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Shopping for Love? You Should Make a List!

Itemizing the qualities you seek in a mate can streamline your dating search online

Ideally, the other person's values will align closely with your own. If charitable giving is a mainstay of your life, for example, how happy are you likely to be with someone who believes that donations breed dependence? If you are deeply devout, are you apt to share much common ground with a virulent atheist?

This may be one of those inconvenient truths: We all recognize the need for compromise in a relationship, but disagreeing on every facet of human existence gets old fast.

Your best match, then, will be someone who shares not just your qualities but also your values. Because neither of those is visible to the naked eye, you're going to need some other mechanism to ferret them out. So whether you're shopping in a supermarket or on the information superhighway, do the smart thing: Make a list, and stick to it.

Ken Solin writes about dating for AARP.

How About We ... Make a Dating List

Ken Solin asked patrons of AARP's dating site to list the reasons they use a list to find dates online. Here are their reports from the field:

  • "It's the essence of things I'm interested in. It's a synopsis of what's important to me." —Ariella S.

  • "I dated every woman who said yes until an ex-girlfriend suggested I write down the qualities I had to have. I made my list and thanked her, because it made me see right away why our relationship hadn't worked." —Tony R.

  • "I'm in my 50s and have been dating for five years. It has helped me avoid reenacting that famous Saturday Night Live skit where you see a 'not-perfect' couple holding hands and walking over a bridge, while on the screen below them appears this simple phrase: 'Lowered Expectations.'" —Cyberquill

  • "Having certain criteria has really helped me define what's most important to me in a partner. But even before that, deciding on the criteria was a process that clarified where I was in my life." —Nancy S.

  • "Struggling through a bad relationship, I scribbled down a heartfelt list of 12 items I wanted in a husband. I then broke up with my boyfriend. Years later, after marrying my husband, I stumbled across that list in a box of old letters and was relieved to see my husband still meets every item. My advice: Make your list — and don't settle for less!" — Bipitybopityboop

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Video Extra

DATING TIPS: AARP dating expert Ken Solin chats with Today show cohosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb about why boomer men should date women their same age. Sharing a cultural history is terrific, Solin explains: "It’s nice not to have to explain that Paul McCartney wasn’t just a solo act."

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