Dating Exploration: Create Your Ideals List

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Dear Soft Hearts,

Okay so a little more about dating stuff. I wanted to share a little more about writing your ideal qualities for a partner down on paper. Here are a few go-tos for those looking for love hopefuls:

  1. Write or type out your favorite things. You can write out what you wished you had, but didn’t get from previous partners or even caregivers. For example, if you longed for hugs from a parent and still crave that touch you can put comforting, safe touch on your ideals list.
  2. Think of what you want right now and later. For example, if you don’t want something casual you can write that down. You can write out the specifics of wanting someone to date monogamously or marry or be in a relationship with and have possibilities of consensual non-monogamy.
  3. Resist the urge to think of what you can get or who is out there. Sometimes patients doing this exercise may feel an urge to think of who they’ve been with before and how they may not get more emotional availability this next time around. Rather than bring relational traumas into your list note and observe these trauma voices. You can soothe and tend to them, but they do not need to drive the bus of your decision making when it comes to the ideals you desire in your list.
  4. Now share it with a trusted soul, preferably a therapist or other healing providers. Share it with someone who can allow you to be curious and explore deeper. For example, if someone says they want respect or fidelity or something I’ll ask someone to outline what respect or fidelity means to them. It helps them dive deeper and define exactly what they desire. I also encourage them to add things to their list that they didn’t mention but did refer to in a round about way without saying it. For example, someone may describe romance and I’ll ask them, “do you crave someone to be romantic with?” This may not be something they felt they could call in for themselves but with a therapist to reflect that desire they can reveal even more qualities that might be ideal to them.

Paint the picture you desire so intently and deeply not because it’s a magical list and will come true. This is an ideals list to help you get to know your own desires that much more. It may even be a mirror for who you are or who you’re becoming!

With kindness,

Dr. Joharchi

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