The Love Checklist- by Karen Rock
It’s a perennial debate. One that goes back as far as love has existed. Do we fall for the people that meet our expectations, or do our expectations change when our heart leads the way? Many of us have a folded, dog-eared mental checklist of what we must have in the perfect mate. These traits guided us when single, helping us select our partner for life. Yet does 100% compatibility guarantee happiness? Emily Dickinson said, “The heart wants what it wants— or it does not care.” Does that give us license to follow our feelings, and ignore logic and reason, when we meet someone who takes our breath away? Or is love something that can and should be approached methodically?
When dating, I had an informal ‘code’ and even a test to determine if a guy was a ‘keeper’. Introducing him to my pets was the first task. It was crucial he liked animals. Important that they felt the same way about him. My pets were my family and no one came between me and those who loved me unconditionally. Another task was settling up the dinner bill. I know this is controversial, but on a first date, one in which I’d been invited, I hoped he’d offer to pay. It showed a generosity in spirit that I looked for. A third task was asking something a bit embarrassing that I already knew about my date from another source. If he answered honestly, points in his favor. If not, adios. No room for liars in my life. Listening to me spiel girl power doctrine was another test to pass. I didn’t want a man who wasn’t strong enough to handle an equally strong woman.
True story: My husband Greg, of 21 years, and I saw a Julia Roberts movie on our first date. We’d barely taken our seats, shared some popcorn, and watched the end of the opening credits when poor Julia’s submissive character was beaten by her controlling husband. I turned to this relative stranger beside me and said, “If a guy ever did that to me, I’d cut his important bits off.” I held my breath, watching Greg in the gloom. As a corrections officer, my husband works up close and personal with dangerous criminals. It’s a macho job and I didn’t know what to expect. However, he simply nodded at my vitriol and said, “good.” My heart melted on the spot. A strong man who admired a strong woman.
Despite this, he still insisted on paying for our dinner, didn’t miss a beat when my Irish Wolfhound, Sport, nearly knocked him over at the end of the night, and confided that he’d shared a bedroom with his sister since eight children had to share two bedrooms in his mother’s house. It’s little wonder I agreed to get engaged six months after our first date. In truth, I knew he was the one within a week. Still, Greg doesn’t fulfill every one of my ‘must traits’. He doesn’t enjoy classical music concerts. Isn’t big on nature hikes. Was happy to have only one child. Will take spontaneous detours on vacations I’ve meticulously planned. I’m not sure what our compatibility score would be, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.
In my September Harlequin Heartwarming release, SOMEONE LIKE YOU, Kayleigh Renshaw struggles to make sense of a broken engagement with her boss that upends her life. Recalling how her parents divorced due to incompatibility, she decides to create a smart phone app that will let people input their dating ‘must traits’ and check, before wasting time on a doomed relationship, how compatible they are. Her software designer and longtime friend, war veteran Niall Walsh, isn’t so convinced with her logic, but he’ll help her out— because of their friendship— and a dark secret he’s under orders not to reveal. This friends-to-love story challenges these two characters to figure out how to accept their new feelings for each other, even when it’s not rational or logical.
Now it’s your turn. What’s guided you in making decisions about love? Do you have any ‘must traits’ for a partner? Answer in the comments section below, and include your email address, to be entered to win a copy of SOMONE LIKE YOU. I’ll announce the winner on this post tomorrow as well as on my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites . If you are interested in preordering SOMEONE LIKE YOU before Sept 1st, Here are the links: Print Book : http://bit.ly/1oN6puy Amazon Kindle : http://amzn.to/1o9Bz0S B&N Nook : http://bit.ly/1gmWXxg Kobo : http://bit.ly/1qRegXE I can’t wait to hear you thoughts!