Life Advice



Single File: Must-Haves

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: Honestly, I don't know what I want in a life partner. A few years back, I thought I wanted someone really good-looking, tall, smooth and devoted. But now looks don't seem important. Still, he must be devoted to me. -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Priorities do change with time. And that's a good thing, letting the small wants fall by the wayside and emphasizing what we need in a love partner. Over time, experiences help show us what is and isn't important. The more time the better. And that seems to be the way things are going. Marriage can wait; emotional maturity from experience must come first.

So move slowly; take your time. There's no rush. Give yourself the gift of extra time to sharpen your intuition and discover your real needs. Take it from one who reads all sorts of letters from readers who did -- or didn't -- wait to get seriously involved in love.

You honestly admit your changed love needs. Let that honesty carry over into the following lists. First, list the qualities you need in a lover. On the same side of the paper, in another column, list what you value in a friend who is not your sexual partner. Read the lists carefully, and underline any needs that show up on both "lover" and "friend" lists; they are the ones that form the basis for solid love between you and a partner. (The rest are details that probably have little influence on your long-term happiness.) Write those overlapping needs on another piece of paper, because you must see them as a separate entity. Take a good look at the new list -- memorizing would help -- because it contains the qualities in the kind of man who is right for you.

Surprised at the smallish list of needs compared with your supposed wants? That, my pet, is the point of the exercise. So many of the traits you believed you wanted are turning out to be pure fluff, the stuff of Hollywood fables. The real needs, the long-term viability of love, are few but potent in their urgency. Keep those lists on your nightstand.


DEAR READERS: Carrying the same thinking one step further, make a list of your expectations from an unmarried relationship. On the same page, in another column, write the things you expect from a married relationship. As above, underline the overlapping qualities on both lists. Write them on a separate page, to be saved and put together with your findings from above. If you're the smart cookie I know you to be, you'll make a ritual of rereading those lists and making changes as your life changes. Whenever you do, think of me.


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.




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