We all know what we are talking about here. People tell you about theirs with a glimmer in their eyes, “I made a list of exactly what I want, and they showed up the very next day.”

I have wrestled with being single for 2+ years. I scoff a bit whenever I hear of this supposed magical list. Perhaps I don’t believe that sort of immediacy is possible for me. Maybe I’m a cynic.

Or maybe! Maybe! I’ve been around the hocus pocus block a time or two, and I know that making a list won’t cut it for me. If this has worked for you, I’m so happy for you. Truly. And I know that for me, the best things in my life have taken time. I am open to miracles always. But I will not be betting my relational future on them. And people pushing me on fast and easy are usually not my people.

I crave uncommon depth and quality in all areas, and my relationships are no exception. Sometimes I’m bitter as fuck that it isn’t quick and easy for me (ok, oftentimes bitter AF). Annnd I honour my process and pacing, knowing that good things take time (I might say that a few more times here, cuz dear lord, do I ever need reminding).

I have hoped that it is as simple as making a list, and the reason it hasn’t worked for me is my bad attitude. Even writing that feels ridiculous. Mindset blocks are real. So is self-sabotage. I might be a bit discouraged, perhaps even traumatized by past heartbreak, but I really don’t think this is my bad attitude. I see the logic in my disbelief in the magical powers of making a list.

My therapist, Dr. Juliana Hauser, confirmed this. She said verbatim: “the list is not magical, but the process of making it is profound.” Praise be the voice of reason. Instead, the list is a powerful tool to use on your dating journey.

I have been on a journey, alright. Perhaps it’s because I’m a divorcée (which sounds older and sadder than I feel), or maybe it is because I have been stung by a cruel amount of heartbreak. Either way, I decided earlier this year that I am ready for actual love. I have done enough sexual exploring. I am ready for a relationship this time, and I am not fucking around. I am ready to do it right. I am insistent that my next relationship is a healthy place for two people to grow both together and as individuals. I want it to be a place where we can find safety and deep rest, along with aliveness and vibrancy. Yes. All of it. I want a *very* good thing. And finding someone to do that with has been challenging to say the least.

Figuring out the necessary prerequisites for that kind of masterpiece seems key for sure. This kind of list-making started to make sense.

So to reiterate, this process isn’t a manifestation tool or a way to “call it in” (whatever the fuck that means).

The list is a *creation* tool. Love is created. Healthy, beautiful relationships are created slowly over time. The list is a process of identifying the foundational characteristics that a match needs to have for you to go there with them.

Hubbbba hubba, no? This shit turns me on.

I laugh when I think about what a nerd I am and imagine how my future partner will love that about me.

Ok, I’m going to share the highlights of my collaborative session with my therapist Dr. Juliana Hauser. She’s a pretty busy woman, but I highly recommend working with her if you can snag a spot.

Step one was to get a close friend or two in on the process. I chose my big sister Stefanie and my friend Dana. Stefanie is a therapist herself, so I thought she would find the process fascinating, and she has known me my whole life, so she was first on my list. My friend Dana has been on a similar therapy journey to me, and I knew she would nerd out on the process. Bonus points, she has a relationship that has lots of parts I wish to emulate. So the team was assembled.

I don’t want to give away the whole process, but essentially we came up with a list of 35 characteristics quite quickly and then spent the rest of the session whittling it down to a final 8.

Dr. Juliana sent me this picture of us all hard at work. I really feel the love from these women and I am so grateful. The women in my life are proof that I am worthy of amazing relationships. Another cool thing I realized about “The List” is that all my intimate friendships meet these criteria already. ?

Here is my initial 35:

  1. curiosity
  2. empathy
  3. passion
  4. driven
  5. mature
  6. has figured out money/ financially independent
  7. affectionate
  8. likes talking
  9. likes long walks
  10. tall (6’1″ +)
  11. fun-loving
  12. spiritual/connected to nature
  13. kind to children and animals
  14. sexually confident
  15. has solid consent practices/ sexual communication that turns me on
  16. values sex education
  17. reads + studies to be a better lover
  18. has great friends of different ages and backgrounds
  19. connects with people of all kinds
  20. warm communication style
  21. gentle and passionate (full range articulation)
  22. cares about his community and gives back
  23. politically aware but not obsessed
  24. passionate about creating change in the world and effective at it
  25. loves their body and being in it
  26. self reflector
  27. prioritizing relationship and partnership
  28. vulnerable and accessible
  29. nurturer
  30. loves food
  31. likes dancing
  32. challenges and inspires me to think differently
  33. available with time and energy
  34. fun
  35. sensual

The process of whittling it down to 8 was one where we all felt like we were cheating—smashing things together—seeing what items were absolutely essential to a happy relationship. I was kind of shocked at what fell away. I trust that I will likely get more than just the 8, but I know that if I have these 8, I have the basics covered for a truly happy partnership.

Here they are:

  1. They love their body + being in it.
  2. They have boundaries and show up when there is conflict to deal with.
  3. They are curious and always want to learn.
  4. They are a nurturer/space holder.
  5. They *really* love food.
  6. They have a spiritual connection to the natural world.
  7. They value and enthusiastically engage in dialogue/conversation.
  8. They are playful, love to laugh and make me laugh.

bonus: 6’2″ + ?

So there you have it. If you are interested in doing your own process of creating “The List” I highly recommend working with Dr. Juliana 1:1

I will try to convince her to co-lead a group “The List” experience with me.

Being single and not settling is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. We need more conversation and support around this. I’m feeling a three-week journey, kind of like the format of Boundary Bitch. A week to connect and collectively feel, a week to make “The List,” and a week to integrate.

Are you interested? Put yourself on the “gimme more info” list, so I can show Dr. Juliana how many of you want this!

Lots of love from the trenches of my heart,

Katrina Marie

p.s. FYI, I am totally open to setups with folks who match the above criteria ?