Must Love Dogs: Throw Away Your Checklist and Meet Mr. Right

Many of us are taught at a young age that keeping a checklist will help us to remember things, stay organized, and accomplish our goals. It's no wonder that when it comes to our love lives, we carry over the same philosophy as we search for a soul-mate. He must be rich, good-looking, and successful. He can't drink coffee, wear baseball caps, or listen to rock music. This type of criteria often makes us lose sight of what's important - finding a happy and healthy relationship - because we are so focused on making sure that our guy meets every bullet point on our list.

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Trust me, I know the dangers of a checklist. It controlled far too many decisions that I made in my relationships. It wasn't until I was approaching 38 and decided to throw my list of non-deal-breakers away that I met my now-husband. The funny thing is that I had gone on a date with him three years prior, and although he was a nice guy, I immediately placed him in the "not my type, not on my list" category. When he emailed me out of the blue three years later to say "hello" and ask me out again, I had opened my mind to dating outside of my type. Well, good thing that I did because we had an amazing time on our (second) first date, and nine weeks later, he proposed. Little did I know, that I didn't really know what my type would actually be until I met him.

Below are five reasons why your checklist could be holding you back from love:

1. You miss out on great opportunities. If you're too obsessive about every little detail - things like his height, hair color, or favorite sport - you may miss out on opportunities with great guys. Instead, make sure that your dating criteria is realistic. "Sometimes, it comes down to getting to know someone before you make a judgment," explains Stef Safran, Chicago matchmaker and owner of Stef and the City. "After all, what if you were one inch shorter than someone's checklist?"

2. You forget to focus on what you can change: yourself. If you're so worried about the qualities of potential partners, you may stop improving yourself, eventually becoming someone who won't attract anyone , much less a partner who fits your checklist. "Too much focus on your perfection in a guy will kill any woman's ability to show up authentically," explains Lone Morch, author, photographer and founder of Lolo's Boudoir. "Focus on liking yourself, being comfortable in your skin, knowing what you want in life. Then, relax and let life do it's magic."

3. You're too wrapped up in the present to think about the future. Instead of creating a checklist for Mr. Right Now, think about what type of guy you want to be with for the rest of your life. Consider this advice from Talia Goldstein, professional matchmaker and founder of Three Day Rule: "If you insist on a list, then you should choose five things that truly are going to matter in thirty years. For example, you'll want a man who is supportive, loyal, caring, stable and smart." If you want a relationship, consider your future.

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4. Your standards are too inflated. It's no surprise that women have very rigid requirements when it comes to relationships; what may be a surprise is that they often can't articulate why a certain quality is essential in a man. Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and founder of Consum-mate, says, "Our culture puts so much emphasis on looks, charisma, and success that women often set the bar ridiculously high. This good-enough guy who would be perfect for them gets away - and is scooped up by a savvy woman who knows better."

5. You're using your checklist for the wrong reasons. You may be using your list as a shield, a way to protect yourself from heartache or an excuse, a way to avoid dating all together. According to Goldstein, "the faster you ditch the long list, the quicker you will find a great match." Her clients who threw away their checklists are the ones who ended up in relationships. Take a cue from them and open yourself up to love!

Lori is the Executive Editor of CupidsPulse.com, a first-of-its-kind website that takes the latest celebrity news and repackages it to help singles and couples navigate their love lives. She is a sought after relationship and entertainment expert who has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Chicago-Tribune, Working Mother, Woman's Day, Redbook, Parenting, and on Fox News, The Suze Orman Show, WebMD, Match.com, JDate, YourTango, and more. She's appeared in two books, 'No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power' by feminist icon Gloria Feldt and 'Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband)' by Andrea Syrtash. Using her knowledge of the entertainment industry and PR background, Lori launched CupidsPulse.com with the mission of bringing real-world perspective to the overly fantasized celebrity relationship stories saturating the news. Today, CupidsPulse.com has more than one million unique visitors per month.