As I rummaged through my memories box not long ago, I stumbled upon a relic: a list my best friend and I scribbled about our 'Ideal Boyfriend' when we were just 12. She sought someone smart and towering with bright blue eyes, while I had dreams of dimples, long blonde hair, and a sense of humour. Ah, the superficial desires of preteen years, but at least I nailed the funny part.
More recently, a friend declared her New Year's resolution: finding a partner who was affluent, exuded class, and was well-travelled, well-read, healthy, had good manners and was not afraid to do housework. Oh, and was good looking… The list went on... and on. I found myself lost in a mental maze, trying to conjure an image of this amalgamation of qualities—perhaps an older version of Clark Kent or Sean Connery? Seriously?
These days, I am pleased to admit that, having gone through one divorce and a couple of long relationships before and since, my longing for dimples and long blonde hair has significantly waned.
Reflecting on my 16 years as a separation and divorce advisor, I've grown convinced that seeking specific traits isn't the path to finding the perfect partner.
In fact, I believe that instead of fixating on "what" your partner is (or should be) – blonde, educated, wealthy – it's crucial to focus on "who" they are. More importantly, it's critical that early on, you make an honest evaluation of how your partner makes you feel – and how you make them feel.
I call it the SEEK principle. It's a framework I've tested not only on countless clients navigating separation but with friends who are commencing new relationships and it seems to hold true.