Advice for finding the ideal partner

Someone looking for a new dating partner asked me recently if I knew any single women who reminded me of me, because he was pretty sure he would like them.

It's a flattering question, but it also gave me pause, because the truth is, this person doesn't actually know me all that well. Sure, he's seen the parts of me that I share through my writing and conversations, but that's an incomplete picture.

Which aspect of me are you looking to replicate? the smart-alec in me wondered. Is it my critical, judgmental nature? My self-centered, over-inflated ego? My impatience with my children? The way I take my spouse for granted?

I doubt those were the qualities he had in mind.

Still, I took his question seriously and have been enjoying thinking about what to say, not just to him, but to anyone who might have an idealized image of a person they want to meet.

My advice is this: First, think about what you really like about the person you imagine. Specifically, how do you picture yourself feeling around them? Would they make you feel alive? Attractive? Valuable? Understood?

Then consider that you don't actually need another person in order to feel that way.

Want to feel alive? Go try new things that stretch you out of your comfort zone.

Want to feel attractive? Practice smiling more, and noticing what you find attractive, both about yourself and others.

Want to feel valuable? Think about what you truly value, and then do something in accordance with those values.

Want to feel understood? Spend some time with a journal, or just talking to yourself. Ask yourself questions you wish someone else would ask you, then listen patiently to what you have to say without judging or condemning yourself.

I guarantee that taking responsibility for your own happiness and well-being will make you more attractive to the kind of person you want to meet.

Not only that, it is also good practice for being in a relationship, where conflict and disappointment are inevitable. Because it turns out that even the most ideal partners end up being quite imperfect.