My single women coaching clients often ask me what is okay to want in their life mate. My simple answer is “Nothing is too much to ask for!”

In my opinion, that is a KEY component to ending up in a relationship that will last a lifetime. Sure, plenty of women settle and end up married. But need I remind you of the divorce rate? (Most reports have it holding steady at 50% for first marriages, higher for second marriages!) And that’s just what we see in the courts. Studies have shown that of the remaining 40 (+/-) %, only 10% of those people would call themselves happy! Yikes...those are disturbing statistics.

After working with clients for many years, and studying relationship issues forever, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s due in great part to short-term thinking: “must have a man NOW”; “must get married SOON”; “my clock is TICKING!”

The other “culprit” is the fact that many people choose the person they plan to spend their life with not knowing who they really are, not fully knowing what they want (those go hand-in-hand), and oftentimes not feeling worthy of what they want anyway.

While I always recommend clients be clear about what their “non-negotiable” qualities in a man are - and to not settle for less - I do see women shooting themselves in the foot by having their bottom-line “gotta haves” set so high there aren’t any men that would be likely to meet them. I’ve noticed that when that’s true for a woman, oftentimes what’s at play is either a deep fear of being successful (and this is a way to keep men at a distance), or there’s a need for a man to be responsible for things she’s not willing to handle for herself.

This ends up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy; a woman feels unworthy, creates a situation where no man will “pass muster”, so she ends up alone. And she gets to be right about not being able to have what she longs for.

The cure for this is to be fully responsible for yourself and your own fulfillment and happiness. Make choices that are aligned with who you are and what you want in your life. You can’t drive east, looking for a sunset!

Also, if there are any lurking negative attitudes and/or fears about men, make sure you discover what they are, and work on removing them – whether on your own, with a friend, with a coach or a therapist.

Once you’re clear that your requirements are right for you, and not some type of barrier keeping men away, the next thing to do is spend enough time with a man to know whether or not he’s got those qualities. DON’T use chemistry as the criteria to decide whether or not a man makes the cut. (At some point it’s important, but often it’s counterproductive in the very beginning because it clouds judgment.)

Learn how to date productively; avoid lots of superficial chatter, or spending so much time at the movies or concerts that there’s little communication possible. Make your contacts with men count: every date, call, email, you’ve either learned more about him, or shared something about you.

You’re looking for a man to give you a lot, which is fine. Whatever it is you want him to provide for you and your life together, keep in mind that a man that has that much to offer is looking for his feminine counterpart.

Once you have your list of “non-negotiables” figured out, a great exercise to do is figure out where you stack up on that list. If you notice that, on a scale of 1 to 10, you’re at a 0 with something, you’re not likely to attract that in a mate. (Keep in mind the “Like attracts like” principle.) If the quality you seek from him is that important to you (which tells you it’s a value you hold dear), build yourself up in that area.

And if you’re expecting any 10s from a man, you’re not giving him much room to breathe. I think looking for 10 *moments*, and realizing most of us hover around the mid- to high-mid number as a net score in most qualities allows you to see him (and yourself) as human. It allows for bad days (or weeks). It is a compassionate and accepting way to relate to him, and to yourself, and makes you a better mate.

If you get clear about what you want, make sure you’re not either pushing men away with unrealistic expectations, or looking to be saved from yourself, and work to be the kind of woman a man wants, you’ll end up happily married. It takes work, but it’s worth it!

Author's Bio: 

Karen Jones is the founder of The Heart Matters – since 1997, a relationship coaching and seminar company that’s been successfully helping women have the relationship they’ve always dreamed of. To learn how Karen can help you find the right man, please visit her website: To receive the complimentary monthly newsletter, “Ask the Coach”, and also get the immediately downloadable bonus gift “Three Things You Can Begin Doing Right Now to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships with Men” please go to: