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Having high standards and knowing your worth are important factors in finding the right partner. However, there’s a difference between being picky in ways that serve you well and being picky in ways that keep you single.
For example, you’ll benefit from being cautious about who you date, getting to know someone at an appropriate pace, and ensuring you’re not settling or ignoring red flags. On the flip side, your love life will be hindered by the type of pickiness that creates walls and judgments, and keeps connections from growing.
Often pickiness stems from the fear of getting hurt. Although you may really want a relationship, the terrifying feelings associated with intimacy cause you to put your guard up and not get too close to others, resulting in extreme pickiness. Also having too many options, especially in the online dating world, can work against you and bring out problematic pickiness.
So, how do you know if you’re too picky?
Since barely anyone can make it past your overly high standards, you tend to spend your time alone rather than in relationships. But it’s not just you. A survey by the University of Western Sydney of single people ages 21 to 76 found that women are way pickier than men in 20 categories.
And many of these things don’t matter when it comes to long-term compatibility and relationship success. Whether they are superficial preferences, such as hair color or the types of movies someone enjoys, you become laser-focused on small differences or things you would like to change in a potential partner.
While you rationally know these things don’t make or break relationships, you struggle unsuccessfully to get past them. Your mind is constantly on alert for more cons or reasons not to date this person.
And this equates to you quickly ruling out potential partners online or disqualifying them after only one date. For example, maybe they’re college educated, but they didn’t go to a school as academically challenging as the one you attended. Maybe they come from divorced parents, and you picture your ideal partner having a loving intact family.
Your mind is good at zeroing in on details and finding faults, big and small, in anyone. You blow things out of proportion, transforming tiny attributes into dealbreakers. You nitpick every little thing on a dating profile or in an online message and even cancel dates for silly reasons.
And you’re easily bored on dates. It’s nearly impossible to feel a spark because your standards are too high for others to meet. You expect perfection or close to it. Post-date, you tend to overanalyze and often find yourself feeling neutral, disinterested, or turned off.
If you do give potential partners more than one chance, your feelings don’t progress after multiple dates. Maybe you agree to go on a second, third, or fourth date, but, despite being physically present, you’ve already made up your mind and nothing really changes from date to date. You’re pretty checked out.
You’ll only date people who are your “type.” You have a picture in your head of your perfect person, and you don’t let anyone in who isn’t an exact replica of this person. Having a type may actually be a way to make dating feel more comfortable by looking for familiarity and control. It’s important to remember that not everyone who is your type will be compatible with you.
Plus, you may think you know what you want, but often the narratives we create aren’t in line with the people who are actually healthy for us. It’s best to hone in on qualities that your ideal partner will have while letting go of a specific type.
You want a relationship, but you can’t seem to find the right person. You may not intentionally believe people are disposable, but you’re quick to rule people out, whether it’s after one date or a couple of months.
When you reject someone, it’s not because of a real dealbreaker (for example, you want kids and he doesn’t), but rather you don’t feel much of a connection or attraction. No one ever seems to be good enough.
And you refuse to give attraction time to grow. You expect to be blown away instantly, especially when it comes to physical chemistry. If you don’t feel a strong pull toward your date initially, it feels impossible for you to recover and build interest.
The belief that attraction should be instant causes you to weed people out prematurely. Can you open yourself up to the fact that you have more control over who you are attracted to than you may think, especially if you give it time?
And you think anything else isn’t enough. You expect your love story to be as powerful, dramatic, and romantic as the one portrayed in “The Notebook.” You crave an epic story. In fact, how you meet and other components in your love story are overly important to you.
The fantasies that emerge from pop culture and movies actually work as a disadvantage as you set yourself up for disappointment and unrealistic expectations.
It’s essential to have standards, know your value, and take red flags seriously, but believing in a one-and-only soul mate is bound to mess up your love life. If you believe in “The One,” you’re going to be overly selective and miss out on great opportunities.
Whether it feels like fear or anxiety, something about romantic relationships leave you feeling uneasy.
Being vulnerable is challenging for you, so being picky is a defense mechanism and keeps you safe in many ways. Without judging yourself, commit to healing and resolving your fears, so you can truly be open to love.
Being overly rigid and judgmental can result in a lonely life while being smart about dating will hopefully lead you to an amazing relationship. It’s important to reflect on the type of partner and relationship you want and have the confidence to believe that you can achieve it while balancing your desires with healthy expectations and openness.