The concept of a dating “checklist” predates online dating, but with the rise of quick dating sites and apps that let us categorize and reject others at a glance, we seem to be clinging to our checklists more than ever before. Not only is this not helping your dating game as much as you think it is, but it may actually be hurting your chances at finding love. It’s time to let the checklist go, and here’s why:
Your Checklist Measures the Wrong Traits
When we dream up our perfect partner, we often imagine qualities that have nothing to do with compatibility. Our mental checklist is usually just a list of superficial traits: tall, nice, loves sports, shares a favorite TV show. These traits may check off a box for you initially, but as a relationship develops, it will become increasingly clear that they have nothing to do with whether or not you and your partner get along. Meanwhile, you may pass on a much better partner over something inconsequential like different tastes in films.
Your Checklist is Not Realistic
No one person will meet every standard on your list, and chances are, you won’t meet every standard on someone else’s list. The odds of you finding someone who completes your checklist (and who has a checklist that matches all of your qualities) are very slim, and you’ll be left wondering why your dating pool is so shallow.
Your Checklist Doesn’t Have What You Need
Throwing out your checklist does not mean settling. In fact, your checklist makes you more likely to settle for the wrong person because they have many qualities that you thought you wanted, but not the qualities that you need. Happy couples will often admit that their partner was not everything they thought they wanted, but they turned out to be what they needed in a companion.
Your Checklist is Limiting You
People change and grow, and if you’re still holding on to a checklist you crafted several years ago, the people you meet now will never satisfy the current you. Additionally, a partner and a relationship can change you. As I mentioned above, what you want isn’t necessarily what you need, and what you need isn’t always apparent until you find it. An ideal partner will shine light on qualities you didn’t know you had and encourage you to grow to meet your potential, while you do the same for them. Your checklist is preventing you from not only meeting that ideal partner, but also from being that ideal partner for someone else.
When you meet the right person, you’ll want your date to be about getting to know them and not about grading them on a test they don’t even know they’re taking— so throw away your dating checklist! Happy endings don’t happen on schedule, and checkboxes will never amount to love.