The Basic Rules of Dating: The Time Line (part 1)

If you want to attract a friend or special relationship into your life, one of the most effective ways to do this is to write down all the qualities that you’d like this person to have.

By Talane Miedaner
Updated: October 16, 2015
Dating after Divorce

Now that you’ve become irresistible and are attracting lots of potential mates, it’s time to make sure you choose the right partner. Ladies, let’s face it: if you want to have children, time is not on your side. I’ve personally experienced the inner sense of panic when you suddenly wonder if you might be too old to bear children and have no eligible man in sight, and I’ve also coached many high powered executive women who were so busy in their careers that they missed the boat on having children altogether. So whether you want children or you simply don’t want to waste time in a dead-end relationship, follow these simple guidelines.

Like Attracts Like

Although the cliché is that opposites attract, it is much more frequent that like attracts like. If you want to attract a friend or special relationship into your life, one of the most effective ways to do this is to write down all the qualities that you’d like this person to have. Are they financially secure, generous, loving, adventurous, intelligent, self-confident, good-looking, athletic? Write down every single quality you can think of.

Now go back through your list and be even more specific. The reason it is important to be specific is that making a list is a very powerful exercise and you might find that the universe delivers up exactly what you put on the list. For example, one of the qualities one of my clients had written on her list was “intelligent” and likes to read books. Well, for years she went out with a very intelligent man who read books, never mind that those were computer manuals! When she reviewed her list, she realized that she was actually hoping to find someone who liked to read and discuss literature, so she made that item a bit more specific. Another woman had written the heading, “My Ideal Husband,” above her list of characteristics and then wondered why she kept attracting married men (husbands).

Now that you have your detailed and specific list ready, go through and see which of those qualities you are missing in yourself—remember, like attracts like. Develop these qualities as soon as you can. When I was buried in credit card debt, I fantasized about meeting a Prince Charming who would be so in love with me that he wouldn’t even blink at the debt and would wipe it clean for me. Of course, he would be fabulously wealthy. Instead I ended up attracting and dating a man who had money, but was incredibly tight and even insisted on going dutch. Hardly my idea of Prince Charming! But I had to learn how to get myself out of the financial mess I had gotten myself into. After I paid off my debts and had plenty of savings, it was easy to attract extremely successful and very generous men. Now that I didn’t need their money, the men I dated always insisted on paying for dinner. So if you want to attract someone wealthy, the best way is to become wealthy yourself. If you want to attract someone who is adventurous, start having your own adventures today. Become the person you’d like to attract.

Weed Out the Unworthy

Refer to the list of characteristics that you’re looking for in a partner. This is a good list to have on hand so that when you find someone, you can check through your list and make sure you aren’t being blinded by love. Or conversely, you might not be terribly attracted at first and when you realize that he or she ticks off all your boxes, and then you know it is definitely worth spending more time with the person to get to know him or her to find out if the attraction grows with time.

Now that you have your rather extensive list, go through it and highlight your top ten requirements. These are the things that your partner absolutely MUST have or it is a deal breaker for you. Some examples include: generous of spirit, wants to have children, shares my faith or religion, is financially stable and responsible, has honesty and integrity, loves his work but isn’t a workaholic. Now make a list of the top ten things you can’t tolerate that your mate must NOT have, for example, no smoking, no children, no drugs, no tattoos, not anal retentively neat, not stingy.

Neil Clark Warren, the founder of the online dating service, has conducted enough research in working with couples to say with certainty that if you marry someone with even one item on the Must Not Have list, you will very likely end up divorced, so there is no point in even going there. This is why it is important to have a clearly written list of your criteria in hand before you start dating because love can be incredibly blinding and you might find yourself saying, “Oh, but he or she is so perfect in every other way, I can overlook this one thing.”

No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you should accept even one of the top ten Must Not Haves. The moment you discover one Must Not Have, move on immediately. Do not try to change your partner. Don’t kid yourself, you simply don’t have the time. And, even if he or she promises to change, once married, your partner will probably revert to his or her normal style anyway. People are more hard-wired to be the way they are than we realize. Keep looking and you will find someone who will match your top tens.

A colleague called me one day to let me know that he was engaged, no doubt hoping for my blessings. I was a bit hard on him because I knew he was a passionate man and that his fiancée was not at all interested in sex. I asked him how he was going to handle this very real and important difference in desire. He assured me that they were seeing the two best sex therapists in the area and working on this issue at the time and were confident they would resolve it. They married and sure enough, it continued to be a problem. Within two years, she left him for another man and he was devastated. If it is this much work in the beginning, you have to be prepared that it isn’t going to get better in the long run. If my colleague had listed sexual passion and desire as a Must Have, then he would have realized that no matter how many other boxes she ticked off, she wasn’t going to fulfill this key requirement for him. Or conversely, if he had written on his Must Not Have list “sexual frigidity,” that would have helped him see that this wasn’t going to work regardless of how many therapists they saw. Make your long list of criteria, but stick to your top tens like glue. If you stick to them, you won’t waste valuable time in a relationship that will inevitably go awry. Now take time to think carefully and make your lists:

Top Ten MUST Haves:


Top Ten Must NOT Haves:


Expand Your Circle of Contact

Most people have a fairly limited circle of contact. If you add up all the names of your family, friends, and acquaintances, it will probably be about two hundred people. This is pretty much the average. So, if you want to meet someone who is “one in a million” you had better get busy. If you are in your late thirties, you may have a fairly firmly established regular crowd of friends that you hang around with. And, if you still haven’t found your mate, then you need to do something to expand your contacts and get exposure to some different people.

John Gray mentions this in his now classic relationship book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. While I certainly gained a few valuable insights from Gray, I have to admit I disagree with him on one point. He suggests doing things you don’t like doing to find a mate. For example, go to a football game if you hate sports. And worse yet, if you are normally a late riser, get up early and walk the dog. I understand where he is coming from—he is encouraging you to expand your circle of contact. If you are a late sleeper and get up early to walk the dog you’ll bump into that morning riser up at 6:00 a.m. every day—someone you normally would not meet if you are still buried under the covers. This looks like a great idea on the surface, but then, if you do end up getting married, you’ll have to deal with the fact that your partner is bouncing out of bed and ready to start while you are just getting that second round of deep, lovely R.E.M. sleep. Not an insurmountable problem, but not ideal either. And, if you end up marrying the man you met at the football match, how can you complain when he is glued to the TV for every game of the season?

Why not do something you love or at least enjoy instead? Take up fly fishing, wine tasting, or golfing, or join a running club. You can try something new without trying something you don’t like. This way, when you do meet the right mate, you are much more likely to stick together if you have at least one top core value in common.

Cast a Lot of Pebbles

If you want to be irresistible you need to allow people and things to come to you. Pushing, pressing, arm-bending, seducing, convincing, and persuading may work, but they are not, I repeat, not attractive. It is easy to waste an awful lot of time and energy trying to guide the ripples when you’d be better off casting more pebbles and seeing which ripples find their way back to you. If you are looking for a great relationship, it is easier and more fun to try a lot of different things. Travel to places you’ve always thought would be interesting or fun. Experiment with many different ideas and options and don’t worry about it. Your job is to cast plenty of pebbles.

Go out with a lot of different people; don’t get wrapped up with just one man or a woman who seems pretty good. We are all looking for that one in a million person, but how many people have you actually gone out with? Thirty? That’s a long way from a million. You don’t have to go out with a million people, but it would certainly improve your odds if you saw a few more people.

If you are trying to “win over” a particular person, let him or her go. It probably isn’t worth it. Move on to the next and don’t waste your time. Either it is fun and effortless to create a new relationship or it’s not worth it. If you are working so hard to seduce someone, it probably won’t work out in the end anyway, so you might as well cut your losses and find someone else. This is not to say that if you already have a good relationship, it doesn’t take work to maintain it, but if you are struggling to make things work at the very start of a relationship, you can bet that the maintaining won’t be a cakewalk.

The Secret Law of Attraction

This article has been edited and excerpted from The Secret Law of Attraction with permission by McGraw Hill Publications, Inc. The Secret Law of Attraction, copyright © 2008, Talane Miedaner, the owner and founder of Talane Coaching Company, has gained international prominence as a life coach by guiding hundreds of clients to find wealth, success, and happiness.


Other articles from the book The Secret Law of Attraction:

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December 31, 2010

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