Before you can recognize your Mr. I Love You — the man who is good for you and makes you feel the way you want and deserve to feel — you have to be in touch with your needs and your wishes.
In Step 1 you spent time visualizing and getting to know your ideal man and ideal relationship. You’ve written about his character, beliefs, behavior, and maybe his physical attributes. You’ve also connected with how you want to feel when you’re with him.
Now, let’s tighten up your picture just a little bit. There’s an exercise I give my clients early on in our work together. Here’s the gist.
Step 2: Walk Down Memory Lane
Here’s what I want you to do:
- Make a list of past relationships that impacted your life in any way. (Generally these would be adult experiences, but not necessarily. My boyfriend at 15 had a huge impact on my dating throughout my adulthood.)
- Under that list, draw a line down the middle of the page. Label the left column “Things I Don’t Want.”
- In that column, list all the things you consider bad or lacking about the men and relationships. This means anything from “he had bad manners” to “he wouldn’t go to musical theater with me” to “he cheated on me.”
- Label the right column “Things I Want.”
- Turn each negative into a positive. For instance “he cheated on me” would become “100% fidelity.”
- Remove inconsequential items (Did it really bother you that much that the he didn’t take you to chick flicks?) and prioritize your list.
During this step of the exercise, it’s likely that you will learn about yourself, your choices, and your dating patterns. This is something my clients and I spend a lot of time with. It’s important and definitely worth your time.
Next, we’ll wrap it up with the final step: Back to Reality; Who is He, Really?