You know - and your friends tell you too - that you are smart, attractive and good at your work. But despite so many obvious qualities, you are still single while those far less eligible than you are getting on with their second babies and suburban homes. Even though you never wanted to settle down to a quiet married life, perhaps you wonder now and then if you are going wrong somewhere. Perhaps it lies in the huge checklist of must-haves that you consult before deciding to date anyone. So read these signs and find out if you are being too picky with dating men.
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Your checklist hasn’t change in the last five years.
When you started dating you probably had a list of all the kinds of guys you wouldn’t be caught dead with, like somebody who wore green or parted his hair in the middle. But if the all-important list hasn’t been edited in the last five years, you are probably holding on to rather skewed notions of what is important in a partner. Try to understand that priorities change over time and what mattered terribly when you very young should not continue to hold your current priorities hostage. For instance in your twenties, you may have discounted all men who had children from previous marriages or drove tiny cars. But now you may come across someone who makes you feel good about yourself and yet is a single dad. At this stage of your life examine what you really need from a relationship and stick to that. This will not only prevent you from being picky about unnecessary things but will help you to be clear on what exactly are your expectations from a potential partner.
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You cannot look beyond the physical.
While almost everyone agrees that beauty is only skin-deep, still many potential relationships fall victim to excuses like “he is not tall enough” or “he weighs on the heavier side”. If you keep refusing dates solely on the basis of what a person looks like, you are pretty soon going to run out of choices. This is because no one guy is that perfect. Moreover the Adonis lookalike you are searching for may inhabit only the rarefied worlds of modeling and films or have his physical preferences in girls set equally high. Finally, six pack abs won’t be much comfort when you are down with flu or solace when you lose a family member.
You reject anyone not conforming to your “type”.
You may think this is a good way of saving time and energy instead of wasting a perfecting nice Saturday evening and then finding out you have nothing in common with your date. After all if you are passionate about activities like mountain-hiking or wind-surfing why should you look at someone who is avowedly not the “outdoor” type? Because he may have some other quality way more important in a relationship. A guy who is otherwise not too keen to move further than his own backyard may still wow you with his wit and keep your family in splits with his zany sense of humor. Finally you just might decide that a man who can see the funnier side of life is worth more as a companion that someone who merely sees you as a jogging partner.
You focus on the non-essentials.
It is a good thing to be choosy especially if you are looking for a long term relationship. But rather than rejecting a potential date for inconsequential things like the weird way he laughs or the terrible old-fashioned watch he has on, focus on what you actually want in a partner like common aspirations for the future or the ability to take mature decisions. “People are looking at the wrong things”, says Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough and continues that “they are too picky about the things that are not important and not enough about the things that are”.
You are waiting for magic.
Lots of women pay only a cursory glance at potential partners before declaring that “he just does not attract me”. While sexual magnetism is definitely a plus in relationship it is not the only thing or even the first thing you should look for. Qualities like compassion, mutual compatibility and emotional maturity are equally if not more important if you want your partner to be there after the initial thrill is gone. This is not to say that you should give up on passion or chemistry but only that the prospect of a good relationship would not hit you like a bolt of lightning as soon you walk up to your date and that you have to at least give it a chance to develop.
You give no time for a person to reveal his character.
What you see on an online dating profile is merely the objective characteristics of a potential date – that he is just five feet seven and is wearing a bow tie. If this is enough to make you reject him, hold on. Can you really decide if these are enough to make him bad relationship material? Unless you give this guy a chance to meet you the second time, how can you know that he has a great way with kids and that you both share certain basic moral values. These subjective qualities can only emerge in two or more encounters and should you happen to discount a guy on the basis of mere objective qualities, you may be letting a potential relationship slip through your picky fingers.
There is nothing wrong in setting high standards while looking for a partner. After all if you want a relationship to stand the test of time, you are entitled to check for mutual compatibility and sexual chemistry. The problem occurs when you confuse the non-essentials with what is actually important and tend to waste too many opportunities focusing on the superficial while losing out on the ones which may make for a meaningful relationship.