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Are you ‘relationshopping’ or relationshipping?

November 06, 20232 min read

Do you make a grocery list before you head to the store to fill your fridge? I know I do!Now, how about having a list of qualities you’re searching for in a potential partner? I used to do that too. If you do, it might seem like you know what you want, right?

Well, it’s not quite that simple.

When we approach dating with a checklist of qualities, it’s almost like we’re on a mission to tick off these boxes before we consider the connection as potentially valuable. And what happens when those boxes don’t get checked? We might end up feeling disappointed and ready to dismiss the connection.

In a way, we’re “relationshopping,” treating relationships much like we shop for groceries. You could argue that knowing what you want and need in a partner is absolutely crucial. And the short answer is yes, it is crucial. However the approach of evaluating connections before giving them a real chance can be flawed if we come armed with a checklist rather than an open mind and genuine curiosity.

When you meet someone and you’re open to genuinely getting to know them instead of trying to fit them into a preconceived mold, you might discover something that pleasantly surprises you. Many of us say things like, “Oh, my type is this and that.” But instead of fixating on specific qualities, try focusing on experiencing the person and how they make you feel.

For example, as a woman, you might think you only want to date a guy taller than 6 feet because it’s aesthetically pleasing. But what if you meet someone who makes you laugh, engages in deep and meaningful conversations, and brings joy and intellectual connection into your life, but he is just few inches taller than you? You may not wear high heels that often, but he makes you happy.

As a man, you might have convinced yourself that you’re attracted only to blondes with short haircuts and fair skin until you meet a brunette with long hair, who makes you feel like a superhero with her femininity and healthy submission.

You get the idea, right? Going on a date with your core values in mind is essential, but having an exhaustive checklist can lead to prolonged singlehood.

Focus on experiencing and discovering the other person, paying attention to how they make you feel. Allow yourself to step away from societal norms, your established standards, and your beliefs about dating. Give it your all, at least for a little while.

In exchange for this genuine enthusiasm, the universe may lead you to a compatible match much faster than if you were going on dates with the preconceived notion of checking off qualities on your “relationshopping” list. Instead, choose to engage in real “relationshipping”—connecting with another person through an open mind, deep conversations, and genuine curiosity.

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Irena Polyakova

Irena, a passionate Life and Relationship Coach on a mission to transform the statistics on loneliness. With a deep-rooted desire to help people find love within themselves and in a healthy relationship, she draws upon her own experiences and a wealth of knowledge acquired through rigorous academic and life education.

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