So many times people ask how they will know when they have met “the right person,” if they are in love.  Welcome to the Love Shopping List.  There will be those critics who complain that the intangible, indefinable subject of poets and artists called love has been reduced to a simple list, thereby taking the spontaneity out of courtship.  The list is only intended to help an individual quantify feelings, and should not, I repeat … NOT…, be the definitive factor in one’s choice of a mate.  But it can be helpful in taking a look at reality, AND it’s fun.  Be patient.  It’s worth the wait and is not that complicated.  It’s also useful to forward to a friend who is in denial about the status of a relationship especially when you don’t want to tell them directly.  

You will need three sheets of paper and a writing implement.  Go ahead and get them.  We’ll wait.  This will be far more effective if you follow the instructions in the order they are written as opposed to reading all the way through first.  It’s only a small delay in gratification, so try to be self-disciplined.

On the first sheet down the left margin write the numbers 1 through 15.  In no particular order write fifteen characteristics, traits, or anything else that you would like to have in your “ideal” individual.  This is stream of consciousness.  Don’t try to put them down in any particular order. Just put them down as you think of them. They can be personality traits, social traits, financial status, physical appearance, education or anything else you would want.  Make sure you list all 15.  Do not make the list according to what your partner in your current relationship has.  Remember, this is your IDEAL and PERFECT person list.

(No peeking!! Go back to the last paragraph and finish).  Now carefully look over your list.  Mark a number “1” to the right of the most important item to you.  Do the same for the number “2” item and so on until you have marked number 15.  Don’t look at the 15th item as the least important, but rather as one of the fifteen most important to you.  This is where you need to spend some time prioritizing what is most important to you.

On your second sheet of paper down the left margin write the numbers 15 through 1.  In other words, 15, 14, 13, etc. down to 1.  Using your first sheet take the item you marked as number “1” and write it next to the number “15” on the second sheet.  Next take the item you marked as number “2” on your first sheet and write it next to the number “14” on the second sheet.  Continue in order until you have listed your number “15” item from your first sheet next to the number “1” on your second sheet.  This second sheet now contains the points each of your items are worth, so naturally your number one item is worth the most points, fifteen.

Make two columns on your third sheet by drawing a vertical line down the middle and stop about two inches from the bottom.  Label the first column “Has It”, and label the second column “Doesn’t Have It.”  Look at the first item on your second sheet worth fifteen points.  If your current partner has it, put it down in the “Has It” column with a “15” next to it.  If your partner does not have it, put the item in the “Doesn’t Have It” column with a “15” next to it.  For the second item, do the same, except it will be worth 14 in the appropriate column.  Go through all the items, listing each in the appropriate column with the points assigned.

Add up all the “Has It” points.  Add up all the “Doesn’t Have It” points.  Now subtract the “Doesn’t Have It” points from the” Has It” points.  This is your current partner’s love score.  You can also use this for any prospective partners.

Here is how well your partner meets your needs.  

101-120 points Fantastic. This is a match made in heaven.

81- 100 points Very Compatible. You won’t have too many difficulties.

61-80 points Reasonable. You’ll have some major areas that need polishing.

41-60 points A Stretch. This will require a lot of work. Are you sure you want to do this?

40 & Below What the hell are you thinking?

So there you have it, your Love Shopping List.  If you were truthful with yourself and not trying to manipulate the score, you should have an accurate reflection of your relationship(s). Remember, it was your list of traits with your priorities.

Copyright 2009 Yellen & Associates All rights reserved.

Dr. Andrew Yellen is a parent, former educator, and clinical and sports psychologist in private practice. He is also the co-founder along with his wife Heidi Yellen, M.A., B.C.E.T., of Yellen & Associates (http://www.yellenandassociates.com), a southern California firm providing psychological, educational, speech, and language services. Dr. Yellen’s parenting systems have been taught locally for over 20 years. Now, on the Internet, he is sharing his knowledge and experience at ParentDoc.com

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