who is willing to have those conversations with you.
So many of us are caught up in that “romantic comedy” idea of love. We think that love means being swept off your feet, or that “true love” is easy. While being in a healthy relationship should have a sense of ease, it’s important to acknowledge that you will need to work on the relationship together if you want it to stand the test of time. So many of us will run away from a relationship at even the slightest sign of conflict (and the ease/speed of apps like Tinder make this a very convenient option). But the hard truth is: this approach to relationships is lazy, it is a way of habitually “taking the easy way out,” it will hinder your growth, and it is doomed to fail. Conflict is normal and to be expected in relationships. And there is no such thing as a “perfect” relationship (or person for that matter). So if you don’t know how to work through conflicts, get learning! And find someone who is equally willing to work things out with you.
While you should always respect yourself and walk away from relationships when your gut tells you to (obviously you shouldn’t stay in an abusive relationship!), you should however permit yourself to have negative emotions. Just because you’re upset about something doesn’t mean that you can’t try to work it out. If there is a misunderstanding, maybe a miscommunication—it is important to have a respectful discussion with your partner. Putting in that time and effort shows that you care about each other and that you want to move past any issues as a team. If you’re unwilling to do that, you can be certain that you will end up jumping from partner to partner for the rest of your dating life!
Self-love, setting boundaries
Some people say that “you can never truly love another until you have learned to love yourself.” I personally think that is total BS. However, it is very important that you understand how to practice self-love so that your future relationships will be healthy ones. And one form of self-love which I do think is 100% essential to practice before entering a relationship is setting boundaries. This means noticing what makes you uncomfortable in a relationship, defining it, and refusing to tolerate it. Sometimes we fail to set healthy boundaries because we fear losing the other person, but if you don’t do it anyway then you are setting yourself up for a future of being treated as less than you deserve. If you have ever been called a “pushover,” felt treated like a doormat, or felt that you have been taken for granted in a relationship, this message is for you: LEARN HEALTHY BOUNDARY SETTING.
You may need to work on this before dating at all – and that is okay. If it feels necessary for you, honour your truth and do what you feel is best. Dating will always be there when you’re ready for it. You need to take care of yourself, too.
The 5 Love Languages
In order to better understand how you experience love, it can be useful to know the concept of “The 5 Love Languages.” Dr. Gary Chapman describes these so-called languages as: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
Dr. Chapman explains Words of Affirmation as verbal compliments which are best kept simple. This could be something like, “You look really beautiful today,” or “Thanks for being there for me.” The key here is to not leave kind words unsaid. If you find yourself appreciating somebody else, it can be nice for them to hear it. We all need a little boost sometimes, and genuine compliments from people we care about can be really helpful.
Quality Time is pretty self-explanatory. It means spending time with another person, being present in the moment. Dr. Chapman points out that our high-tech world makes it so easy to miss out on real, quality time with the people we love. Even if you’re out for an amazing dinner, you or the other person might be lost in your Instagram feed, scrolling on your phone while nodding and half-responding to the other person’s questions. It’s easy to get stuck in autopilot and stay absorbed in our devices, but making the effort to spend even 10 or 15 minutes with somebody, really with the person, can drastically improve the relationship. Giving someone your attention without feeling the need to check your phone every five seconds can be very grounding and rewarding.
The third language is Receiving Gifts, which is also pretty straightforward. Giving tangible gifts can make the other person feel very special and it can be very gratifying for you too. The key is to focus on the gesture and the thought put behind it as opposed to a price tag. It can be easy to think “he/she doesn’t really care about me—they barely spent any money on this.” But sometimes the most meaningful gifts can be handwritten love notes or a tin of homemade cookies. The important part is that the receiving party feels appreciated and important. Money is not the fundamental part of this concept.
The fourth is Acts of Service. Something as simple as giving your partner a neck massage when you notice that he/she is feeling stressed is all it takes. Or maybe you cooked your partner a warm meal at the end of a long day to show that you cared. These gestures can be very basic and everyday, but they’re still very meaningful.
Lastly, we have Physical Touch. While having sex can undoubtedly connect partners, the little things are often more than enough to make your partner feel cared for. A kiss on the cheek or holding your partner’s hand can be a very simple way to connect physically. Even if you’re just waiting in line at the grocery store, doing it while holding hands can make your partner feel more connected to you. It’s important to be sincere and to do what feels comfortable for you and your partner.
The purpose of understanding these languages here is that when you recognize which ones you “speak,” you unlock some important knowledge about what you really want from a partner. We all want to receive love in the ways that are most meaningful to us, personally. Which of the five languages do you appreciate most? Find someone who is able and willing to speak them to you.
Don’t settle for less (or other) than what you deserve
It’s also crucial to know your worth. All of this introspection can teach you a lot about yourself. After doing this work, really remember to value yourself and this new awareness of your needs and wants.
An article on PairedLife, called “Attract Your Soulmate By Making a List,” says that: “if the [person], however, has some serious shortcomings and/or does not meet most of the requirements on your list, let [him/her] know and let [him/her] go immediately. Be upfront and honest by telling [them] that you are not interested in pursuing any type of relationship and then move on.”
It may sound harsh but it’s important advice to remember. You need to be realistic. Take stock of what you’re looking for and make sure that you’re honest with potential partners about your values. If you seem to be on a different page, or looking for different things in life, it may be best to cut things short before they get too difficult. This can be hard to do, but it is ultimately an act of self-respect (and it also shows respect for the other person because you don’t want to waste their time, either).
Defining exactly what you want in a partner like this helps you to stay focused and confident in the dating world. When you meet someone that you are “unsure” about, you can think back to your description of this ideal partner and ask yourself whether or not they match up. Sometimes it’s easy to fall head-over-heels in love with someone you just met. When you know exactly what you want, and you stay focused on that, it is easier to break ties with someone early on (when you’re not yet attached!) when you realize they aren’t what you’re looking for. This way, it is also easier to stand your ground and walk away from bad behaviour that makes you feel insecure.
Don’t ever make excuses for people who are treating you as less than you deserve or think that you might be able to change someone. Believe that there IS someone out there who is already willing and able give you what you need in a relationship. If you settle you will not be happy and you are only wasting your own time.
A note on “neediness”
Many people fear insecurity, “neediness,” or dependency in potential partners, but they often fail to realize that it is own their behaviours which can often cause their partners to become that way. It’s normal for a person to feel insecure if they don’t know where they stand in a relationship, or if their partner constantly does things that make them question where they stand. A good and mature partner understands that and they will not make you feel guilty if you feel that way. If anything, THEY will feel guilty about it and they will give you what you need in order to feel safe again—whether that’s reassurance, validation, spending more time with you, or stopping the behaviour that made you feel insecure.
So if you fear “neediness” or dependency in a partner, take a look at your own behaviour and ask yourself whether or not you’re an example of a loyal, honest, and dependable person. We are wired for giving, nurturing, and signalling emotional safety in relationships. In part, this literally defines relationships. To behave indifferently to your partner’s emotional needs in a relationship is being selfish. So is this an area you struggle with? Are you afraid to be generous, to give emotional validation, or reassurance? Again, you may want to do some self-work before pursuing a relationship. If someone is feeling “needy,” there’s a good chance it’s because they love you and you simply aren’t giving them what they need to feel loved in return.
This brings me to…
In an article titled “Emotional Safety is Necessary for Emotional Connection,” Ellen Boeder discusses how our nervous system is wired to detect threats and disengage us from threatening situations—this includes threats to emotional safety. She says that, “When we don’t feel safe, our bodies don’t want to engage, connect, or provide the emotional warmth our relationships need in order to thrive.” In other words, feeling guarded can limit our relationships.
Boeder continues: “The latest research in neurobiology shows that emotional safety is one of the most important aspects of a satisfying connection in a loving relationship. We need to feel safe before we’re able to be vulnerable, and as Brené Brown reminds us, ‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.’”
Let’s unpack that. Emotional safety is often a prerequisite for vulnerability. And vulnerability is a prerequisite for deep, authentic love. So, by choosing a partner who makes you feel safe, you open yourself up to being vulnerable around that person, too. And through that vulnerability and honesty, you can allow your true self to unfold before them. You can be authentic without the fear of being judged.
“Honesty can make or break a relationship”
Authenticity is closely connected to honesty. In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Barton Goldsmith explains just how crucial honesty is in a healthy relationship. He says, “Trying to ‘protect’ your partner or just trying to avoid looking bad can create more trouble than it’s worth. It is best to be above board in all your dealings.” This can be hard to swallow because a lot of us have a deep desire to please our partners and to try and placate them. But the web of lies that you can get tangled in is not worth the trouble. It’s best to just be honest the first time. Even if it’s uncomfortable to be honest sometimes, it makes things easier in the long term because it is what allows you to openly address issues together.
- Open communication is extremely important in any relationship.
- You can’t have trust in a relationship without it.
- It is also a way of showing respect, whereas lying is a form of disrespect.
- Lying is also a form of manipulation: it is a way of keeping information from another person in order to maintain power in a relationship (because we fear what the other person might do if they knew the information).
- Lying is wrong, unfair, and unhelpful, period.
In an article for CounsellingResource.com, Dr. George Simon discusses lying as a manipulation technique in depth. In fact, he claims that it is the “ultimate” manipulation technique.
Dr. Simon says: “For the disordered character, lying serves many purposes. But mainly, lying serves to give a manipulator an advantage over someone else. Disordered characters don’t want you to know what they’re all about or what they’re up to. That would level the playing field in your encounters with them. But disturbed characters want to be one-up on you and a step ahead of you. They want to keep you in the dark and keep you guessing. One of the best ways to do this is by deception.”
Here, Dr. Simon digs deep into the real purpose of lying. Aside from mere deception, he explains how liars are seeking power, too. This is a desire for an upper-hand, which often stems from personal insecurity.
This is good to note because it’s easy to think that lying is a surface-level offence; somebody didn’t want to admit the truth, so they lied. But Dr. Simon asks us to look below the surface and recognize how deeply this behaviour is rooted. Liars aren’t just trying to hide something—they’re also trying to gain power in a relationship. Being aware of this is important when choosing a partner. If you notice that a person is prone to lying, it may be good to look deeply into the pattern and maybe reassess your relationship. Have a discussion with them and, if necessary, consider ending the relationship for your own emotional wellbeing.
So how do we communicate a dirty ugly truth? Dr. Goldsmith believes that we sometimes need to be cautious when being honest with partners. He says, “‘Brutal honesty’ has gotten a lot of press lately, but I have seen it do more damage than good. You need to present your issues with some degree of kindness. If not, your message may be buried in an avalanche of hurt feelings.” So, while it’s good to be up-front, try not to be straight-up abrasive. Sometimes, when we try to be “straight” with people, it devolves into being rude or mean and that is not conducive to being in a loving relationship. Try to find a middle ground between being honest and being rude. There is ALWAYS a way to accurately and fairly communicate a difficult truth.
All in all, what I am trying to say here is this: I highly encourage you to add “honesty” as an essential trait on your list. It is crucial for any healthy relationship. And if you personally still believe that “it’s okay to lie sometimes,” please, out of respect for others, work on yourself before pursuing a relationship.
There are only two genders. I won’t dive into that in great detail in this article, however, it needs to be said here. Why? Because in order to figure out who your ideal partner is, you also need to know which gender they are. Your ideal partner will be someone who is the opposite gender to your own—regardless of their biological sex. If you haven’t done so already: figure out which gender you have a tendency towards expressing, make the conscious decision to “be” that, and find a partner whose gender is opposite. This will make for a more harmonious relationship. I am working on an article which explains this at great length. In the meantime, please trust me… and read this (AND think about it). Takeaway: “High correlations between the separate TMF femininity and masculinity scales as shown in Study 1 suggest a bipolar, one-dimensional use of this instrument reflecting laypersons’ ideas of masculinity and femininity as two extremes of one continuum. This is also in line with findings reported by [two similar studies].”
Back to our “Love List”
Elena Murzello, author of “The Love List: A Guide to Getting Who You Want” introduces the concept of a “love list” to help people find good partners. She compares dating to grocery shopping, stating: “Without a list, you base your purchases on how hungry you are and end up grabbing random items you don’t need, like pretzel-covered peanut-butter snacks.”
How can you find the partner you really want if you never take the time to figure out what you even want in the first place? What a great analogy. Everyone knows the feeling—you head to the grocery store in a rush and you throw in whatever food looks good at the time. You base your choices on fleeting emotions (hungry, maybe in a rush). So you throw in that extra bag of chips or something else that you don’t really need and likely forget a few things that you actually do need. Because you never took the time to slow down and figure out your needs, you ended up with whatever looked appealing in the short-term. In dating, if we don’t first establish our priorities, it’s very hard to find a partner who lines up with said priorities.
This article is intended to help you create your “love list.” I included this in the manifestation series for a reason: knowing exactly what you want in a partner is a prerequisite to attracting that kind of person!
Stay tuned for Part 3 🙂