BlogHer

What Do You Look For in a Partner? (Hint: It May Change.)

(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)

(Note: most of the time I come up with my own BlogHer topics, but sometimes the topics are assigned to me. This one was assigned. I didn’t mind writing it, but I just thought I’d throw it out there in case you guys were wondering why I suddenly decided to write about “what I’m looking for in a guy.”)

Wanted: a man with a green mohawk and a tattoo of a shark on his right bicep. Large brown eyes and a dimple in his cheek. He’ll have two sisters and an MBA. He should be able to whip up a delicious meal with ease. And have a visible six-pack. While we’re at it, it’d be great if he was exactly 6’2″. If you fit this description, please contact Zan at…

I wouldn’t say that having preferences for what we’re looking for in a partner are…crap…exactly, but aren’t a lot of preferences pretty cliche? “I’m looking for someone who’s smart, funny…” Well, sure, that’s what we all want. Those are nice attributes to have. But when someone asks me what kind of guy I’m looking for, I don’t want to list a bunch of cliches. Those things should be assumed.

Our preferences are designed to change because we ourselves change, every day, throughout our lives. I mean, ten years ago I liked a guy who smoked pot and wore baggy jeans. (Today? Not so much.) This is why we might end up dating one person for years — and while we’re going out with them, we think he’s exactly what we want — but the very next person we date ends up being his complete opposite.

I’ve started to find that preferences I had for certain physical features — things I previously thought were strict on my part — are becoming more negotiable. (Wow, imagine that. You mean you can actually like someone for their personality?) A good example is height. Since I’m 5’9″ in my bare feet, if I’m looking for someone online, as a matter of preference I tend to look for guys at least a few inches taller than I am. But there have been a few guys who, having met them in person first, I liked them enough that their height wasn’t a big deal.

On my Match profile, when asked what I’m looking for, I said I’m looking for someone who takes care of themselves physically and likes to stay active — but that’s really as far as I went. I don’t go into a lot of detail about my preferences because I don’t want someone looking at what I think I want and assuming they don’t fit the bill. On the flip side, unless a guy states a glaringly obvious preference like “I will not date blonds,” I tend to just skim over what they think they want, too. It seems that what we think we want sometimes tends to be far removed from what we end up with — and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

It’s kind of funny — I see all kinds of profiles where the guy will say something like, “I’d really like to date a girl who enjoys watching football.” Well, you know, that girl isn’t me. I’ll sit in front a football game if someone else wants to watch it, but unless I have a book or a laptop with me, I’m bored after a few minutes. That’s an example of what guys think they want, but in actuality it’s not something that most of them need. As far as I know, I’ve never been turned down by a guy because I’m not a football fan.

Among the men I’ve dated, the ones who have impressed me the most were the ones who were happy with their lives. (Who likes a complainer? Not me.) These people are easy to spot: they like what they do for a living and they don’t mind saying so. They have interests and hobbies outside of work. They have friends. They laugh with ease.

Other attributes that I find mad sexy: someone who is protective without being overbearing, and sarcastic without being cruel. Someone who will laugh at himself instead of getting defensive when he’s teased. Someone who isn’t afraid to be different from what people expect.

(Warning: sentimental stuff ahead.)

Above everything else, I want to be with someone who feels lucky to be with me. Why do I use the word lucky? Well, when I find someone I really like, someone I respect, someone who impresses me…I feel lucky to be with them. I’m proud to walk by their side because I know they’re a good person and they, in turn, inspire me to be a better person.

Imagine someone saying, “I’m lucky to have found you.” Can you imagine how those words would make you feel? For the record, it’s a pretty awesome feeling. And that’s exactly why I’m waiting for someone who feels lucky to be with me. That’s what I’m looking for in a partner.

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