“The Bachelor” is back, and as I sat watching (outside and six feet apart) with my husband and our favorite Man Panelist, Chris G., we couldn’t help but begin to instantly see red flags flying everywhere!
In fact, the vast majority of dating advice centers around make sure that you can easily recognize red flags so that your Nike’s are already on should you need to run for the hills.
Here’s the problem.
As a result, we embark on a search for that perfect “One,” trained to rule people out by combing through personality traits big and small to make sure that each tiny one adds up to finding someone who is flawless. Underneath it all is the unconscious belief that if he is ‘flawless,’ then I will be emotionally safe and avoid being hurt, disappointment and loss.
Not only is that not true, but you end up ruling out great guys that could have been perfect for you.
The truth is, It’s time to take off the armor and be intentional in choosing a man who is your equal. The important thing we forget is that everyone is human, and while it’s important to be aware of the qualities and relationship dynamic habits that simply will not mesh with yours, unnecessarily focusing on flaws, also known as ‘ruling him out,’ is the antithesis of loving unconditionally and can make it difficult for others to love you.
In order to train yourself to be more open-minded, be discerning without being picky, and open yourself up to true love with the right guy for you, here are three simple guidelines to help determine if the flaw you’re examining is a deal breaker or no big deal…
1. It Directly Conflicts With Your Values
Dump “the list!” If you’re ready to look for serious love, you must have a clear and solid grasp on the values most important to you and what you would expect to be reflected in a life partner. Remember, values are not characteristics. For example, “smart” or “tall” is a characteristic. “Curious” or “Adventure” is a value. Get clear on five values that you want your partner to share with you. For example, if you value health or fitness or a certain eating plan, requiring he eat that exact way or have a six pack may end up putting you in the picky zone. Instead, focus on what it would be like to both share an overall value on health knowing that the behaviors he has might differ than yours over time.
How to tell: If your man’s aversion to religion clashes with your religious upbringing and plans to continue that practice, what could be considered a minor flaw in one relationship becomes a deal breaker in yours.
2. It’s Affecting Other Aspects of Your Relationship
A flaw will be nothing more than a teeny tiny fly in the ointment that is your relationship. A deal breaker could start out as an undesirable quality in the early stages of your relationship, but will manifest itself in more serious ways. For example, if he leaves things to the last minute or doesn’t pay attention to details, decide if one of the values he has, for example, ‘learning and growing as a person,’ could be something you leverage to work through those behaviors. Over time, a man who wants to learn and grow, will take steps to make adjustments and improve in those areas. Remember, according to the Gottman Institute, one of the foremost research organizations that focuses on what creates happy and fulfilling relationships, 69 percent of HAPPY couples have challenges that are perpetual. Distinguishing between which are the most important will be crucial to your ability to rule in versus always ruling out.
How to tell: Even though partiers and non-partiers can easily co-exist, nocturnal habits that influence your level of trust and ultimately leave you feeling insecure about the relationship give your concern legitimate weight.
3. It’s Detrimental to the Future of Your Relationship
Ripple effects aren’t just limited to the present moment. A flaw that can be overlooked won’t seriously affect the future of your relationship, but a deal breaker will make a future with this person nearly impossible. For example, does he not value family but you have three kids that require time and attention? Does he avoid difficult conversations and avoid therapy or a workshop like the plague, while you are committed to always working on yourself and your relationships? Getting clear on how different values will undermine your ability to create shared dreams is important to identifying whether or not it’s a deal breaker or just part of the pesky sixty nine percent.
How to tell: If your fella enjoys a couch potato Sunday here and there, his lazy habits can be forgiven and even endearing. But if he’s constantly glued to the TV to the point where his job and ability to provide for you and your future family come into question, you have a valid problem.
Remember, looking for a partner who is “flawless” is a huge mistake that high-quality women make when looking for a high-quality guy. It will give you a sense of feeling in control but it will also leave you perpetually single. Instead, be open to evaluating if it’s just a flaw or if it’s an actual deal breaker, and you’ll stop missing out on opportunities with quality guys who could be a perfect fit for you.