Welcome to CarpeDM’s Black Women Deserve Series: Empowering our community one class at a time. This is a video series curated exclusively for the CarpeDM community where industry experts share advice aimed at helping our members improve their dating lives and find love.
After being depressed, broken-hearted, unfulfilled, and having to rebuild her life, Erin F. Darden, an emotional intelligence coach and relationships expert, started her coaching business based on the lessons, skills, behaviors, and tools she acquired while creating a life that she loves. And now she’s sharing those lessons with the CarpeDM Community; starting with how improving your emotional intelligence can help you attract the perfect mate.
In her five part video series, Erin delves into the comfortable and uncomfortable truths we need to realize about ourselves to cultivate healthy dating experiences and positive relationship outcomes. For many singles, conversations around finding the perfect mate start with external factors and revolve around what the other person has to offer. But Erin recommends a different approach: “The first step in attracting the perfect mate is knowing who you are and what you have to offer.”
Ready to learn how? Let’s dive into the series!
Lesson #1: Know Your Worth
Erin kicks off the series by discussing how to build a healthy relationship, explaining that you first have to know what you bring to the table. Why is evaluating your worth and identifying the characteristics that make you a desirable partner the foundational step of finding your perfect mate? Because it will help you determine if you’re even ready for a relationship. Erin explains that the exercise of evaluating yourself results in one of four outcomes: you undervalue yourself, overvalue yourself, accurately value yourself, or are dissatisfied with what you have to offer.
Remember, as you evaluate your characteristics, try to assess how they may both positively and negatively impact your relationship. Doing this can give you a more accurate perspective on your worth and the steps to a good relationship with your partner. Use Erin’s “Know Your Worth” worksheet to get started.
So, now that you’ve evaluated your self-worth, it’s time to identify your relationship goals.
Lesson #2: Relationship Goals
In this class, Erin helps you individually define what a healthy relationship looks like. Erin explains that to set appropriate relationship goals, you need to describe your ideal relationship in as much detail as possible. Lay-out your expectations when it comes to career goals, marriage, intimacy, children, and spending habits; these elements can determine whether you and your partner are compatible and minimize relationship red flags and deal-breakers. Setting smart goals for communication and relationship building not only allow you to have a standard, but also, defining your ideal relationship gives you something to shoot for. If you don’t set relationship couple goals you may end up accepting any relationship somebody offers and as Erin says, “we ain’t doing that, sis!”
Erin provides a worksheet to help you create reasonable relationship goals by delving into important compatibility questions most people overlook until they turn into relationship deal breakers, like:
These ‘tough’ questions are just as important as the more common ones we tend to explore early in our relationships, like whether your partner wants to get married and have children. Erin shares you should always be discussing these difficult questions with your partner –– not just in the beginning of your relationship, but throughout your courtship and even when you’re married.
So, take the time to define your relationship goals, prioritize what’s most important to you, and identify your non-negotiables to avoid entertaining someone who is clearly not your perfect mate.
Lesson #3: Building The Perfect Mate
How do you know when you’ve found the perfect mate? In the third class of this series, Erin explains how to identify the right person to build a healthy relationship with.
When you’re in the initial stages of dating and getting to know someone, you’re often concerned about whether they will be attracted to you or if you’re going to be good enough. While those thoughts are natural, Erin challenges you to evaluate and determine whether or not a potential mate is even worth your time. If you completed the first two lessons in the series, you already know your worth and relationship goals. Now, it’s time to figure out if your potential mate deserves you. The answer depends on whether or not they can give you what you need in a relationship.
For example, Erin says, “If you say you need emotional support, what does it look like? How can your mate support you emotionally? Does that mean you need a shoulder to cry on? Or does that mean that you need somebody to come over and hold you?”
As you identify your needs, remember that relationships have to be mutually beneficial. While a partner should be able to give you what you need, you have to make sure that you can also give them what they need. When you’re able to meet each other’s needs, then you’re able to build a healthy relationship. This is the key to knowing whether a partner is the perfect mate – “a keeper” as Erin puts it.
Lesson #4: Who Do You Need to Be to Attract the Perfect Mate? (Becoming your perfect mate’s perfect mate)
Love is a two-way street. Once you’ve identified the things that make someone your perfect mate, it’s time to work on the things that will make you their perfect partner.
As Erin explains, “To attract the perfect mate, you’re going to have to make sure that you are matching the energy that you’re looking for.” You’ve heard of the famous saying “you attract what you are, not what you want.” “If you want somebody kind and gentle, are you a good person, or are there things about your attitude that you need to work on?” asks Erin. “Everything that you ask of your partner, you should be able to do for yourself.”
Bottom line, if you want a great partner, you have to be just as great before you embark on that relationship. You have to continually work to be the best partner you can be, and not get distracted or waste your time with anybody you know is not your ideal mate.
We all have shortcomings we need to work on, and while you should expect patience and understanding from your partner while you work on your issues, you should be able to provide them with the same love and patience. Think about your insecurities and whether or not those insecurities from previous relationships are impacting your ability to be your perfect mate’s perfect mate. Erin says, “your new partner shouldn’t be punished for things that your previous partners did. You have to give a new mate a chance.”
Lesson #5: How to Spot a Keeper
Let’s say you know your worth, you can define what a healthy relationship looks like for you, you know what your perfect mate looks like, and you’ve identified the personal behaviors you need to work on – what do you do with all this information?
In her fifth class, Erin provides the final exercise to ensure you know how to spot a keeper. The class includes a three-part test to help you determine if the next person you meet is your perfect mate:
Now, you may be asking, why do I need another test? Isn’t it enough to spot a keeper with my list of non-negotiables? Not really. Erin explains, “We want that love that is going to last forever like the 90’s R&B. We don’t want something temporary and stressful.” But once you get lonely and start craving intimacy, it’s easy to start wavering on your standards, so you allow yourself to lower the bar and think about settling; you make excuses, maybe they’re not that ugly, perhaps she can change, etc. This creates opportunities to fall in love with the wrong person, Erin explains.
To help you avoid investing in the wrong person and get the answers you need from a potential keeper, Erin provides a list of questions designed to reveal more substantive things about a person; not just their favorite color (yawn).
Let’s recap what Erin taught us!
Building a foundation for a relationship takes time and effort. Emotionally intelligent relationship partners work on their behavioral issues while building self-confidence, a sense of worth, and avoiding settling for less than they deserve. Remember creating a life that you love and finding a healthy relationship requires making yourself a priority. This is what we call love intelligence, concludes Erin.
Follow Erin F. Darden for and learn more about emotional intelligence and romantic relationships. To access the complete Black Women Deserve series, apply to join CarpeDM, the most exclusive dating community for black professionals.
Seize the Dating!