Jessica’s friends can’t understand why she’s still single. They say that, with her good looks and charm, she could get any guy she wanted. To some degree, they’re right. For her, finding a date has never been the problem. Most men that she meets are instantly enamored with her and eager to start a relationship.

For Jessica, however, the feelings are rarely mutual. She has high standards for her relationships and wants a man who lives up to her ideals. She refuses to settle for a partner who doesn’t cross off every mark on her dating checklist.

After interacting with a guy for a few minutes, Jessica usually decides he’s not worth seeing again. Despite her efforts, she always finds herself back to square one.

Beware of the dating checklist

Does this sound familiar? In the matchmaking industry, female clients like Jessica are very common.

Often, the most beautiful, charismatic, and successful women join matchmaking confused as to why they can’t achieve the same prosperity in their relationships as they do in every other aspect of their lives.

After years of experience, matchmakers have identified at least one culprit to this pesky relationship problem. It is none other than the dating checklist.

According to matchmakers, women with rigid checklists tend to stay single longer than those who regularly reevaluate their relationship requirements.

This is not to say that standards are bad–just that a little spring cleaning never hurt anyone.

Find yourself constantly dating guys who never measure up? It might be time to freshen up your relationship checklist.

Loosen the list

Any attractive, successful woman with a bright personality has been told this phrase at least once in her life: you can get any guy you want.

While this might seem like a great thing to hear, for most women, it only adds pressure. The process of selecting a partner is already stressful, but the idea of infinite romantic possibilities can be incredibly overwhelming. In their efforts to search for the best of the best, it’s only natural that women use some sort of organizational system to help them narrow down their choices. In that way, checklists make perfect sense.

However, checklists come with consequences. Matchmakers point to overly rigid checklists as a reason why some singles overlook potentially compatible partners. According to matchmakers, checklists are a slippery slope–once you start to list a few relationship requirements, it’s easy to list another few, and another, and another.

Before you know it, you can be evaluating potential partners from a dating checklist that is pages long.

Instead, matchmakers recommend prioritizing the qualities on your checklist. Figure out what qualities are most important to you and stick to them.

For a list that actually works in your favor, it’s best to keep it loose and limited.

What’s in a checklist?
If you’re finding it difficult to narrow down your dating checklist, one helpful exercise is to examine the values that motivate each of your relationship requirements.

For reference, some common dating checklist items are:

  • Age
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Financial success
  • Education
  • Political leaning
  • Religion
  • Family
  • Children
  • Ethnicity
  • Shared hobbies

Let’s look at Jessica’s checklist, for example. When she goes out on a date, some of the things she looks for are the following:

  • He is over 6 feet tall
  • He wears designer clothing
  • He drives a luxury vehicle
  • He earns at least a six-figure salary
  • He’s college-educated

Maybe these aren’t the only traits Jessica looks for in a mate. Yet, over the years, she has recognized these qualities as quick and easy indicators of whether or not she could be compatible with someone. However, very few of the men she met were able to check all of her boxes. If they did, she rarely felt any chemistry with them.

After working with her relationship coach, Jessica realized it was time to reevaluate her relationship requirements. Instead of projecting these prerequisites on her dates, she decided to reflect inward. She asked herself: Why are these qualities important to me?

Checklist vs. value list

Her relationship coach was able to guide her to the values that were leading her to make these conclusions about potential partners. For example, she learned that it wasn’t really that important that her partner owned a Rolex, drove a Maserati, or was over six feet tall. What was more important was that she felt safe and protected by her partner. She liked the sensation of looking up to her partner and knowing that he was strong, masculine, and capable. She also realized that qualities like a large salary, education, clothing style, or other outward signs of wealth played into this, too. For Jessica, these were signals of a partner being able to provide both physically and financially for her and their family. She realized it was also important that her partner be respected by her social circle and within their community.

In that case, Jessica was able to reverse her requirements. Although quick, obvious physical indicators might seem like compatibility give-aways, they don’t allow you to see the person within.

In Jessica’s case, she was able to switch out the superficial requirements on her checklist for qualities that honored her core values. She no longer looks for what kind of car her date drives, or whether or not his clothes are designer. Now, when she’s getting to know someone, she refers to a value list, not a checklist.

Her value list looks something like this:

  • He is hardworking
  • He is financially responsible
  • He is a man of his word
  • He is a family man
  • He provides for those he loves

If you’d like to try this, start by listing out all your checklist requirements on a piece of paper. Then, go through each item and ask yourself why that quality is important to you. Try to replace more superficial qualities with values that are deeply important to you and your relationship.

Leave room for love

Whether you decide to date with a checklist, value list, or no list at all—it’s important to leave some room for love. While strict standards make it easier to find a partner who looks good on paper, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll feel a romantic connection with them. Love is found in the wiggle room—so remember to date with an open heart.

Freshening up your dating checklist is easier said than done. If your spring cleaning routine includes reevaluating your values, why not let a professional lend a helping hand? Our expert dating coaches support clients throughout all stages of their dating journeys. Just like Jessica, coaches help their clients with topics like identifying core values, how to attract quality partners, and so much more.

Coaching is one of the surest ways to reach your dating potential. If you want to find the right person and be the right person, too, contact us about coaching today.