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.

He’s a Shoo-In

“And she’ll say ‘no’ because of his shoes!!!”  The other night, I went out drinking with some of my married friends.  The conversation turned, as it inevitably does, to my singlehood.  They proclaim, as always, that my choosiness is holding me back.  My long-time friend, P, tells the group, as she’s fond of doing, that I will turn away from a potential paramour based solely on the style of his shoes, gasp!  The conversation never changes.


I am not anti-marriage.  I am, however, against subjugating myself to enter into a socially acceptable living arrangement in order to make everyone else comfortable.  “You need to lower your standards,” they tell me.  I wonder to myself, “How, exactly, does one go about doing that?”  Do you examine a potential mate and think, “I am slightly repulsed by you, but I will sleep with you anyway and pretend you are someone else?”  Do you listen to your mate’s banal banter and tune him out, deciding to extract your cerebral sustenance elsewhere?  Do you shove your hopes, dreams and principals in a dusty back closet so you don’t see the disparity?  How, exactly, do you settle without wanting to kill yourself?  I’m not looking for society’s idea of Mr. Perfect – just someone who is close to perfect  – for me.  I cannot settle. Whatever this is inside of me (my soul, my spirit, my beingness?) will not be squelched. 


And regarding the whole shoe thing, I admit it.  As odd as it sounds and although not scientific, it’s been a damn good compass throughout my dating years.  If you’re wearing tennis shoes that need to be pumped up or a pair of tassel-loafers, we will probably not “stand on the same ground” on more issues than just shoes. Deciding that perhaps P was right in her belief I’m being foolish, I once put my ‘shoe-dar” to the side in favor of overwhelming carnal desire.  He was clad in Greek fishermen shoes…with white socks.  How I was able to overlook them is astonishing to me – it was a yoga thing.  Needless to say, our coupling was a brief few weeks.  We’ve remained friends and we joke about his taste in footwear.  I do not hold my friends to the same shoe standards as my lovers. 


I am happy, fulfilled and full.  I don’t feel I’m missing much.  Of course, I can always want more – turn my “8” life into a “9” or “10”, but settling will not do that.