There’s one thing all my matchmaking clients want in a life partner…
As a Professional Matchmaker, I serve high-achieving professionals around the world to help you find the right person. Many of these folks – who work as consultants, project managers, engineers in their day jobs – are expats, share multiple cultures, and have roots in different countries. They’re smart, driven, ambitious, and had the gumption to move to a brand new country where you don’t speak the language and don’t understand the culture.
When they jump on a call with me, 99% of them say:
“I want someone independent.”
“Okay,” I say, then press further, because it’s logical to want this quality for an independent life. “What does that mean for you?” That’s when many falter and say, “Well… you know…”
Independence in a Partnership
For some, independence means being a housewife with a Master’s degree – the choice made by several of my friends after they married someone whose salary was sufficient to support two people. Independence – for both persons in the couple – meant having the financial breadth to allow one partner to pursue a lifestyle not defined by having a job.
Others define independence as the ability to do what you want, whenever you want. This could mean choosing not to have children, or apply for a remote job that lets you decide how you allocate your working hours, or starting your own business.
A Binary – and Outdated – Definition
In the West, independence is generally defined by where you live: do you live alone (more independent) or with roommates (less independent) ? Do you live with your parents (dependent) or have you moved out (independent)? Can you look after your needs (independent) without needing a caregiver of any kind (dependent) ? It creates a binary model of dependent/independent, which is not the most useful when understanding if someone could be a good life partner, because we make different choices once in a stable relationship than we do as singletons. Additionally, many millenials are choosing to live in community, despite having the financial means to live alone.
For me, independence has always meant someone who can think for themselves – someone whose choices are truly their own. To analyse this, I would ask potential partners a series of oblique questions about mainstream political issues, such as:
“Do you think it’s okay to take a short flight for a weekend trip even though it forces my carbon emissions through the roof?”
If their answers matched the dominant social discourse, I’d count them as a “No way” and politely say goodbye. If they had well-developed, unique opinions of their own, I’d opt to go further, and continue getting to know them. This intellectual independence is the trait I admire and respect most in my partner, and value highly when looking for new friends.
Now I’d love to hear from you: