STOP Dating Without The List!
The List is a checklist of what you need and want in a man (or woman). Just like most of us don’t go to the grocery store without a list, we shouldn’t date without one either.
As you think about the characteristics that are important to you (kindness, ambition, honesty, for example), you may discover that you've been dating men who possess few to none of the characteristics. You won't find long-term happiness with someone like this.
Reviewing The List from time to time forces you out of any kind of denial you may be in about a man. If you've written "God fearing" as a Must Have, you're less inclined to keep seeing that Agnostic charmer. When you have The List before you as a reminder that you want a gentle man, for instance, it's kind of hard to keep dating an overly aggressive jerk. Unwanted qualities have less of a chance of slipping through the cracks if you are always mindful - not obsessive - about the kind of man you need vs. the kind of man you are actually seeing. The List takes away the abstractness of uncertainty.
The List should include Must Haves as well as Desires. A Must Have can be "Respectful" and a Desire can be "6 ft." (It may be a Must Have – you know you!) Your Desires can be picky, but because they aren't Must Haves they shouldn't be deal breakers. You can also add a list of Deal Breakers: "abusive", "product of incest"... whatever. Be realistic in your Must Haves. And while you're creating The List, ask yourself if you have these traits as well. You may not have all of them but you should have a great many. You can't expect what you can't give.
You may discover some qualities that you require in a man that you never realized you needed - and weren't getting. This is as much an exercise in discovering what makes you happy as it is in finding a man.
If you don't know what you Must Have in a mate, just think about the unpleasant characteristics in those you've dated in the past. You Must Have the opposite of those.