in: Dating & Relationships

How to Find “The One” & Never Settle For Less

The perfect mate won’t fall into our lap, sometimes we have to do the groundwork. But with a little effort, you’ll never settle for less than “The One.”

—See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World

In terms of finding your “perfect” mate, let me break the news to you: there is no such thing. At least, not on this planet.

No one is perfect, everyone has flaws. With that said, however, it IS very possible to find “The One”—a mate with whom you are so compatible and turned on by that the thought of having settled will never enter your mind. And the way to find (actually “attract” is a more accurate term) them is very straightforward.

Nearly Everyone Settles

How many people do you know who are crystal clear about who they want to share their life with? And by “crystal clear” I mean actually took the time to write down in great detail who this person is. Chances are it is close to zero.

There is an old saying: When you don’t know or care where you are going don’t be surprised by where you end up.”

Let’s face it, most people go through life waiting (hoping) to meet someone where the chemistry kicks in big time. And when it does and it’s mutual, well, you’re off to the races! Wonderful, right? Except most of those races are either short or soon become very routine, unfulfilling or you just end up getting thrown (painfully) from the horse. That’s because chemistry alone is simply not enough to help navigate the complex waterways of long-term human intimate relationships. When the chemistry starts to wane, what is left is often the stark realization that the person you choose may not be ideal for other aspects of your life that are important to you.

When I met my future wife in 1982 there was chemistry and shared values. Yet, the writing was on the wall when we had this conversation just before we tied the knot. We asked each other what we wanted out of our life together.

She responded with something like: I want a house with the picket fence, two kids, a dog and a cat –the Leave it to Beaver experience, I just want everything to be ‘normal.’

To which I responded: ‘Normal’ is the last thing in the world I want, I’m here to make a difference in the world.

And, in addition to that, we were also not particularly well-matched sexually.

Despite these differences, I knew she would be a terrific mother (which she was and continues to be) and she knew I would be a good father and provider for the family and a faithful husband (which I was on all counts). Our marriage lasted 26 years before I ended it. We do have two wonderful and successful adult children and the first half of the marriage was okay–-just not great.

Basically, we both settled and paid the price for it eventually. The reason we settled is we each fell into the trap of finding a mate the same way the vast majority of people do, we waited to find someone where there was a spark and (hopefully) some shared values.

I am here to tell you that is simply not enough if you want to have an amazing relationship that only grows stronger over time, rather than fizzle out as most do.

My “Dream Woman” Project

Given that through the last 11 years of our marriage my wife and I were effectively roommates, I was determined to not let that happen again. I also knew I wanted to share the rest of my life with a mate. So, only two weeks after ending the marriage and moving out, I launched myself into what I call my “Dream Woman” project. Over a period of several days I feverishly wrote down my unbridled and extremely detailed description of who this person was from every aspect and nuance I could think of.

Dream_Woman_ThumbnailIn looking back on this process, I realize the key to doing this successfully was having the courage to look deep inside myself and become abundantly clear about what was important to me in a life-long intimate relationship. Most people are afraid to be this clear, I think because if they are, they will also be consciously aware of the possibility that they may never find this person and end up disappointed. So instead, like countless others, they avoid risking clarity in the hopes that serendipity will just hand them their perfect mate on a silver platter—right. Lack of clarity practically guarantees you will end up settling—every time.

If you are interested in taking a look at my own Dream Woman Project, just click the image to download the PDF. When you do, you will see that in addition to being quite specific in my writing, I used visuals and images extensively to help describe what I wanted.

You can make your Dream Woman (or Dream Man) project as elaborate or simple as you want. The important part is writing it down and being as specific and detailed as possible. Taking this approach is essentially the same as going after anything else you truly want in life. It takes clarity, determination and a willingness to fully lay bare what you really want in the face of knowing you may not achieve it.

Clarity is More Important than Planning

When I created my Dream Woman Project I had no clue as to how I was going to find her. And, I deliberately left out how that was going to happen. I simply trusted that the Universe is a lot wiser than I am when it came to those details. The only thing I did was keep myself active and socially available (i.e. open to meeting new people and experiencing new things). If you expect to catch a fish, you at least need to be near the water.

For the entire year after I wrote my Dream Woman Project I didn’t even date and rarely even looked at it. Then, in the most unusual of circumstances, I met my current Life Partner and didn’t even know it at the time.

The Benefit of Not Falling Head-Over-Heels

When Jacky and I first met, I was preparing to go to Brazil for a three-month “reset” of my life. I wasn’t even looking at that point. Quite frankly, while we both were intrigued, it was hardly what you would call” love at first sight.” Thank God it wasn’t because that gave each of us the space and level-headedness to become good friends before becoming intimate.

About a year after we first met I decided to look at my Dream Woman Project for a course on Extraordinary Intimacy I was about to give. As I re-read through this document my jaw kept dropping lower and lower in disbelief. I called Jacky over to look at it with me (she had never seen it before) and when she did she gasped and said “Sweetie—that’s me!!” Turns out she fit what was described in my Dream Woman Project, 100 percent. Not 80 or 90…100 percent to a “T.”

We will soon be celebrating our 4th year together and our relationship only gets stronger and more fulfilling with time. And with respect to our intimacy, as powerful as it was when we first became sexually active with each other (you know, the “rip your clothes off” stage) it pales in comparison to what we now experience.

Taking the Risk

If you don’t take the risk to be absolutely clear about with whom you want to share your life, you have effectively chosen to settle by default. When you express that clarity in writing, it won’t guarantee you will find that person, but it will significantly increase the chances you will. And, perhaps most importantly, you will know you gave it your all instead of being a passive bystander waiting for anything remotely interesting that may cross your path.

This will likely be your greatest adventure in life. Don’t sell it and yourself short by taking the lazy way out by settling for less than you know deep down you want and deserve.


This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the author’s full (and kindest) permission. 

About the Author:

Michael Russer

Michael J. Russer is a prostate cancer survivor who was left completely impotent as a result of his treatments. Yet, it was because of his impotence that he and his partner discovered an entirely new approach to emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy that far exceeds anything either experienced prior to when things were working "correctly." His mission is to help men, women and couples everywhere to achieve extraordinary intimacy on all levels. He is an international speaker, author and thought leader on the issues of human connection and intimacy. He also speaks pro-bono to Cancer Support Centers and Gilda’s Clubs around the U.S. for cancer survivors and their partners about regaining intimacy in the face of cancer. Go to to explore the possibility of having Michael speak at your next event.Michael is also a champion of the nonprofit men's work being done by the ManKind Project. He completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 2012. To learn more about Michael's work you can visit his website, tune in to his podcast, or watch his TEDx Talk.


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