When working with matchmaking clients, I always take time to go over what they are looking for in a match.

Yes, I need to know what they are looking for in a partner, but I’m also looking for something deeper. What they describe to me helps me get a clearer sense of whether or not they are going to have success working with a matchmaker.

If they focus on character traits, how that person treats them, and how they want to feel with their partner, I consider that a sign that they are really in the place for a relationship.

On the other hand, if they focus on attributes alone, I often get the sense that what they’re looking for is an accessory, not a life partner.

I want you to take a minute to write down what it is you are looking for in a partner. Really give it some thought and make a list. Be honest. Do not read on until you have your list.

Ok, so now that you have your list, feel free to read the examples below. I made them up, but honestly they aren’t too far off from what I hear everyday.

Client one:

“I’m looking for someone who I feel safe and comfortable around. I want someone who is growth oriented, supportive of my career, and looking for a real relationship. It’s important to me that he is financially stable. I’m Christian, so I would like someone who respects that and has similar values, but his actual faith doesn’t matter too much, but I will be putting up a Christmas tree! I’m passionate about travel, so it would be nice if they could share that with me, but at the end of the day, how I feel when I’m with them is more important.”

Client two says:

I need someone who makes 150k a year, at least. I live a certain lifestyle and he needs to be able to keep up. I fly first class and it’s embarrassing for me if I’m upfront and my boyfriend is in coach. I’m really spiritual. I do yoga everyday and I’m a vegetarian. I need him to be on my same level from a spiritual and dietary perspective. I do NOT want to date someone who is religious in any way, I wouldn’t be able to respect him for being so brainwashed. He needs to be spiritual. I’m really into the art and culture scene. When there is a gallery opening, my friends expect me to be there. It would be hard for me to date a guy who prefers sports to art because I need him to come to events with me. And trust me, I am not going to a football game. He must be caucasian, college educated (grad school preferred), and work out every week. I travel a lot. It’s a passion of mine. If he hasn’t been on at least one international trip this year, that’s a dealbreaker. And the Bahamas don’t count.”

So take a moment to mull these two lists over. Which of these two people do you think is setting themselves up for success? Which is more likely to be in a relationship three months from now?

Now read over your list again. Compare them. Which client do you sound more like?

Client one focused on character traits she is looking for. Yes, she does have preferences, like Christianity and a passion for travel, but ultimately her focus is on how this person makes her feel. Does this person support her? Does he want the same things? While it would be great to meet all of her preferences, her ultimate goal is finding someone who is right for her IRL, not someone who is right for her on paper.

Client two is looking for attributes. She doesn’t mention how this person makes her feel, if he’s looking for the same things, what he brings to the relationship emotionally. She’s interested in external aspects and status. She also indicates that she is not willing to compromise in the relationship by sharing some of her partner’s interests. She is looking to 3-D print a perfect boyfriend, which indicates to me that she lacks the emotional maturity for a functional adult relationship.

Client one wants a partner. Client two wants an accessory. In Client one’s relationship, there is room for growth. Client two needs to control and control sucks all of the space out of a relationship (not to mention the sex).  Where do you fall on this spectrum?

In today’s dating paradigm, it’s really easy to fixate on attributes, not character. In a dating app profile, all you see are attributes. You get obsessed with finding someone who looks exactly like what you think you want. You find yourself ruling out potentially great partners because they don’t fit your fantasy, but without learning their whole story.

Fantasizing is a solitary activity. If you want a fantasy partner, you can have one. They’ll live in your brain. You’ll spend Friday nights alone masturbating and wondering why your magical, perfect person hasn’t appeared. And by the way, your fantasy comes mostly from your thinking mind, ruling out what you really need deep down in your soul, but that’s another story.

Yes, I get it. Attraction is important. Sex is important. But attraction is dynamic and evolving. You can’t possibly decide if you are attracted to someone based on a picture, whether it’s on a dating app or in your head.

If you want a partner, then forget the fantasy. There are no perfect humans. You need to do two things. One, assess whether you are capable of being a good partner. And two, look over your list and make sure you are looking for a partner of character, not an accessory.