Are you single and dating?
If so, you may be plagued with the question, “Am I too picky?”
Perhaps it’s something your friends have told you over and over. Or maybe it’s the high standards you set for yourself.
You want to be in a relationship. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be dating.
On the other hand, you don’t just want the next, easy thing.
You want someone for the long haul.
Which begs the question:
Do you have to be picky when you’re dating?
Here’s what the experts have to say about it.
1. It’s okay to be picky, but don’t be too superficial.
It’s important to have standards. But if your list only constitutes superficial standards, you’re just sabotaging your own love life.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael, a licensed psychologist, says:
“Honestly, I see more women than men get stuck on these type of superficial judgments. Such women usually start by telling me they ‘just don’t have chemistry’ with men who don’t meet a long list of physical qualifications, and I have to remind them that chemistry starts between your ears, so a large part of chemistry can be controlled by what you allow yourself to feel open to experiencing.”
When it comes down to it, it is not physical beauty that sustains a lasting and successful relationship. It’s how your values are aligned.
Dr. Carmichael advises:
“Focus on qualities that generate and sustain chemistry in the long term, like attentiveness, kindness, generosity, and maturity. Your future married self will thank you.”
2. Be “healthy” picky.
Yes, there’s such a thing as being healthy picky and unhealthy picky.
Licensed psychologist Dr. Seth Meyers’ defines both:
Healthy picky: “You’re careful about who you get involved with, taking things slowly in the beginning, not moving into the bedroom too quickly, and remaining on guard for a couple of months or so until you have a sense of who this new person really is. In between relationships, you take some time off and reflect on why the last relationship didn’t work, and after a while you resolve those issues and begin a fresh relationship with someone new.”
Unhealthy picky: “Deep down, you want to be with someone but can’t seem to find the right fit. You spend more time being single than in relationships, and you have a habit of finding a range of faults in prospective dates. You sometimes focus on little things which end up causing the demise of the relationship, and you tell yourself you have a hard time meeting the right one for you because you’re just so…picky.”
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If you find yourself in the unhealthy picky category, you better change your ways soon. Try to be healthy about being picky. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a wonderful opportunity.
As Dr. Meyers’ says:
“Once you find someone you’re compatible with, you actually create a new family. Ultimately, there is nothing more beautiful than having the power to create a new family from scratch.”
3. Don’t compromise your standards.
Being picky does have its own benefits. Especially if it’s such a crucial matter as finding your life partner.
Rom Brafman, psychologist and co-author of Sway and Click says:
“As a therapist, I can’t imagine encouraging a client to date a compromise. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories from clients who settled for someone who’s ‘OK, I guess’ only to end up regretting their decision.
“But I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘Boy, I should’ve settled more. I really should’ve lowered my standards.'”
Here’s the key point, though:
Setting high standards doesn’t give you leave to be a coward.
It may sound counter-intuitive. But Brafman wants you to take the leap anyway.
“It basically means taking a leap. You’re going for your dream partner. It’s like what the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said, you take a leap of faith and you may not make it, but at least you took that leap.
“And here ‘not making it’ simply means dealing with rejection, which makes us stronger in the long-run anyway.”
Have standards, but be open to possibilities.
Being picky doesn’t have to be a negative thing.
It should help guide you towards the partner that will really suit you. Someone you can see your future with.
However, don’t dismiss someone so easily just because they don’t tick some boxes on your list. Give someone a chance to prove their worth.
Don’t be too quick to judge. Instead, take it slow. Get to know someone, maybe try another date with them, just to really see how they are.
Dating should be fun and exploratory. Instead of pressuring yourself to find the perfect partner right now, be open to the possibility of someone surprising you in a good way, instead.
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