Tall. Handsome. Sweet. Strong. Smart. Responsible. Respectful. All things we as women have listed when asked what we want in a guy. That clearly defined list can sometimes get a bit…ahem…skewed when that hot guy across the room shoots you a 100 mega-watt smile. This back and forth tends to not only be super confusing for us ladies, but also imagine how confusing it can be for guys!

We have all the tear-jerking, swoon-causing examples of what the “perfect man and relationship” look and feels like, courtesy of Disney and Lifetime Television. Sharon, from Adams Morgan said, “I think every woman wants that Cinderella type of romance. Maybe not the dress, but definitely the guy and the castle.” We just need to come to grips with real-life. Here’s a few ways to begin:

1. Be realistic.

Ladies, say it with me…Cinderella is not real…Cinderella is not real. It’s called a fairy tale for a reason. Granted, the story tapers off after the whole magic pumpkin, obnoxious dress and Prince Charming thing. For all we know “Cindy” could have gained like 100 pounds after popping out a few kids, Prince Charming started to step out on her and they ended up on some royal counselors couch right before the divorce.

The point is if you have an unrealistic and overblown idea of what Mr. Wonderful looks and feels like, how will you be able to see him when he walks in for real?

2. What are you bringing to the table?

This may be hard to hear, but you can’t spout off this long list of requirements for your potential suitor and not meet any of the same requirements.

You can’t spout off this long list of requirements for your potential suitor and not meet any of the same requirements! This means, if you are looking for a man that has two PHD’s, three houses in the Hamptons and a membership to Mensa, you need to have the same level of drive. Not saying that any man or woman can’t be compatible in spite of these things. Not at all; but if he is sitting at the table across from you talking about Putin and you keep correcting him to say pudding, there’s a major problem there.

If you want a smart guy that is a food connoisseur and loves fine dining, buy the books, watch the shows and make sure you know all about it too!

3. Slow down

Nothing scares a guy off faster than a woman that sits down at the table on their first date and starts planning their wedding. Seriously? I’m sure you want a long-term relationship that leads to marriage, but on the first dates you should be focusing on getting to know one another, not picking china patterns. Focus on seeing if you two can build a good friendship to compliment the romantic side. After all, you will need that to make a good marriage.

4. DO NOT bend on the basics!

What are the basics? Respect, compassion, and empathy…you know all those things normal decent human beings possess?

Under no circumstances should you ever compromise your dignity for anyone. If he is in anyway rude or disrespectful to you, don’t make excuses for it. The first time it happens, it’s done. You have control over how you are treated. Point blank. A ring and your vagina will not change him.

No one is saying that those real-life fairy tale moments don’t happen…because they do. You just should go into your next encounter with realistic expectations. Not saying your prince isn’t out there, you just have to be able to clearly see him!

Good luck princesses!