Romance on the road is not easy.
Sure, the random hookup or make out on the dance floor is fairly straightforward, but sometimes you want more connection. It seems like it would be simple: this totally hot person you just met loves adventure and rootless existence–just like you! Except you’ll both be headed to opposite sides of the country tomorrow. People you meet and hit it off with are gone in a matter days or–if you’re lucky–weeks.
As my fellow volunteers and I gathered for post-dinner chatter the other night, the topic of Top 10 Lists for potential partners came up. Specifically, two kinds of lists: Deal Breakers and Must-Have’s. Some answers overlapped (good chemistry in the sack is a must for all), some were completely off-the-wall (Deal Breaker: “If he’s ever been to The Cheesecake Factory.”) and some varied wildly (preferred body types and educational background), but we all know the ballpark kind of person we would welcome into our lives.
Throw traveling into the equation and that adds another set of intricacies. While it’s easy for the traveler to see that she’d rather enjoy some beach time to the fullest instead of responding to a What’sApp from a disgruntled lover, that same perspective can be lost when you’re in one place. Avoiding petty drama when in strange and wondrous surroundings is effortless, but how can you hold onto that vantage point when you return to your home base?
The very act of knowing the types of people you want to surround yourself with can spare you countless confusing text exchanges and whiskey hangovers, and actually draw them to you. It’s similar to intention-setting: if you’re clear about what you do and don’t want–in lovers, friends, even potential employers–you are less likely to entertain people and situations that are essentially wasting your time.
First and foremost: You deserve your perfect partner.
And your perfect friends, your perfect career, and your most lush, prolific existence. You are not trying to ‘catch’ anything, or convince anyone of your worthiness. You call the shots and have your choice of a world of people and places to interact with; choose the ones that uplift and ignite you. You also have the responsibility to those around you to be loving, kind, playful, incandescent and smoldering.
Be someone who has a world of possibility to offer, and you’ll attract people who will offer you the same. Now that we have that little detail out of the way: Keep in mind you can create standards for any situation and any relationship. Go ahead and try this with a dream job, apartment, vacation, way of eating or moving…even your standards with your own body. Go standards crazy. Here we go:
Know what you want…and why.
If you’re looking for a one night stand because you’re feeling powerful, sexual and on-the-prowl, go for it. If you’re looking for a one night stand in hopes that this surfer will come back to the States with you and meet your parents…reel it in. Conversely, be aware when you crave a real connection with someone that you hope will last beyond breakfast. Various types of romantic interactions affect us energetically; are you ready for the sparks to fly or do you want something more casual?
Even in the land of taut, water-sporting eye candy, I’m well aware that I’m ready for some real connection. It could last a few days, a few weeks, or longer, but I want to really vibe with someone, have good conversations, laugh, hang out, and enjoy each other’s company. A one night stand isn’t gonna do it for me these days, and knowing that about myself keeps those relationships at bay. However, if I wasn’t clear on this, I could put myself in the position of having a few flings that don’t serve me and make me feel like crap.
Know your emotional wants and needs, be familiar with them and proud of them. A good fling is no better or worse than a “serious” relationship; they both are totally appropriate at different times as long as you’re honest with yourself.
Create your lists
Find some quiet space for this. Maybe you’d like to journal or sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes first. Then begin writing down everything you want in a partner. Physically, mentally, emotionally–just write everything down unedited. It can range from green eyes to circus performer to Harvard-educated to ENTP. Just write.
Then re-read your list and begin thinking of the things you’d compromise on. Maybe she doesn’t have to like Mumford & Sons. Maybe it’s OK if his parents are divorced. There should be things that you will not compromise on, and as you pare your ideal partner’s attributed down, it’ll probably get pretty difficult and this is where the work begins.
Dig deep and explore why you want these things in a partner: do you want this because it’s a compliment to an intrinsic part of your personality? Would this attribute support you and what you need? Or it to make up for a short coming or insecurity of yours? Examine this and acknowledge where these standards are rooted.
Make it known
Place this list where you’ll see it often: on your bathroom mirror, your vision board, in the back of your journal, where ever. The more often you see it, the more it’ll serve as a reminder to keep that vibration going out into the ether. And when you meet someone with potential, pull out your list and compare them to it. If they don’t have what you’re looking for by a long shot, then onto the next.
There is a small caveat to this plan: if you get that stirring, that intuitive nudge that whispers “this is a next step,” then throw your list to the wind. But listen to your gut; you know when a person or situation is right for you, and also when you know it’ll be disastrous.
Stay tuned for a list of my Top 10 Must-Haves–my very own handy little guide to staying true to what lights and ignites me–not only in the realm of romance, but everything else I welcome into my life.