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What’s in a relationship?


Many years ago I met a man who had very specific criteria for choosing a woman, things that rotated around helping him finish his PHD (can type fast, proofread, cook and clean, etc…). At the time, it felt very weird that someone would treat the search for a life partner the same as recruiting for a job. Twenty years later I question my initial reaction to this premise.

What is it that we want from a relationship, and can we be as specific about it as we are when recruiting potential employees for a job? When we are young and naive we base most of our life partner decisions on our emotions. We like the person, we are madly in love, so they must be the one. Then later we can be faced with unfulfillment, and unhappiness. We witness others who are happy and wonder why, then we blame each other, ourselves, luck, the stars and anything else we can blame. The problem typically is the build up of failed expectations.

What if we take a step back, forget about emotions for a second and focus on what we want from a relationship and what we are willing to give back so that we have the right expectations before we start. Can we actually recruit for a partner position in our life? Can we be as specific and serious about clarifying our expectations as we do with jobs? Would that make us happier or more successful in a relationship than the fairytale style of happily ever after?

I think it might!

If it is very important for you to appear like a successful young couple in the company christmas party, why not recruit for that? If you want to be dominant or submissive in bed, why not recruit for that? We all have our lists and requirements in our heads, yet few of us take it seriously. We believe it will magically happen when we meet “the one”. Then we are surprised when it doesn’t. Maybe online dating sites should switch to a “recruiting” style based on matching requirements, not just sexy photos and catchy profiles. In the long run, it might be way more important that you can hold a job and earn a living than being witty.

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