Chemistry or Commitment?

“I like him…I like him a lot.”

I’ve been saying that often lately, when asked about the new guy.  It may not sound like starry-eyed gushing to your unacquainted ears, but, trust me, for me, that’s confessing much.

I’m no couch-jumping Tom Cruise.  My usual reaction on dating a new guy is something along the lines of, “We have fun together, but here’s a list of reasons why he’s not right for me.”  In anticipation of my gripes, my good friend, P, has taken to saying “What’s wrong with him” as soon as I tell her I’ve met somebody (and it completely irks me when she does so).

This week, I’ve been wondering, “WHY do I like him so much?”  I’m trying to decide if it’s merely the superficial – he’s the right age, hip, tattooed, a writer and great guitar player in a band – or it’s truly something more substantial.  I want to be able to say, “I like him because…” and have concrete, meaningful reasons. I don’t believe “he makes me feel good” is meaningful, by the way.

We’ve headed into month #3 and, as the pheromone and dopamine rush of new romance subsides, I want to see if there’s a deeper connection – if a friendship can be forged. Yes, I know it sounds silly to be discussing friendship after…well, after EVERYTHING that’s preceded it, but that’s the nature of most relationships today.  First we connect fueled by lust and chemicals and then try to form true bonds after we’ve shouted “oh god” in each other’s sweaty ear.  So, I feel like I’m at a crossroads of sorts – feeling that I Like him (capital L), and yet trying to decipher exactly why.

In March 2009, I posted a list of fifteen non-negotiable checklist items I would like to find in a potential mate.  I find myself returning to that list now.

1.  Attractive to me
2.  Intelligent
3.  Sense of Humor
4.  Positive Outlook/Zest for Life
5.  Passion for work or hobby
6.  Financially stable – not to take care of me, but enough to take care of himself
7.  Honest/Trustworthy
8.  Liberal
9.  Even Tempered
10. Similar Interests
11. Humble
12. Geographically Desirable
13. Chemistry
14.  Mutual Respect
15.  Love Me

Reviewing this list helps me clarify the “why” for him.  I think we’re strong on 10 of the points, while we’re still trying to figure out three points and two points definitely need work (of course, if I could answer “yes” to #15 so early on, I’d be scared).

So, why do I like him? He’s caring and loving to humans and animals. I haven’t seen him do it yet, but I know he’s a man that can cry.  As far as I know, he’s been honest and forthright with me. He’s humble and self-deprecating – even though I think he rocks. He’s even-tempered and emotionally stable; seems to be able to take daily setbacks in stride. We have similar beliefs and interests. He’s smart with a sense of humor, although I sometimes still struggle to understand it. I respect his determination in the face of his recent struggles. And, of course, the chemistry and attraction are definitely there!

Date night tomorrow.  I can’t wait.

The 80/20 Rule for a Potential Mate

Earlier this week, I was blog surfing and crashed upon a post concerning the 80/20 rule of relationships.   I wasn’t aware of this term.  Supposedly, we all have a “checklist” in our head of the characteristics of an ideal mate.  This post went on to say that we should be content with finding someone who possesses 80% of the criteria on our list.  We are foolish to look for 100%.  Apparently, many of us are caught up searching for that last 20% – finding that missing percentage in someone else and casting aside our current 80%-match mate for that other person. Ultimately, we are disappointed because this new person only fulfills 20% of our list.  It becomes a never-ending cycle.

 

Do we all really have that permanent checklist?  Yes, I’m sure I could arrive at a list today, but my list is going to be strongly influenced by my last relationship.  Fresh in my mind, I can rattle off exactly what I want and don’t want in my next one, but are they really my core ideal-mate non-negotiable items?

 

Let’s say I come up with ten items. Of those, how can I decide which two are negotiable?  If honesty is one of my ten (which it is) and I entangle with someone who has eight of the ten but isn’t honest, is the expectation that I am supposed to look the other way?  How does one do that? 

 

First, let me start with my list:

 

Ten Fifteen Things a Potential Mate Must Have (I couldn’t decide on just 10)

1.  Attractive to me

2.  Intelligent

3.  Sense of Humor

4.  Positive Outlook/Zest for Life

5.  Passion for work or hobby

6.  Financially stable – not to take care of me, but enough to take care of himself

7.  Honest/Trustworthy

8.  Liberal

9.  Even Tempered

10. Similar Interests

11. Humble

12. Geographically Desirable

13. Chemistry

14.  Mutual Respect

15.  Love Me

 

Next,  let me try to choose the three I could live happily without.