Knowing who you are and what you want is the starting point for all the books I’ve read and workshops I’ve attended on Conscious Dating. However, I think anyone—married, partnered or single—can benefit from the exercises I did to “get ready to get ready” to write an online profile.
Make a list of what you want to be, what you want to do, what you want to have. Don’t censor, maybe time yourself for five minutes on each inquiry. Next, write out your personal values (examples: peace, connection, service, creativity, honesty) and follow by putting an asterisk by your top five. My choices were: communication love, personal growth, self-care and humor. Then write the top values you would like to share with your life partner. My choices included some of the same from the previous list (love, communication) and others (dependability/reliability, emotional intelligence, sexuality).
To get further into my subconscious, I eschewed words and used pictures torn from magazines and photos to express what I felt was my “life purpose.” Some teachers have called this work mind mapping, or visualization or dream boarding. I have made dozens of these in my life; for example, my Jubilación collage depicted what I wanted to experience after my retirement from a full-time job. While reading Katherine Woodward Thomas’ book Calling in THE ONE, I made a collage on that theme with that title.
What came out of all this was the formulation of my purpose statement: to inspire creative expression and encourage transformative political action for the good of all and survival of planet Earth.
What do all these preliminaries have to do with creating an online dating profile? It helps one discover one’s values and hopefully find a partner who shares at least some of those values. This introspection leads to discovering the “deal breakers” – those things you won’t accept in a potential partner if you want the relationship to last. Because liberal/progressive/radical politics has been central to my life since I was 18 years old, one of my deal breakers would be a potential partner who didn’t respect my political views.
Putting up a thoughtful dating profile is an act of vulnerability that is not encouraged by the limited character counts required by some sites (I am subscribed on three of them). Our Time allows 15 photos but only 200 characters for each descriptor. In my recent experience, only one out of 10 guys maximize their word count in describing themselves and tend to post photos with sunglasses on. Those willing to show their eyes and write a bit more are the ones that attract my attention.
The main advantage of the free version of OK Cupid is that it allows a generous word count for self-description and provides an array of (sometimes stupid) questions to help find a high percentage of “match” with another member who answers the same questions. I used the profile I wrote for OK Cupid as the text base from which to pull for two other sites.
In my next post, I’ll include my coach-approved profile and…some of the items she wouldn’t have approved.