How to find him or her (this method works for Princess Charming, too)
I have been meaning to write this article for a long time. While consulting and coaching clients, we invariably start talking about more personal matters– complicated personal relationships tend to find their way to the top of the chart.
It made me think about my own experience, and helped me appreciate that I have never had to go through such a struggle, so I started wondering why… At first, I told myself that I was just very fortunate and that I most likely came into this world with a sort of built-in radar to naturally detect Prince Charmings. In reality, unbeknownst to me (at least on a conscious level), I had found the perfect method to find the perfect mate. It not only worked once, but twice. I could clearly see that I had made choices in life and that luck had very little to do with this, if at all. And if it did, this “luck” was clearly directed.
I took time to break down this method– these are some of the first conclusions I drew:
– I always believed deep down that I would meet the perfect person for me. I never had a single doubt about it.
– I really knew what qualities I was looking for in a partner.
– I also knew what I didn’t want, even with things that seemed trivial (like whether they smoked or not).
– Although some people urged me to bring down my expectations and standards, I couldn’t allow myself to settle for less than what I felt I deserved.
– I also understood very early on that the person who would share my life with me would have to love me for everything that I was: the good and the not-so-good! (I like to think of myself as “a work in progress.”)
– I always knew exactly the kind of relationship I wanted. I knew that this person would have to respect me— without respect there could be no relationship. I understood that from my parent’s dysfunctional relationship as a counter-example since there was absolutely no respect whatsoever between them.
– I had a pretty clear idea that we would have to be very alike in a lot of ways and totally different in others. It took me a few more years, though, to refine this and to understand on a conscious level the subconscious choices I made in each of my Prince Charmings.
– Pretty early on in life, I got that the love partner we choose to share our life with is one of our biggest teachers in life. This person plays a key role in our personal and our professional development.
– And also, something very important: I knew how I wanted to be really loved…
This is how, thanks to all of my original beliefs, I came to meet my first Prince Charming, who was and still is as charming as ever. He proved to me (at age 19) that love stories and fairy tales really do exist. Because of him, I learned that people evolve and grow— and that they do not always evolve in the same direction.
This does not take anything away from the fairy tale, his qualities, or our love story as we parted with an immense amount of love and respect for each other. Our divorce was as wonderful as was our marriage as it ended with a wonderful 10-day trip to Bali. By deciding to separate from that lovely Prince when I did, I made that second important choice in my love life: I took a bet that I could go the whole nine yards and get that 100 percent perfect relationship, where the first one only fulfilled 95 percent of my expectations.
It was a very big risk to leave someone I profoundly loved, but I did not want to live with regret, wondering if there was another level that could be reached in a relationship. I am glad I did as it turned out I was right. Fairy tale number two was even more intense, more magical, with an even better match to a person with whom I am really deeply committed to. Today, I know that it can last even longer than the first one did, since we are both growing and heading in the same direction.
I am really grateful, because I don’t think I could have found this out without having experienced my first fairy tale relationship and I am forever thankful to my first Prince Charming.
A few tips to start “programming” yourself to meet Mr. or Ms. RIGHT
(I’d like to invite you to approach this “maturation” process in a very conscious and structured way, and to take the time to WRITE YOUR ANSWERS DOWN to the questions I will ask; it is really important that you do so!)
Imagine if you approached your search for that ideal partner as you would programming your GPS to take you to a precise destination. Program your personal “Prince/Princess Charming Radar Detector” (PCRD) and please answer the questions below:
1) What values are the most important to you, generally speaking, in the people that you have chosen to surround yourself with (friends, colleagues etc…)?
2) What are the 10 most important qualities that your ideal partner should have? (No settling please.)
3) What are five (somewhat) negative traits you could be willing to accept without compromising yourself too much?
4) What are the negative things and values you COULD ABSOLUTELY NEVER ACCEPT in anyone? (What drives you completely crazy?)
5) What would the IDEAL relationship look like to you? (What would you do together? How often would it be? etc…)
6) Now that you have a clearer idea of the person that you are looking for, don’t settle for half of a Prince/Princess Charming. And now when you meet someone new, you have an objective list to check him/her against, so please do the work.
If you currently fancy someone– I’ll grant you that it is not very romantic at this stage– please check him or her against your list now. Be HONEST with yourself. If that person does not correspond exactly to your list, either accept that this person may not be right for you or adjust your list if need be, but for the right reasons— don’t compromise who you really are and your values. Don’t lie to yourself. It will catch up to you.
Write down your answers please! Thinking them does not suffice. When you meet someone, you don’t see them objectively because you are attracted to them— you will trick and fool yourself in making that person match your imaginary, flexible list if it is not written out. And if you do not set your answers down, it will be a bit like Cinderella’s Sister Syndrome: trying to squeeze her size 9 foot into the size 5 glass shoe. Don’t tailor the tuxedo or the evening gown to fit the person. Tailor it beforehand and see who fits the outfit of your design. If it is just a question of resizing a little, don’t worry. But if it requires more, you either have the wrong outfit or the wrong person.
7) Really believe that he or she exists, no matter what negative experiences you have had so far. Don’t make the “new ones” pay for the “old ones.”
8) Know yourself well! Know your qualities and your “not yet” qualities in order to be as authentic as you can be to find the person who will most match the real person that you are and not that social mask that you put on at times.
When I see love coaches “help” their clients by telling them how to dress, walk, and talk and who go as far as writing letters on behalf of their clients, my blood boils! Sure, it can’t hurt to improve your communication skills as long as it resembles you, but don’t transform yourself into someone that you are not. As soon as the social mask falls off, your partner will see the real you. Not only is it misleading but it takes a lot of effort to pretend to be someone you are not.
Your Prince/Princess Charming will love you for who you are— all of it! He or she exists, and they are looking to find exactly who you are already. No glitter, no filler! By not being yourself, you deprive yourself of the chance to find that special, right person who is out there also looking for you.
9) I am a strong believer that you should work on yourself, but not on false pretenses.
Work on yourself in therapy, for example, to identify how you self-sabotage, your limiting beliefs on men and women, and relationships in general in order not to replay family patterns or parental schemes. Or even to believe that you have made a choice that is the opposite model to your parents’ model, but is, in reality, the same one just disguised in a better costume… You need to build your choices about your dream partner on your own foundations.
10) Each and everyone one of us deserves to meet that right person. Give up the old way of thinking about relationships, the one that trapped your parents in unhappy marriages. Discover your own vision of things and adopt an updated version of what a relationship could be like.
The most important thing that really makes the difference between making the right choice or the wrong one: Work on your own self-esteem and self-confidence.
I am sorry to be the bearer of hard news. I mean every word with the very best of intentions to help you get what you want, but if you have been in bad relationships, if you never seem to get what you really want out of a relationship, or if you are being mistreated, you are making a choice. It was your choice to be with him/her to begin with; your choice to stay with them; and it is still your choice now to waste even one more second of your life settling for your situation, thinking it will change. To be clear, I believe that there are different levels of being mistreated, but it starts as simple as being disrespected by someone who doesn’t even say hello to you when they walk in through the door.
Personally I find this even truer if you have children. I have had friends who were in toxic relationships, men and women alike who kept telling me, “I am staying for my kids.” What kind of excuse is this? Are you really teaching your children a good model for what a relationship should look like? Would you wish the kind of a relationship you are in to be one for your children when they grow up? No matter what the problem is or the childhood your partner may have had to try to justify their current behavior, love does not hurt!
Prince/Princess Charming really does exist— I am living my second fairy tale and have been for the last 11 years. It is as magical as it was on day one. My husband is made of gold and I never, ever forget to tell him. And he does the same with me.
You don’t need to settle. Live the fairy tale relationship to the highest possible standard and to the fullest. It exists! Don’t get fooled by the frog disguised as a Prince wearing a suit too big for him, or by the evening gown that is too tight for her…
Severine is a trained psychotherapist and business coach practicing in France.