Finding Mr. Right: Defining What You Really Need for a Relationship to Work

By Josie Brown and Martin Brown

datecriteriaWishing for a great relationship is one thing, but recognizing it is something totally different. To find the right man, you first need to have a defined idea of what you’re looking for.

In other words, a criteria list or “what I need in a man.”

If you allow your emotions to choose the criteria for your mate, you’ll end up with someone who will satisfy you in the short term but who may not be right for you in the long run. The same can be said for his feelings for you. If he chooses you to scratch an emotional itch, say, his ego, he may not feel the same about you after you’ve scratched it.

So, how will you know whether you’re reacting to an emotion such as fear, anger, or hurt as opposed to defining a need? The big hint: emotional reactions are impulsive, whereas a defined need is based on true consideration.

Here are some examples of the right criteria for relationships:

Emotional reaction: “He must make lots of money.”

Why you feel this way: you’ve been taught by your parents that money is a priority, or you’ve lived without good cash flow and you’ve convinced yourself that you’d rather be with any guy who has it[md]as opposed to a great one whose wallet is as empty as your own.

Why it shouldn’t define the relationship: just because a man is good at making money doesn’t mean that he is a great or kind person or that he shares his good fortune with his loved ones.

Defined need: “He must take his responsibilities seriously.”

How you’ve reached this decision: you’re also adamant about reaching your goals, and you seek a mate who understands and appreciates that.

Why it works in the long run: if both of you are of like minds in this regard, you’ll work in tandem to create a financially secure and emotionally sound life together.

Emotional reaction: “He must enjoy a particular type of music, be into a particular hobby, or be a fan of a particular team.”

Why you feel this way: you feel these things define you and therefore should define him as well.

Why it shouldn’t define the relationship: one particular factor or interest should never be the sole consideration for this very important life decision. Interests are easily cultivated or changed, and differing interests aren’t what defines his character. Finding a loving and devoted mate is far more important.

Defined need: “He must have the same moral and ethical outlook as me.”

How you’ve reached this decision: you’ve dated your fair share of selfish creeps regardless of their particular interests. You’ve made up your mind that the right guy for you won’t lie, cheat, steal, or be cruel to others.

Why it works in the long run: in love, you must focus on the big picture.

Emotional reaction: “He has to be able to say, “I love you.”

Why you feel this way: your past experience was with men who could never commit, let alone say, “I love you” or demonstrate it with random acts of passion.

Why it shouldn’t define the relationship: love is demonstrated in many ways that go beyond the phrase, “I love you,” let alone flowers and candy hearts. Men learn the language of romance over time. That’s why his true actions speak louder than his words.

Defined need: “He must be passionate about us.”

How you’ve reached this decision: you’ve been in too many relationships where a man’s feelings about you were half-hearted. He said few words and wasn’t passionate in the least.

Why it works in the long run: to have a chance at a lifetime of love, you must be involved with someone who is as vested in that concept as you[md]and shows it with kisses, cuddling, hugging, hand-holding, and caresses (as well as sex).

Emotional reaction: “The sex has got to be great.”

Why you feel this way: past lovers have left you dissatisfied. They’ve been more into pleasing themselves, or the sex was the only thing you had in common[md]but he was gone shortly after.

Why it shouldn’t define the relationship: yes, sex is a very important component of love, but there is more to love than sex. There is also passion and desire, which are demonstrated both in and out of bed.

Defined need: “He must find me sexy.”

How you’ve reached this decision: it takes two to have great sex. If he’s turned on by you, it’ll show in the bedroom.

Why it works in the long run: a man who desires you will always be in love with you as well as love you.



Finding-Mr-Right-Banner-AdExcerpted from THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO FINDING MR. RIGHT, the perfect self-help manual for your BFF (…okay, and for you, too). Authors Martin Brown and Josie Brown are’s Health and Relationships channel editors, respectively.

Josie is also the author of two novels: IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED, and TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES. Look for her third novel The DILF, in bookstores Summer 2010.


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