Matchmaking, the Reality Therapy Way

The Internet as matchmaker! Widespread computer use has caused plenty of changes to society over recent decades, but who could have seen that one coming? Young (and not-so-young) folks use various web applications to help them choose mates. Do you know anyone who’s met a “significant other” through the Internet? It’s surprisingly common (surprising to me, anyway).

How does this phenomena relate to Reality Therapy? Let’s think about the criteria we use when we make our choices.

For example, consider a web-based matchmaking service (or in the olden days, a matchmaking friend or relative). When a judgment (or a guess) is made about compatibility, it’s likely based on whether there are similar interests and values. Or, if your preferred picture is “opposites attract,” then one might “shop” for someone with different interests and values.

Either way, among the qualities that tend to be considered are interests in activities, music, food, exercise, attitudes toward children, money, status, even age, height, weight, and so on.  Many different attributes—some superficial, others substantive—are associated with compatibility.

Here’s a short Reality Therapy checklist that might be even more helpful than knowing whether both of you enjoy pina coladas, sunsets, and long walks on the beach.

Does your prospective mate…

  • Listen to you?
  • Support you in your interests and endeavours?
  • Encourage you to achieve your full potential?
  • Respect you? (That’s a big one!)
  • Trust you? Or do they doubt you, continually questioning your judgments, activities, and choices?
  • Accept you for who you are? Or do you feel pressure to change into the person they think you should be?

Now, while your potential dreamboat’s behaviour toward you is important, the behaviours that you choose to use with them are equally important. For example…

  • Do you respect them?
  • Do you listen to them? Or do you usually tune out or interrupt?
  • Can you comfortably trust their actions and judgments?
  • Do they usually make choices that you can easily support and encourage? Or do you have frequent doubts about their wisdom?
  • Realistically, are you prepared to accept them as the person they are right now, or are you envisioning the person you can “turn them into” if only you get the chance?

If you’ve been reading about Reality Therapy, then you’ll recognize that those checklists are based on the caring, connecting habits. Using those habits can help create a good basis for any relationship, whether it’s a life partner or a friend.

What if your answers are negative? That would be disappointing, for sure. However, would you rather consider these qualities before you enter a serious relationship? Or do you think it’s better to face those realities after you are already committed?

Reality Therapy also identifies a collection of deadly, disconnecting habits that tend to lead to unsatisfying relationships. In the next column, we’ll look at those habits; awareness that can help you make choices with your eyes wide open.

Do you think that considering these qualities is helpful when looking for a potential mate?

This article is the first in a series.
The next article in this series is here.
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