Eternally single? You're probably wishing for too many things.
Most single ladies have a list of traits they want in a future partner, varying in length and specifics. Tall, long hair, tattoos, no piercings, witty, smart, clever, ambitious, rich, funny, fit, likes to read, good in bed are just a few of the "requirements" that are often thrown about.
But what if we're asking for too much?
Relationship expert Dr Ty Tashiro says the ideal number of attributes to have on your relationship wish list is three, in his book The Science of Happily Ever After.
Tashiro says the more traits we pick, the less likely we are to find someone who fits them statistically.
If you're after someone who is tall, has a good income and is attractive, you are already narrowing the field significantly. Add in requirements like good with dogs, funny or loves adventure and you end up with an almost impossible task of finding someone who fits your list.
Tashiro suggests that people think with their head, not necessarily their heart, when picking the desirable traits of a partner.
“All this wishing has led to a case of wanting everything and getting nothing,” Tashiro says.
Tashiro says that instead of focusing on traits such as good looks and money – things that can come and go with time – it's better to look for perennial traits.
“If the goal is to find the truth in love, to search for love that is real and enduring, then love cannot be left to fate,” Tashiro writes.
But not everyone agrees with this philosophy. University of Canberra's Associate Professor Amanda Gordon, a psychologist, says any kind of check list may harm your relationship chances.
“If you have a check list you can end up choosing very superficially,” says Gordon, who specialises in couple's therapy. “You're so busy checking the boxes that you're missing the person, the good boxes they might have that aren't on your list.”
Sex therapist Matty Silver agrees that you shouldn't expect too much.
“If your list is too long then you might never find the right person,” Silver says.
He says you should go into a relationship thinking about what you can bring to it, rather than how perfect your potential partner is or isn't.
Gordon says that this is one of the biggest problems with having a relationship wish-list.
“If you have a fixed idea about what you want from a partner you won't grow,” she says.
“The whole idea is that you grow as a result of the relationship.”
Gordon says there are certainly traits you want to avoid, and one important relationship checkpoint is whether you get along with each other's friends.
“If you don't fit into his group or he doesn't fit into yours, there is something going on at a deeper level,” says Gordon, adding that it's OK if your friends and partner don't get along all the time.
Silver says you can't predict how your relationship will turn out, so above all it's important that you trust and communicate well with your partner.
Gordon's relationship philosophy is that as long as you have good shared values, you can make a relationship work.
“You don't have to like exactly the same things," he says. "If you are strong people, you can make it work. You can make it a great relationship.”