On my Google+ page, I recently shared the following:
To attract a happy relationship, define what you want in a partner, tell the whole world, and then filter and select for matches.
It’s important not to waste too much time dealing with partial matches. Once someone has shared something about themselves that’s a mismatch for what you want, let go and move on quickly. Don’t try to force a mismatch to look like a match.
So for example, if you desire a partner who’s vegan, geeky, and openly affectionate and you’re talking to someone who says…
“I love a good steak.” … “You’ll be dining alone then, Cruella.”
“I never kiss on the first date.” … “I never date anyone I haven’t kissed. Try 18thcenturydating.com — might be more your speed.”
“Star Trek? I dunno, I’ve never seen it.” … “Then you’ve got some catching up to do. Come back — 1 year.”
If you can avoid getting bogged down with mismatches, you’ll prove to the universe that you’re ready for the good stuff. But if you settle for a partial match that isn’t what you actually want, the good stuff can’t get through, and so you’ll be stuck.
Life loves to throw partial matches your way to see if you’re strong enough to reject them and to hold out for a real match.
There were several comments on this. Bettina replied with the following (re-shared here with her permission):
Well, now you open a can of worms…. 😉
And while we’re on that subject and the can’s open perhaps you have a suggestion for me.
I have clearly defined what I want, the world knows, and still I don’t need to figure out to fiter because there’s nothing to filter. And that’s going on for 9 years now. And it sucks and I’ve had enough of it.
Just because I’m a single mom and plenty of my life has to be devoted to bringing up that little guy doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be without a date. Alas, something’s wrong with my attraction calibration or something and I have no clue what. I have worked through mountains to let go of past believes and baggage and what not, more than anybody I (personally) know did. I’m opening up, I work through issues, lots of friends, lots of activites and all that and still … I don’t even get a “maybe”.
Ok I’m not living in the world’s best place to find a suitable mate (outside Cape Town SA) but considering law of attraction that should not matter whatsoever and I am not feeling anything in terms of moving, not a bit. I’m quite happy here. So the pool is small, and yet there are males running around, I do see them every day. Just none of the eligible, suitable sort one could choose from.
Any advice (from anybody) appreciated. Am of the sort who dishes it out and can take it equally well, bring it on because I seriously want to change this status quo.
On another point of your post above … what if because I stubbornly think I never want to date someone that “….” never get to meet that person who would open up new doors? I’ve realised I’m not the best judge when it comes to figuring out what I actually want. It limits me, I don’t want to be limited.
I do want to feel energised and loved in a relationship. I want to feel appreciated and recognised, etc etc … I work more on the feeling side rather than the concrete. yes there are some non-negotiables (for example I couldn’t stand a smoker for the life of me) but other than that – should we be that precise outside non-negotiables?
Either way … thanks dear Steve Pavlina you always open doors and cans and I’m grateful for that. And at least if it wasn’t in the open world before now it definitely is … going to hit post comment now 😉
I asked Bettina if it would be okay to reply to her here in my blog since I know many others are experiencing challenges similar to what she’s facing, and she gracefully and courageously agreed. In addition to addressing her questions, I’ll also extend this to address a few other questions that I often receive on this topic.
Does the World Actually Know What You Want?
First she mentions that the world knows what she wants. Does it? Is this true?
I’m apparently in her world, at least via social media, but I don’t know what she wants in a partner. Maybe she didn’t tell me the details. Maybe she told me at some point and I forgot. But whatever the reason, I must admit that I don’t have a clear idea of what kind of partner she’s looking for. And so I’m unable to refer any potential matches to her even if I wanted to. If I stumbled upon the most perfect match for her, I wouldn’t be able to connect them because I don’t know enough to recognize a potential match.
Another issue is that she might tell me what she wants, but she might tell me in such a vague and fuzzy way that it could match on just about anyone, and so that also wouldn’t be enough to go on. If she wants a guy who’s nice, kind, friendly, and successful, I’m not going to be able to do much for her since those qualities are way too general. I’ll conclude that she doesn’t really know what she wants, and so I wouldn’t want to waste someone else’s time by trying to match them with her.
If others in her reality are in the same situation, they can’t help her very much either. And so she may receive a lot less social support for this desire than she would like. I don’t know if this is actually true for her, but it’s true for many others.
Statistically about 50% of our relationship partners come to us through our existing social network of friends, family, and co-workers. So a good place to begin is to make sure your social network is well-informed and capable of helping you get what you want.
You can reciprocate too, so don’t think of this as a selfish pursuit. Even if someone isn’t a match for you, ask them what they’re looking for, and offer to help them if you find a potential match for their desires. Playing matchmaker for others’ desires is a nice way to build some goodwill within your social network. It works wonders in business too.
Broadcasting Your Desires
I’ve been writing about Broadcasting Your Desires for years. And by this I mean really putting the word out there, not just to your closest friends. Be as open as you can about sharing what you want to experience. Make it easy for people to help you.
If I visit Bettina’s Google+ page, her self-description is mainly about her work. That’s fine if she’s looking for work clients, but at the time of this writing, there’s no mention of her desire for a relationship partner that I can see, nor any mention of what she wants in a partner. If this is an important desire for her, why not include it? Is that being too needy? I don’t think so. Don’t think of it as asking for a favor. Think of it as offering an invitation to the right person.
A good test to see if “the world” actually knows what you desire is to ask many of the people in your life what they think you want. Make your request very open-ended, such as by saying, “Out of curiosity, based on what you know about me, what do you think I want most in life right now… specifically?” See if they even mention wanting a relationship partner, and if so, what qualities they’re able to list. This is a nice way to test if your assumptions about what you think people know about you are accurate.
We have a tendency to be timid in asking for what we want, often due to some shame, fear, and guilt about our desires, but holding back in this way doesn’t serve us. Do your best to invite your desires openly — shamelessly, fearlessly, and guiltlessly. Make it easy for potential matches to recognize you as their potential match.
If you’re worried about how people will react if you ask for what you want, well that’s a hint and a half that you’re not yet congruent with your desires. Allow the people who will reject you for wanting what you want to go ahead and reject you. Let them excuse themselves from your reality if they can’t happily support you. This will create space for your real supporters to get closer.
There are many factors that come into play next after you know what you want and you’re able to share your desires openly and congruently. This is a place where many people get stuck. Those who try to align with the emotional aspects of their desires but little else aren’t really as well aligned as they think they are. The lack of alignment with Truth and Power drags down the Love alignment too. It’s hard to feel your way into a desire if the logical and action-based parts of the expectation aren’t up to par. If this goes on long enough, the Love alignment descends into frustration… and eventually into bitterness, resentment, and numbness. Trying to raise up the Love aspect by itself is an exercise in futility at that point. A holistic approach is needed since that’s where the synergy between Truth, Love, and Power alignment really shines.
Your expectations matter a great deal, and expectations go beyond feelings. Many people practice the emotional (Love) part of expecting, so they visualize their new partner and try to feel their way into this new reality. But they miss the other two sides of the triad of growth (Truth and Power).
One thing that throws people off is when they have a success or two based on using the manifesting power of Love alone. They intend what they want, and it shows up right away like magic. One view on this is that it’s just a random fluctuation — you got lucky those times. But another view that the universe was helping you understand the importance of Love alignment by making it easy for you in the beginning, and now it’s time to learn further lessons and achieve stronger alignments with Truth and Power as well, so the challenge increases.
Aligning with Truth
To be aligned with Truth in your expectations, you need some good logical reasons for expecting a match to occur. This is where a lot of people succumb to wishful thinking; they become irrational in their approach, hoping that something will change even though their strategy clearly isn’t producing the desired results.
If you think you’re living in a place where finding a good mate is unlikely, for instance, that absolutely does matter to the LoA. You may say it shouldn’t matter, but it still matters. The LoA is particularly good at rejecting attempts to should it into submission.
The LoA doesn’t magically ignore statistics. Statistics are part of the game of life, and during your human existence, you’ll be subjected to such wonderful laws. This can be very frustrating if you rail against it.
Consider that statistics can be your friend as well. Your expectations are an invitation to stretch — to put the odds on your side instead of resisting when the odds are against you.
So if you feel the place where you live isn’t rich in good matches, you’re free to go where there are good matches. That doesn’t necessarily require moving. You can still put the odds on your side, which can give you better logical reasons for finding a good match.
I have such a situation in Las Vegas, where I’ve lived for almost 10 years now. The odds of my finding a good relationship match by selecting randomly from the general population in this city aren’t very good, even if I’m emotionally aligned with what I desire. With a haphazard approach to socializing, I’ll expend a lot of time and energy meeting people with whom I have little in common. The result for me is social boredom.
So instead of pushing myself to meet people when the odds of a good match are so much against me, I cheat.
I put myself in situations where I can rationally expect to find a greater abundance of quality matches. One good place to find wonderful social matches is at personal growth workshops. I met my girlfriend Rachelle at CGW #1, and she’s from Canada, not Vegas. We’re both terrific matches for each other, but neither of us were finding quality matches in our own cities, so we put the odds on our side by looking outside our cities. I know that when I meet people at personal growth events, I have a much greater chance of meeting people I find interesting and fun to connect with. One reason I do a lot of public speaking is that it enriches my social life tremendously. I meet lots of interesting, growth-oriented people through those channels.
In this day and age, you aren’t limited to your local social pool. The whole world is open to you. If you think the good matches live somewhere else, then either go where they are, or invite lots of them to come to you by giving them compelling reasons to show up.
How far you have to extend yourself depends on what you want. How prevalent are your desired matches in the general population? If your desires are fairly easy to match, such that perhaps 1 in 50 people in your local community would be a suitable match for you, you can simply go out and meet people on the street. But what if you’re so selective that perhaps only 1 in 10,000 people would be a suitable match? Then meeting people at random is like finding a needle in a haystack. Those are bad odds. That’s essentially my situation.
What do those 1 in 10,000 people have in common? Are there places or situations where they might be more concentrated? Can you go to those places? Is there somewhere where lots of them will gather, such that your odds of finding a decent match could be reduced to better than 1 in 100?
If I want to make new vegan friends, I could try to approach people on the street and ask if they’re vegan, but vegans are only about 1/500th of the general population, so this will take lot of effort unless I get lucky. Or I could go to a local vegan meetup where about 4 out of 5 people may be vegan. And those attendees will likely know other vegans too that they can introduce me to. The latter approach saves a lot of time.
One of the reasons I like to host free meet-ups when I travel is to make it easier for like-minded people to meet each other. There’s no reason you can’t do something similar.
Aligning with Power
To be aligned with Power in your expectations requires taking action. If you take a lot of action, this will increase your expectation of eventually finding a quality match.
My preferred way of doing this is to make invitations. When I find potential matches, I invite those people to spend more time together. But I don’t do this randomly. I do it when I may expect a decent match.
If you’re doing a lot of inviting, but the people who show up aren’t good matches, then you may be aligned with Power, but then you need to get the application of your Power aligned with Truth. Notice what isn’t working, and stop it. Do something else that has a better shot of success.
Another problem that can happen here is self-delusion. People think they’re doing a lot of inviting, but they aren’t. Or they think that a few invites a month is a lot.
I know of one guy who set up 3 dates every night, spaced at 2 hours intervals, so he could meet a lot of different women and practice connecting with them in different ways. I think he even did this for months. If that’s a lot, then how close are you really to issuing a lot of invites?
Again, cheat when you can. I cheat liberally, and it pays off. How do I cheat? One way I do this is by modifying my professional life to enhance my social life.
I could sit at home blogging for months on end, but staying behind my computer isn’t a great way to meet like-minded people. I have to go out and meet people face to face. So I do a lot of speaking. I deliver workshops. I host meet-ups when I travel. And I further cheat by injecting personal examples from my own life into my writing and speaking. I openly share my interests.
People often gain a lot of value from this type of sharing, so it’s not done gratuitously, but part of my motivation for doing this is because it improves my social life. When I have a chance to share some part of myself openly, it makes it easy for people to determine if we might be a good match. Some speakers maintain a solid wall between their personal and professional lives. I don’t. In my life these aspects are interwoven. So when I speak or host meet-ups, it’s for personal reasons as much as for professional reasons.
Lately I’ve been speaking at a number of dating and relationships conferences. Professionally I do this because I know I can make a positive difference for people in those audiences. But I also do it because I meet some of the most interesting people at these events, so these are fun and lively social experiences as well.
This might sound like an over-the-top solution. It may even sound unfair. Easy for me to do this because I’m a speaker, right? But what if you’re not a speaker? What if you don’t have the opportunity to get in front of a lot of people, to share a part of yourself, and to meet lots of interesting people in one location? What’s stopping you from creating that opportunity? If you think that’s a potential path to success, why not take it? No one is stopping you.
If the safe, traditional methods don’t work for you, go non-traditional.
I love my solution to this otherwise challenging problem. I think it’s beautiful because it has so many rippling benefits, not just for me but for others as well.
Look at this from a subjective reality perspective. This is your reality. You can do whatever you want here. And that includes getting up on a stage in front of a crowd and saying into the microphone the kinds of experiences, partners, and life you most want to enjoy. Is that cheating? Perhaps. But it works. And it’s perfectly legal.
If your minimalist solutions aren’t working for you, try going maximalist for a while. What would be your version of an over-the-top solution to radically change your social and relationship life for the better? What kind of solution would put you face to face with dozens of quality matches on a regular basis?
If I can attract more conscious friends by doing several Conscious Growth Workshops and inviting people to come to my city from around the world, then why can’t you do something equally ludicrous? What’s stopping you from going big?
Again, if your low power solution isn’t working for you, what would a high power solution look like? Try it!
Understanding Your Desired Partner
It’s very helpful to deepen your understanding of your desired partner. Remember that this is a real human being, not a fictional character or an archetype.
What would a potential partner like about you? What would s/he find attractive about you?
When you give these questions some thought, you may realize that you have to modify what you’re asking for.
This is where a number of limiting beliefs can come up. For example, I know that many single Moms feel that it’s harder for a man to find them attractive because they have kids. Well, in a way that’s true. Some guys would prefer a woman without kids. But then you can’t be asking for that kind of man, nor should you try to deceive anyone about that. Instead you ought to be looking for a guy who loves kids and who’d be delighted to inherit some.
In other words, ask for the ideal piece that fits your particular puzzle. Don’t ask for a semi-adequate piece. Don’t ask for someone you’re willing to tolerate. Ask for what you’d love to have in your life. Ask for a match that excites you.
Then consider what is it about you that would excite your potential partner. Imagine that your desired partner is simultaneously asking for someone just like you specifically. Can you accept that you could be someone else’s ideal match, just as you are right now? If you can’t accept that, then either you must release those limiting beliefs, or you must take action to transform yourself into a more attractive person. Both approaches work.
For example, if you’re overweight, then you can either include as part of your desires that you want a partner who finds overweight people attractive (and such people definitely exist), but if that seems too strange for you or if you can’t accept that, then you’ll need to lose weight in order to feel deserving of such a partner. Alternatively, you can desire a partner who isn’t concerned about weight because other factors are much more important to him. But one way or the other, it’s important to bridge the gap between who you are right now and who you believe you must be in order for your desired partner to find you attractive. If you perceive a gap, then that’s an area where you’re still resisting this desire.
Declining Partial Matches
A final suggestion, which goes back to improving your alignment with Love, is to do your best to avoid settling for partial matches. This is one of the biggest traps when it comes to relationships.
One quality I really love about Rachelle is that she’s super affectionate. I can invite her to cuddle, kiss, make love, etc. and she never declines. She loves connecting through touch and affection so much that it would be an alien concept for her to say no to that. Even if we’re temporarily frustrated with each other for some reason, she still keeps the door open to connecting through touch, and she never closes that door. This kind of openness quickly melts away problems that may arise between us because we can mend any rough spots with a loving hug.
Now suppose some woman has many qualities I like, but she’s not very affectionate. Perhaps she’s had some abuse in her past and has a hard time trusting in that kind of connection with a man. Or maybe she just doesn’t like to connect in that particular way. Friendship-wise I can still be friends with her, but I would not want to get into a deeper intimate relationship her. She’s clearly not my type. Sharing affection openly and abundantly is too important to me, and I’m unwilling to sacrifice that desire.
When you encounter a partial match, it’s important not to get hung up on it. Let it go and move on. Hold out for what you actually want.
That said, it’s not the end of the world if you do succumb to a partial match for a while. It will be a learning experience for you. Making mistakes is okay. Just do your best not to make the same type of mistake twice.
What if you’re worried that your desires are unreasonable? Well, you can do a bit of research to determine how reasonable or unreasonable they are. Can you look up some statistics to see how common some of your requirements are? Have you ever met anyone who already matched on what you desire? How often do you meet such people? Are you sure they exist?
For example, is it unreasonable for me to limit myself to vegan relationship partners? Well, they’re about 1 in 500 among the general population as far as I can tell, but in some places, like California, they’re a lot more common. Fortunately there are lots of them in my reality. So holding out for a vegan partner isn’t too unreasonable. It makes it more challenging to find a good match, but it’s perfectly fine to limit my options in that way, especially since vegan women are more likely to prefer vegan men as well. I can be flexible on this requirement for friends and casual play partners since I do feel it’s unrealistic to require veganism from everyone in my life. But for a deep connection with a long-term intimate partner, she needs to be a committed vegan. Rachelle has been vegan for 11+ years, so that’s another area where we match very nicely.
If an otherwise interesting and attractive woman wanted to talk about experiencing a 3-person relationship with us, but she wasn’t vegan and didn’t share our values in this area, then that would be a partial match and an automatic decline. (And notice how I made it easy for such partial matches to not even bother asking. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time if I know they’re not going to be a good match.)
It may seem sensible to relax your desires in the hopes of creating more opportunities for a match. But you’re not actually creating more opportunities for a match by doing that. You’re merely openly the door to more time-wasting partial matches.
Are your desires really so unreasonable? Do you have good cause to believe that somewhere on this planet, there are people who could be excellent friends and relationship partners for you?
I know I can find quality matches, but not if I’m lazy about it. I need to look in the right places. I need to put the odds on my side instead of wasting years waiting for luck to happen. Rational action works. Passive waiting doesn’t.
Notice also that I cheated again. I injected more personal examples into this article, partly for demonstration reasons, but also to share something about my own desires with the world. I pointed out that I like women who are super affectionate and vegan. I reiterated that Rachelle and I are still open to exploring a 3-person connection with the right person. Are you equally shameless in sharing what you like?
When you begin working towards a fresh desire, feel free to start out fairly casually, and then keep refining your approach until you have what you want. Sometimes a casual approach works fine, but if years are passing and nothing is happening, that’s a hint that it’s time for stronger measures.
For instance, I really don’t know how likely it is for Rachelle and me to find a compatible third person who’d be interested in such an exploration with us. We’re getting pretty far from social norms here, so the available pool may be a tiny subset of the population. Even for our existing social circles, it may be quite a stretch to find a match for our various criteria. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. If a casual approach doesn’t work, and if the experience still appeals to us, we can surely devise ways to increase the odds of finding a match. How far we go depends on how important this experience is for both of us.
You may think that if you’re too specific, you’re going to limit your options too much. It’s wise to limit your options. There are too many options otherwise. Specifics can save you a lot of time. You can’t possibly sort though the billions of potential partners on this planet within your lifetime. So you need a way to narrow the search. And then you need an intelligent way to conduct that search. A computer can search through billions of options quickly. You can’t. But what you can do is keep refining your search process over time. You can learn where there are higher concentrations of potential matches. You can even create those higher concentrations yourself, such as by hosting meet-ups on a particular theme. Some may label that cheating, but it works.
Most importantly, stop doing what isn’t working. If you’ve spent a year or more on a particular approach and no good matches are coming up, try something else. Otherwise you’re just relying on luck, and luck may never come. The LoA doesn’t reward stubborn irrationality.
Meet the LoA halfway. Use that fancy brain of yours to apply some rational strategizing to this challenge. The LoA will not be offended.
This may seem like a hell of a lot of work. Perhaps it is. But when you’re cuddled up next to the yummiest of partners, and you hear “I love you” every day in whatever way you desire to receive it, I think you’ll agree that it’s worth all the personal development work to get there. 😉