The other day, I was commenting with friends about how sometimes in the Dating Game you can get caught up in the games and lose sight of the end goal. It is quite common to get wrapped up in the fun of 20 questions and veer off course from your initial objective. When this happens, you might feel as if you are shopping for a car without knowing what specifications you need. That is a tell-tale sign that it is time to take a break and regroup.

No one goes out to test drive cars without having a budget and knowing the basic qualifications they need from a vehicle. Similarly, in dating it would be helpful to have a top-five list of characteristics you are looking for in a mate. Without this list, it is very easy to wind up way off course distracted by great eye-candy that has little if any long-term potential. To avoid going for the 2-seater Miata when you really need the SUV that can carry a family around, allow yourself some time to carefully think through what the real objective is in engaging in the whole dating exercise.

Some people may just be in the market for a weekend car-rental; others may be ready to negotiate a long-term lease; and then there are those rare gems that are prepared to embark in a commitment for an out-right purchase. You just need to be honest with yourself to know the category you fall into, and then seek out those in a similar place. Then, not to be crass, but it really is helpful to have a realistic budget. Too many out there seem to have a champagne taste while working on a beer budget. All I can say is why even bother trying to negotiate a test drive on a Porsche when you know you can’t even afford the insurance on it?