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Wish Lists and Deal Breakers

February 9, 2011
Woman with checklist, clipboard

So, are you checking things off your list?

If you don’t know what you want out of life you’ll never get it — right? But as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for…for you will surely get it.”

And if you’re me you have a hard time deciding what you want because you’re a little afraid of how it will show up when you get it. But I do have a wish list. I’ve been compiling it for years. I think I started it in college. I know it started sort of as a prayer.

It’s a list of all the things I want in my future mate. I started it because I heard a story about a woman who started a similar list when she was young and basically, God fulfilled her wishes. I guess I figured He might do the same for me. I also figured it would be a good way to direct my energy while I was single.

Instead of wallowing in my singleness with a “woe is me” sort of attitude I was putting my trust in something outside myself and generating positive thoughts and energy around who my future mate would be.

But I think it may have gotten a little out of hand. It now has over 200 things on it. I haven’t looked at it lately and I haven’t added anything to it in years. Not physically anyway. In fact I don’t even know where it is. I have a few things in mind that I might wish for if I were to start adding to it again.

Most of them are positive attributes from some of the men I’ve dated that I’d like in my next fella. Like Daniel’s patience when I was being emotional. Or Blake’s incredible sexuality. Christopher’s good nature…and the fact that he took out the garbage for me.

But like I said, I haven’t actually added those to the list. In fact I have sort of abandoned the list. After it got to a certain length I started wondering if it was helpful or simply a hinderance. I mean could a guy like that really exist? Over 200 items is a lot of qualifications to try to meet — or even comprehend.

I sort of boiled the whole thing down to my equal. I’m looking for my equal. And maybe those 200 things would make someone my equal. Maybe they’re just a mirage. Maybe it was really a barrier. A wall around me instead of just a way to be positive. 

Of course I always kept in mind the idea that no one is perfect and thought of it as a WISH list. Rather than a list of qualifications that needed to be met. And I used to have a list of deal-breakers too. It only had about 5 things on it.

Both of these lists are examples of how vacillating is one of my superpowers. Sometimes I would think I was being too rigid and sometimes I would think I was selling myself short by not sticking to the lists more stringently.

At this point I’ve sort of given up on the deal-breakers. Even though there were only five I did start to feel like that was too rigid. Too limiting. And I also made the list a few years ago…and I’m such a different person now than I was then.

I haven’t completely given up on the idea of a wish list. But maybe I should chuck the old one and start over. What do you guys think? Are lists a good idea or should I be more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type pf gal?

And how about you: Do you have a wish list? A list of deal-breakers?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011 10:28 am

    I make an annual list of goals — under health, money, work, friends, home, spirit, travel — and then make a document for it, goals20111, in my computer. I know I probably won’t achieve all of them, (at least not in those 12 months) but it puts them in a place I can easily see them and remind myself what I DO really want — which is not to waste my entire life reacting or putting out brushfires.

    My dealbreakers are very, very clear to me: lying, laziness, manipulation, deception, cruelty, rigidity (emotional or intellectual), intolerance, narcissism, disloyalty/betrayal. Everyone does some of these some of the time, but anyone makes a habit of them, even one, isn’t someone I want anywhere in my life.


  2. February 9, 2011 4:42 pm

    I had a friend who actually made a l-o-n-g list of every single thing she wanted in a man and lo and behold, she got it. I was blown away. I never did that. I love your “I’m looking for my equal.” That’s a hugely powerful statement. That’s saying “I don’t need anyone to complete me (GAG) or make me happy (DOUBLE GAG) or be all the things I’m not (BEYOND GAG). To me it say, “I love myself, and I deserve to be with someone on par with me.” I like broadsideblog’s dealbreakers. We all have dealbreakers and we must honor them.


    • February 9, 2011 4:59 pm

      Thanks, Renee. So maybe I should stick with the list and jsut revise it. But really it does all boil down to wanting my equal. So maybe that’s the only thing I need on the list.


  3. February 10, 2011 11:24 am

    I used to have a list…I was so busy looking for someone with the attributes on my list that there was no way I could look for love. When I stopped looking, Poof!, there he was…you can’t search for love you have to let it find you!


    • February 10, 2011 11:27 am

      I dunno…I actually think some people do need to search. And the list was actually a way for me NOT to search.


  4. February 10, 2011 2:24 pm

    This is perhaps your best post to date. Let me encourage you to stick to your list of wants and have to haves as well as the deal breakers. Admittedly 200 is a lot of wishes. Most women don’t have a clue what they are looking for in a guy, and I ask them how will they know when they find mr right if they don’t have a set of qualifications?

    blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder


    • February 10, 2011 2:28 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement, coach. I may pare it down a bit. But I certainly haven’t chucked it.


      • February 10, 2011 2:33 pm

        And here you thought that I read your blog just to beat up on you. Not so.

        blessings on you and yours
        John Wilder


  5. February 10, 2011 3:10 pm

    Great post! I have one of those lists too, and these are some great ideas. I think your right, its important to know what we’re looking for. Thanks for this 🙂

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)


  6. February 10, 2011 6:58 pm

    I never have had a list, but after reading this I have started to think what would be on it if I did. I really think it would have a lot of Davids qualities on it. Motivated, funny, handsome, loves to travel…

    I do have one list that I love… My bucket list. I love to put things on it and even more I love to mark things off. I started it when I was going through some major changes in my life and it really helped me to focus on what I wanted for my future.


  7. Brianne permalink
    February 16, 2011 12:12 pm

    Hey, girl! Well, you’ve met my list. No joke, I created a list when I was making my “Who I ‘d like to meet” section of Myspace back when that was cool (YEARS ago…) and well, I ended up adding to it, taking some things off. And no joke, one day recently it hit me, he meets every single criteria. I actually asked him if he’d found me on myspace and read the list because he was just so right on! So, I say make a list that fits the you you are now. I never thought it was possible, but it happened, and you met him to know! 🙂


    • February 16, 2011 12:50 pm

      Alright! I guess I’ll stick with the list — everyone seems to think it’s a good idea. I guess I’ll be editing it soon. Maybe I’ll even post it on here for all of you to read. 😉

      Thanks, Bri!


  8. Roxy permalink
    April 25, 2011 1:38 pm

    After my last relationship, my counselor suggested I use a page of my journal to make a chart. Three columns. One column was ‘Things I must have in a relationship’, one column was ‘Things I would like in a relationship’ and the third was ‘Things I will not tolerate in a relationship’. The first column was the longest, followed by the middle, and then the third. The first column was the longest simply because it stated the most basic things for a solid foundation– honesty, fidelity, etc. Not really because I had so many detailed demands.

    At the end of the day, I think what’s more important than what you want in a relationship is keeping in touch with what you DON’T want. You’d be surprised what ends up falling into place when you keep your basics intact. Will I ever date another man who is not totally and completely faithful to me? Hell no. That is a MUST. Having THAT list is a very basic set of boundaries that you need and -deserve- to have.

    I looked at that list about 6 months into my current relationship, and the only thing that didn’t fit was that Austin smoked on occasion. He’s since quit. Looking at the list, it was literally like this boy dropped right out of the sky based on the things I needed. Do you need a list of 200? Probably not. But having a very basic list shows an establishment of self respect…and when you solidify that foundation, you’d be amazed how attractive you become. 🙂

    Good post, Crystal.


    • April 25, 2011 2:23 pm

      I always love a comment from you Roxy. So wise, so kind, so optimistic!

      I still haven’t looked at my old list. I can’t decide if I should start from scratch or revise it. But I do have items in mind for it.

      I MISS YOU!


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