“Before I even know the guy’s last name,” says Sally, “I’ve mentally walked him down the aisle, named our fourth kid after my Aunt Agatha, and sent her off to college.”

No surprise, Sally often sabotages her potential relationships by falling prey to such romanticized thinking. “Happily ever after” is an admirable goal, but first she needs to discover if they are compatible enough for a second date.

Edward thought he’d found the perfect woman. “The only thing,” he confided to me, “is that she has small children at home, smokes, doesn’t allow cussing, and regularly attends church.”

Using my best Dr. Phil voice, I asked Edward what in the world he was thinking. Edward isn’t fond of youngsters, doesn’t smoke, cusses like a longshoreman, and won’t even attend church on Christmas Eve.

“Oh, and another thing,” he continued, “I’m allergic to her cat.”

Poor Edward is grasping at straws. Recently divorced, he desperately wants to be in a relationship—any relationship. Never mind that he has little, if anything, in common with this woman.

Both Sally and Edward are stumbling blindly along, leaving to chance the most important connection of their lives. And yet there are proven strategies for eliminating the “better than nothing” relationships that serve no one well.

Using the “Law of Attraction” principles, it is possible to manifest your ideal relationship.  The first step is getting a really clear perspective on who it is you’re looking for. It is easy to talk about what kind of person we don’t want in our lives, but once we become clear on what we do want, attracting that perfect mate becomes a scientific certainty.

No more settling for less than you deserve. No more “dating down.” No more test-driving a non-descript silver SUV when what you really want is a black Porsche Boxster.

Dating is a fun way to sample the market without committing to the first person showing an interest in you. Unless, of course, that person is all you’ve ever wanted in a relationship, and more.

So what do you want? What is your heart’s desire? What qualities must your perfect mate have in order to be your perfect mate? How much more time do you want to waste sorting through the chaff?