Sunday, February 13, 2005


Looking for love?
Get real

Couples often have unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships. We keep looking and hold onto hope that someone will meet 100 percent of our expectations, from emotional to financial.

Divorce rates have skyrocketed as people's expectations become greater, because most can't accept the reality that experts know all too well -- that it is nearly impossible to find someone who fits our description of the "perfect mate." People come with both good qualities and imperfections.

"Nine out of 10 people are looking for the perfect person who just doesn't exist," said Dee Dee DeSoto, owner of Party of Six Dinner Dates.

Most people know what they don't want, but aren't quite sure what they are looking for, she said. "You can't attract what you have not yet defined."

She makes the distinction that men are easier to please than women.

"One thing guys don't normally compromise on is looks. It's more surface stuff," said DeSoto. "Even if they are Homer Simpson types with pot bellies, they still want a beautiful girl on their arm."

ALANA BEYER, of It's Just Lunch, said that 79 percent of men on a first date can decide within 15 minutes whether or not they want to see a woman again, whereas 64 percent of women take an hour to determine whether they want to see a man again.

The good news for less than model types, is that over time, men may see a woman's inner beauty.

"Initially, looks are attractive," Beyer said. But as time passes, she said, they want someone who is happy and enjoys life. "Someone who is passionate, intelligent and confident," she said.

When two women get into an argument, one or both women will apologize, said DeSoto. Men can't seem to do that.

"If we are smart people, we learn over the years," DeSoto said. "Men are so beautiful when they put their ego away."

People definitely need to keep an open mind when seeking a mate, said Beyer. "Many people take dating too seriously. Dating is supposed to be fun. It's important to keep dating light and casual, especially in the beginning."

For those who are searching, DeSoto suggests starting by writing a list of qualities you want in a prospective mate.

"Be absolutely honest about what you want. Then cut the list in half and admit that it was unrealistic," she said. "Sometimes expectations are impossible."

Focus on serious core values, the qualities that are most important and on which you are unwilling to compromise.

DeSoto said that women over 50 years old have the most unrealistic lists because they are most set in their ways. And men who are 50 to 60 years old still want to date women half their age, which DeSoto says is "totally unrealistic."

In the end, you're best off focusing on friendship that may blossom into something more.

"The key to successful dating is to focus on enjoyment and friendship," said Beyer. "Date with the intention of making new friends rather than expecting to meet your life partner."

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