Why You Shouldn’t Always Date Your ‘Dream Partner’

You’d be lying if you said that you didn’t have an ideal “type” when it comes to dating.

If it were up to me, every guy I date would be tall, dark, classically handsome (but with a beard), artistic, emotionally available, intellectual, successful, charming, funny, adventurous, and passionate. An ability to play the guitar is an added bonus. Of course, I could go on. For example, it would help if he had sisters, rode a motorcycle, and gave a great massage.

But the thing is, if I ever met the “man of my dreams” in real life, I would probably walk the other direction – even if he checked off all of my ‘requirements’.

Especially if your dating life leaves a little to be desired, meeting that person who checks off all the boxes seems like a dream come true. It’s exciting and it’s blissful. So you put them on a pedestal, focusing on all those check marks instead of the actual person that they are. But the danger is that you’re too preoccupied with all the boxes they check off to recognize that the connection between the two of you is lacking, or that you’re actually not compatible in the long run.

It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of someone; it happens to the best of us.

Falling for the idea of someone can often lead to one of the worst mistakes you can make when it comes to dating (I speak from experience): rushing in. Sure, diving head first into a lust-filled relationship is exciting, passionate, and refreshing. But the most sustainable relationships develop slow and steadily.

If you put the person on a pedestal from the beginning, then you’re in for a major wake-up call when the shine wears off and their habits, nuances and less-than-ideal qualities inevitably begin to emerge once real-life sets in and the blissful honeymoon phase fades.

When this happens, you have only one way to go: downhill.

If you convince yourself that you’ve met the “perfect partner,” your expectations of that person may also be a lot higher than they should be. Not only do you think they can do no wrong, you expect them to do no wrong. That’s why any unfavourable behaviour on their part is exceptionally shocking and potentially hurtful. Though it’s often subconscious, you expect them to be perfect and to live up to the idealized version of them you’ve constructed in your mind.

But perfect doesn’t exist (even if they’re hot, bearded, and play the guitar).

Instead of searching for characteristics, seek connections. The person you end up with should love you for who you are in all of your good, bad, and ugly glory. Perceived ‘flaws’ should be celebrated; they’re what make us human. They are what make us real. And the only way to truly connect with another person on a deep level is grounded in this realness. Otherwise, it’s superficial.

If you’re in the market for a fling, by all means arm yourself with that list and check off the boxes if you can. But if you’re looking for something deeper, don’t view people like your next new car, assessing all the perks and features.

If you need more inspiration, check out these essential characteristics of the one you should marry.