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Sharon Meers's picture

This week on KZSU’s talk show—“What Would Your Mother Say” a show that talks candidly about campus life at Stanford with young adults and mothers – we talked to two different authors (former Stanford grads) with conflicting opinions on how to pick your life partner.

Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him, The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, explained to the panel that women need to get real about finding Mr. Right. Women have unrealistic expectations of their perfect partner and these crazy idealizations (i.e. over 5’10’’ but under 6’0’’ with a head of wavy but not curly hair) often keep many great guys out of the gate from the get-go.

“Deal-breakers” and lists of what their dream guy should be like should be dumped—not the guy. Heck, as Gottlieb so kindly points out, “(we all become) Older, Overweight, and Bald anyways”. What we should do, Gottlieb recommends, is broaden our perspective and start looking for men with important qualities and similar shared values.

Conversely, Amalia McGibbon co-author of The Choice Effect: Love and Commitment in an Age of Too Many Options took a more circuitous approach to picking one’s partner—embracing the endless pool of choices. McGibbon noted the modern phenomenon that in this day in age, women have infinite possibilities as to how their life and life partner could be—“the world is our oyster”.

This choice effect has allowed women to “sidestep traditional time lines”, which McGibbon argued is not a bad thing. In fact, McGibbon commented, women should not feel like “ticking bombs” but rather should enjoy the wide array of choices that earlier generations of women did not have the pleasure of doing.

While it is fun to romanticize about finding Mr. Right and wonder if there are more than one Mr. Right’s out there, when does this analysis become paralysis? When do you wake and realize your lack of ability to decide--was in fact a decision?

Do we meet Mr. Right by:
a) Dumping our former dating criterion, making a new one and settling for Mr. Good Enough
b) Exercising our right to choose, explore and second guess our dating life because
we can in this day in age?

My view—a combination of A & B (sorry not on the menu)--these options should not be mutually exclusive. Doing a little homework and reflecting on what you and your ideal partner’s values and key qualities should share is the first step (hopefully this is where you dump the romantic comedy movie requirements).

Once this is done, absolutely take the time to “Shop till you drop” as we ladies know how to do so well. Enjoy the process with no sense of urgency. The best consumer is one with a lot of options!

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