The older I get, the more I am realizing that dating isn't for the faint of heart, or the ill-equipped. Despite swearing off dating to go on sabbatical, I ended up waving my Hot Girl Summer freak flag pretty proudly as I found myself going on quite a few first dates. The song and dance was the same. Girl meets boy over dating app by swiping right, we converse for about a week, and decide to go on a date. Sparks fly for one party but I'm left slightly underwhelmed. And the connection is started and stopped there.

I was today-years-old when I realized that the root of my dating issues and hot and cold feelings towards people I felt lukewarm about was, in essence, a result of not knowing what I want because of standards that were too easily met by any human walking this earth with a job and some coins to rub together. Sure, I know that I'd love to be married one day, but in order to get to that destination, I have to at least be headed in the right direction.

The problem was I had no real direction.

Shannon Boodram, who commonly goes by "Shan Boody", is on a mission to empower those willing to learn with the tools to acquire anything they want. In the world according to Shan, the power to have the life you desire is by playing the game effectively, and you can't do that without work or knowledge. In her new book, The Game of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating with Dominance--and Getting What You Want, Shannon presents us with a relationship self-help book like no other that walks us through the different layers of how to level up and operate as our best selves in the digital dating era.

Dating with dominance is about taking your pleasure into your own hands and Shannon teaches us how to do this by passing on knowledge she's acquired about seduction, influence, connection, and flirting based off of 13 years of studying love and relationships as a sex/love expert. "Through that work and some of the books that I read, I was really able to transform my dating life," she shares exclusively with xoNecole. "From 30 until I got married, my love life, my ability to connect, the quality connections I was making had completely done a 180 and the Game of Desire is basically the same thought-child of all of these great books about psychology that really did help transform me."

Bottom line, you can do all the dating in the world, but if you let the wrong players stay in the game when you know they should be on the bench or dropped completely when their stats don't match up to your requirements, you are doing you, your time, and your players a huge disservice.

To remedy that issue, one of the many aspects of connection The Game of Desire touches on is the concept of a Frozen Five, the new standard for standards, which by all accounts is an absolute dating game-changer.

Here's why:

WTF is a Frozen Five?

Shannon defines a "Frozen Five" as the five standards a person must meet in order to qualify in your life as a potential long-term connection. The concept acts as a marker for what you allow in your space and what you deem deserving of your effort and energy. Shannon likened the fact that the "five" are deemed "frozen" due to the fact that they are non-negotiable and therefore should be regarded as basic requirements.

"Basic requirements means, 'Do not apply if you don't have this shit,'" she explains. "This is what you are going to require at minimum to be eligible to be considered for this opportunity [of dating me], and your Frozen Five is exactly that. Here's what is required of you at minimum to partner with me."

An Effective Frozen Five vs. Ineffective Frozen Five 

The difference between an effective Frozen Five and an ineffective Frozen Five sometimes are "ideals". Therefore, Shannon believes an effective Frozen Five summarizes what you need in order to be successful with you, meaning choosing a partner that makes you proud to be you, while an ineffective Frozen Five means choosing a partner that you would be proud to be with.

"Idealistically, sure I would like a partner who makes seven figures. But if I really think about what satisfies me in a relationship and what makes me my best self—the version of me that I love being when I go to bed at night and I'm like, 'Today was a great day. I love to being me today'—the way that somebody looks and how much money they make could be cool things, but actually they're not that important to me."

She continues, "What's more important is that I'm with a partner who uplifts and supports me, and just part of my Frozen Five is I need somebody who's supportive of my work and of my good news; somebody who makes me feel proud of the accomplishments I made. I also need somebody who is securely attached because I'm a very flirtatious person and if I'm in a relationship with somebody who is helicoptering over, and you're telling me what not to do, it really gets my defenses up and it makes me very angsty; I can't enjoy my life or be my full expression of me in that kind of relationship. So as much as yes, it would be great to have somebody who makes a ton of money and looks really great and is going to be a handyman around the house, in truth, those things are bonuses versus integral."

How to Create Your Frozen Five

The Frozen Five's origin stems from The Science of Happily Ever After by Dr. Ty Tashiro, a book that inspired Shannon to compile a list of 26 traits that are essential to any romantic bond. What constitutes as your Frozen Five might vastly differ from person to person, but the purpose is to define your personal five by arranging the list of 26 things from most important to least important. To narrow your list down to your Frozen Five, play around with the order by writing them down on a piece of paper or on index cards and shuffle them around.

The list is as follows:

  • Agreeable (easy to get along with)
  • Emotionally stable
  • Securely attached
  • High novelty-seeking
  • Supportive/happy for good news
  • Intelligent
  • Physically attractive
  • Takes responsibility for self
  • Unlikely to withdraw
  • Has similar interests
  • Has similar values
  • Speaks my love language
  • Good life skills (cooking, cleaning, budgeting, etc.)
  • Wants children
  • Sexually compatible
  • Financially well-off
  • Charming/humorous
  • Trustworthy
  • Faithful
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Follows directions/allows others to take the lead
  • Highly ambitious
  • Independent thinker
  • Compatible with my friends and family
  • Excellent conflict-resolution skills
  • Has good relationships with others
  • Speaks my apology language

Of note, there is always freedom to move things around, to shift, and make adjustments as you see fit while you get out there and explore. You can potentially value one thing more in this phase of your life than you do another in the next two months. So although the term is "Frozen Five", don't feel like your values are immovable.

Just like love languages, apology languages, and attachment styles, these things are subject to change as you learn, grow, and experience more life and love. "You're not making a solid set in stone list. This is not the 10 commandments that cannot change. This is going to evolve as you evolve and you can do this as many times as you want to," Shannon echoed.

What I found interesting is that before reading this book, I had been doing my standards all the way wrong. Whereas I thought things like my partner having a good job, having a car, being able to afford to date me were all important things to me, or standards if you will, I realized through reading Shannon's breakdown that it wasn't specific enough and could essentially be a one-size-fits-all where any guy that applied could have an opportunity to be with me. Furthermore, when I did my own list, "financially well-off" was way down the list.

In order to gain clarity about my direction in dating and finding meaningful connections and partnerships was to think about the things that established a foundation for a relationship and thereby relational happiness for me. Those things are as follows:

  • Faithfulness
  • Sexual compatibility
  • Speaks my love language
  • Supportive/happy for my good news
  • High novelty-seeking

All other applicants need not apply.

If you want to find out more about Frozen Five and how to create the second step of this exercise, be sure to cop Shannon's book The Game of Desire, out now. And follow her on Instagram.

Featured image by Maya Washington for Shan Boodram/Instagram

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