As someone in her mid-thirties who has had more than her fair share of dates, my parent’s words ring in my ears loudly: “Stop looking for perfection.” To that I think, I’m not looking for perfection, just the perfect person for me. However, after a while, I start questioning myself. Are they right? Are my standards too high? Am I searching for the impossible and not giving people enough of a chance?
I am extremely outgoing and if I had a penny for every time someone said they are shocked I’m still single, I could have retired already. Ironically, I used to host a relationship radio talk show for many years. I would blame my lack of a serious relationship on the fact that I worked nights, and was busy helping everyone else with their issues, leaving me no time for my own social life. These could all be reasons, or maybe it could be the fact that I, along with many others, was in a long-term relationship that took four years out of my dating life. I thought it would end in marriage, but didn’t – and now I don’t want to just jump into a relationship with just anyone. I want to make sure it’s right.
As we get older, each relationship counts even more. On one hand, it forces one to act quickly and not waste their time with someone who ultimately is not for them, but on the other hand, it may lead us to overlook some potentially great people because we’re jumping to conclusions too quickly. Maybe…or maybe not. I think we know more of what we want, and we know when it’s not there a lot quicker as we get older. Or maybe that’s not the case at all, and we’ve just become too picky for our own good, because there will always be another date tomorrow, or even later that night thanks to the plethora of options through online dating and living in a big city like New York.
How many times have we looked at a couple and thought, wow, how did they end up together?! Admit it, you’ve done it; we’ve all done it. You wonder what one person sees in the other. Meanwhile your friends are all getting married around you, or like in my case, some of my friends are getting married, divorced, and married again, while I can’t even make it to the alter once! I still believe that one has to trust their instincts. It’s still necessary to have a list of what’s important, but maybe after a closer look, we can take a few requirements off the list, which isn’t such a bad thing.
How about starting a new list from scratch, but instead of writing down what you want, let’s start with what you need, i.e. your must haves. First, include whether or not you even want to get married. Some just like to stay in a committed relationship without the piece of paper. Do you want kids? Is there a certain place you must live because of family or other obligations? Is it important to you to find a partner of the same religion and degree of observance?
Once we’ve established your needs, then you can focus on the traits you want. In my case, I look for someone who leads a healthy lifestyle and appreciates good food and keeping active. I also have a deep love for travel and would want to continue exploring new cities and cultures even after I get married and have kids. A rabbi once told me that’s not important. The fact that he is Jewish should be the number one criteria, and I should forget my love for traveling. However, my great aunt and uncle had explored the world together until they couldn’t anymore, and I want to follow in their footsteps. Therefore, perspectives can definitely vary from person to person, but you need to figure out what is most important to you and then possibly exercise more flexibility.
Life isn’t always easy and relationships take a lot of work. That is why in my opinion, if there is such a thing as the perfect match, it would involve dating your best friend. This could be a friend you’ve known for years with whom you suddenly discover a spark, or it could be someone new who becomes your best friend. Either way, when life throws you curve balls, your relationship will always have a solid foundation. Because you truly know and care for each other, years from now, you’ll look into each other’s eyes and know you found your b’sheret!