the X factor
Dating Advice

The X Factor: We don’t know what it is, but we need it

The X factor: We can’t put our finger on it and don’t know exactly what it is, but if it is missing we lose interest.

It’s this quality that can’t be pinpointed. I’ve wondered if it goes all the way down to the level of pheromones? Perhaps, it stems from deep seated personality traits ingrained in childhood. Or magic pixie dust.

The X factor is something different ever person, be it the person that has it or the person that feels it. And it knocked me flat on my butt

I’m a planner

In my early 30s, after a particularly long string of dates that went nowhere, I wrote a list of my ideal man. Someone who I thought would be perfect for me. Some items were things I merely wanted in a partner, not needed. (For more about knowing what you want in a partner check out this article.) I knew if I ever met the man that met all of my criteria, I had met my soulmate:

1. Good character

2. Laid back

3. Patient

4. Good sense of humor

5. Educated

6. Strong work ethic

7. Ready to settle down

8. Wanted kids

9. In his 30s

10. Not opposed to moving

11. Hispanic and from the Hispanic culture (Puerto Rican would have been ideal)

12. Spoke Spanish fluently

13. Tall

This was my list for an ideal man. Some items were superficial, but everyone has their type for one reason or another. Even as I wrote the list, I had pretty much given up on meeting all of these qualifications in one person. Until Roberto.

He just didn’t have the X factor

Roberto. He was educated, career oriented, laid back, caring. He made jokes and laughed about everything, loved my wit and charm. Roberto was 34 and wanted to settle down to have a family. He was open to moving anywhere, was originally from Puerto Rico and…was tall.

This combination is about one in a million. (I know, I’ve run the numbers.)

Our first date was for coffee, something easy. I anticipated meaningful conversation, staring into each other’s eyes, and falling irrevocably in love.

But, as we talked and joked, it didn’t feel right; I wasn’t into him. I went to the bathroom to regroup, and checked off every quality on my mental list of my ideal man. I thought about his smile, oh what a smile, and his degree, and his Spanish, and that he wanted kids…but I couldn’t force it.

The X factor was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what more I needed. I mean, he met EVERYTHING on my list, but there was something that just wasn’t there. He was right for me on paper, but just not who I needed in person.

Then I met the X factor

I grew up in Texas. I have a specific idea of how Texas men are. While they are southern gentlemen, wonderful, kind, resourceful and intelligent, I did not want a Texas man.

Until I met Andrew. He had the major qualities I looked for in a partner:

Good character
Strong work ethic and life purpose
Unselfish and generous
Laid back and has a sense of humor
the x-factor

But, he was not Hispanic, was not tall, and would not move out of Houston. And even further away from my list of an ideal man, he was a Texas man through and through: guns, trucks, hunting and hot sauce. Everything I had avoided dating since my early 20s.

And even though he was the opposite of my dream man, the moment we met I was hooked. There were so many things that I enjoyed about being around him, but there was something more. I could never quite put my finger on it. I can’t name the quality that he had, but I still remember how he made me feel.  It was something strong enough that I shred my list of an ideal man and use it as confetti to celebrate him.

How the X factor can be dangerous

Will met Marcy and instantly fell for her. They had a lot in common, jui jit su, war movies, and her. He really liked her, and she really liked herself too. Because of his infatuation he didn’t notice the way she insulted him at first.

Then, he excused the insults with statements like, “she doesn’t mean it; I know she cares about me; she’s going through a hard time.”

Finally, his self-esteem started to drop. He would ask me questions like, “Am I attractive? Do you think I’m smart?” Things that he had never doubted in our 4 year friendship.

He finally woke up and realized what he was putting up with. He put on his big boy pants and ended the relationship. It was hard for him; she had his X factor. And he loved her for it, but he finally saw that no matter how much he loved her, she was not good for him.

As we get to know people, it is so important to pay attention to their character. We must see and listen as people show us and tell us who they are. Don’t look past what a person reveals of themselves, just because they have that infatuating X factor.

The X Factor Wrap Up

The X Factor is one of the magical, wonderful and elusive parts of dating. It’s hard to find and impossible to pinpoint, but don’t give up. Your X Factor woman or man is out there waiting to for you to find them.

What do you think? Have you ever met someone that had something undeniable about them, but you just can’t explain what?

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Article written by:

I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

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