“Are my dating standards too high?” Isn’t that what single people who are still looking for partner wonder about themselves?
Self-doubt is definitely one the gruelling parts of being single. First of all, society loves the idea of falling in love and tries to instil that thought as a norm. Having said that, there is a huge pressure for people to find their “one and only”.
Everyone has their own deal-breakers when it comes to dating and choosing a partner. Now, when do those standards start to become too high? In other words, how can one find out whether they are being too picky?
Before jumping to that particular discussion, let’s discuss the main difference between expectations and standards.
Difference Between Expectations and Standards
When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s important to know that there is a difference between standards and expectations.
A standard is usually a bar that you set for yourself. Having said that, you’ll not consider anything below the level that you deem acceptable. Meanwhile, expectation is an outcome that you believe is going to happen.
Sometimes, it’s easier to understand concepts with examples. So, here are two case studies that help to illustrate the difference between standards and expectations.
CASE STUDY 1: Tom Hansen from “500 Days of Summer“
One day, Tom meets a girl by the name of Summer and they instantly connect. However, Summer is a free-spirited gal who said from the get go that she didn’t a serious relationship with Tom. In other words, the girl likes to hang out with Tom, but she doesn’t want to commit.
Tom being the hopeless romantic that he is, continues to pursue Summer, despite of what she said about not wanting anything “serious”. The pair ends up spending quite a large amount of time together but end up splitting after a couple of months.
During this whole time, Tom can’t stop thinking about Summer and how she’s the “one”. After a while, the young man enters into a deep state of depression. Then, Tom goes from being depressed to being angry at Summer for “dumping” him.
NOTE: Is Tom’s anger towards Summer justified? Not really. Here’s the thing: the girl said from the very beginning that she’s not looking for a long-term relationship. So, Summer is not at fault here. Tom is the one who messed up by thinking that she was going to change her ways.
In reality, Summer never saw Tom as the “one” but the latter, had this weird expectation that if he hangs around Summer long enough that she will eventually change her heart. However, she didn’t and Tom felt hurt about it. Tom’s pain from the breakup came from his own unrealistic expectations about his romance / fling with Summer.
CASE STUDY 2: Bridget Jones from “Bridget Jones’ Diary“
Bridget is single lady looking for a partner. On New Year’s Eve, the woman decides that she’s going to: quit smoking, lose some weight and get herself a new man.
At her workplace, Bridget does what many consider to be a big no-no: she falls for her boss, Daniel. The man is a well-know womanizer, but Bridget decides to give him a chance nonetheless. Although Bridget is head over heels for Daniel, the man decides to cheat on her with another woman.
When Bridget finds out the truth about Daniel, she decides to break up with him. Then, Bridget goes one step further and quits her job too. The man tries to woo Bridget back but to no avail.
NOTE: Bridget is someone who is looking for love, but she’s not desperate. Well, dating her boss was probably not the smartest decision that she has ever made but the woman still has some self-respect and standards.
If not cheating was a requirement for their relationship, then Daniel definitely failed the test. To simply put it, the man does not meet Bridget’s standards. In this case, Bridget is not being picky about her matches. The woman knows her own worth: Bridget believes that she deserves someone better than a womanizer like Daniel.
Difference Between Being Picky And Having Standards
So what is the difference between being picky and having standards? People who are picky tend to look at small things instead of focusing on the big picture. Meanwhile, people who have standards are searching for someone that matches their level.
Everybody has a “type” whether they want to admit it or not. Now imagine the following scenario: your potential date / lover is the embodiment of you personal preferences but they have this one flaw. What would you do?
Honestly speaking, there is no such thing as a perfect person. However, it’s still important to evaluate how bad those flaws are. If that one flaw overrides all the other positive aspects about that person, then it’s time to let it go. On the other hand, if that one flaw is does not ruin how you feel about the other person, then go for it.
A picky person will not look at a person as a whole. Instead, they tend to look at the “negatives”. That mindset often leads them to put their potential match in a “trash bin” simply because they don’t meet all of their requirements. That is what being picky means.
Now, a person that has standards is somewhat different. Those people know their worth, hence, they are not willing to settle for anything less than that. Having said that, if you’re truly an wholesome person, wouldn’t you want to settle with someone as wholesome as you?
5 Signs Your Dating Standards Might Be Too High
For those who are still unsure, here is a small list to help you figure it out. Therefore, if you see yourself often in the following situations, chances are that your standards might be indeed too high.
SIGN #1: You have a “must-have list”. According to this check-list your future partner needs to possess a very specific set of physical and emotional attributes, otherwise, they aren’t going to be considered.
SIGN #2: You couldn’t get over “this one thing”. So… you’ve met the most wonderful person, but you ended up calling it quits because there’s this one thing you couldn’t get over. A small bad habit, something that person said or a minor unattractive physical element.
SIGN #3: You have an ideal couple in your head. In every relationship, you’ve tried to emulate a certain couple or compared yourself to them. If you had to choose between being a relationship that doesn’t meet your standards or being single, you would probably choose the latter.
SIGN #4: You have a “zero-tolerance policy” against mistakes. Unfortunately, there’s not much room for your partners to make mistakes. “If they don’t get it by now, they never will”. Right? In your world, relationships are supposed to be hassle-free.
SIGN #5: You are extremely focused on their marriage potential. That’s right, you are not fooling around. You’re looking for the “one and only”. If they are not “marriage material”, then forget about “courtship”. They are out.
It doesn’t take one a long time to realize that this type of mindset is not going to work. Setting all these rigid rules might actually hinder one from finding a real partner.
Some people say “opposites attract”, but that only happens when both parties are open to respect their differences. Most of the times, people that are too different from each other tend to bump heads.
It’s no coincidence, that we tend to feel attracted to people that look like us. Nature programmed us to be that way. So, if you are looking for an athletic type of person, you better be fit too. Similarly, if you looking for someone with really nice facial features (a pretty face), your personal canvas needs to match your demands too.
Now, let’s not bash on couples that have different levels of attractiveness. As a matter, more power to them. However, they do not belong to the norm. In addition, adding certain physical traits to your dating standards is not a shallow move as some might say. At the end of the day, you like what you like. Having said that, why lie to yourself?
General rule of thumb: “you get, what you give”. Those who choose to ignore this principle, please do not act so surprised when you aim for someone who doesn’t match your level (personality or looks) and don’t get what you were looking for.
As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with having dating standards. If you’re a pretty amazing person, then it’s realistic (and reasonable) for you to search for another amazing person. Nonetheless, you’ll never find someone who meets all the requirements.
The key is to look at the overall picture: do the “pros” outweigh the “cons”? If the answer is “yes”, then try to give that person a chance to pursue you. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. In order to succeeded in the quest of finding a good partner, it’s important to be open to compromise on the fact that perfect people do not exist.