As children watching fairytales we all knew the standard ‘list’ for our princess or prince – handsome, beautiful, brave, sweet, smart, kind and willing of course to conquer any dragon or sleep for as long as possible until loves first kiss.

As adults, however,  the job became twice as hard, after years of ups and downs, life lesson, fears and disappointments, we created the ‘perfect partner list’ – one that generally doubled that of our childhood selves .

We have all been guilty of this list…some of us for years.

Each year we say ‘this will be different, I just want that nice partner to settle down with’ and with those magic words – subscriptions on tinder, RSVP & EHarmony go into overdrive…

I wonder, if the problem is that we are just too picky with our list, or, in fact, is the problem that we as single women, or men for that matter, start getting so scared of loneliness that we forget about our list the minute we meet a guy? Are we picky or just petrified?

I once heard about a woman who’s list for the ‘perfect man’ went for 20 pages! She didn’t just have points, she had sub points under her points and as I sat there listening to her story I thought to myself, there is no way she could actually believe that the man exists – then I took a step back to look at my own – he must be loyal, kind, affectionate, hard-working, educated, family orientated – and the list went on…and on.

As children we idolised prince charming, he was handsome, courageous, and would do anything for his princess, we were not afraid to fall in love with prince charming because thanks to an endless collection of fairytales we knew what the ending would look like.

Yet as we got older, not only did we see the prince different but we stopped being the princess all at the same time.

We became more independent so that we are no longer reliant and can leave at any time, slightly more controlling so that (slightly naively) nothing can ever go wrong and we are no longer in ‘need’ of much – yet our list grows.

Perhaps the truth is that the ‘list’ is simply a metaphor for the armour that we took from the prince for ourselves a little – because in the end the one thing we cannot ‘control’ and no list can beat is the day your heart melts and you (if you let yourself) fall in love.