Am I too picky?

Dear Michele,
My family and friends are telling me that I’m just too picky. I’m in my late thirties and I’ve never been married. I’ve had two long-term boyfriends, but both relationships just didn’t seem strong enough to move into marriage. I’m not interested in dating men that already have children. Does that make me too picky? I’d like to meet someone who has never been married, but understand at my age I may need to compromise. It’s hard to find someone that I’m attracted to and the timing is right. I don’t really have a “pattern,” other than having years of just casual dates that never materialize into relationships. I want someone who is strong in his faith, wants children, with high morals and integrity. He doesn’t have to make lots of money, just be passionate about what he does or at least have a dream he is chasing.

Am I asking too much?

Am I Too Picky?

Dear Am I Too Picky?

I don’t know if you are too picky, but if it’s a general theme you are hearing from multiple sources, then maybe it’s worth it to give it a good think. And, I see by your letter you may be starting down that road. I’m assuming your friends and family are trying to be helpful, so their observations may point out something you don’t see.

It’s not a blanket statement: just because you haven’t met someone does not necessarily mean you are too picky. Meeting the right person is hard. Just plain hard. It seriously amazes me any time two human beings meet, both like each other, are attracted to each other, and want to make the crazy commitment of spending their lives together. It really doesn’t make sense. And in the end, it always involves a leap of faith. There is no silver bullet, no secret recipe that will protect you from heartache. I know, I’m supposed to tell you I have that recipe. I know some great ingredients, like honesty, loyalty, dedication, shared values, shared interests, similar life goals, shared faith, etc. But exactly how all those things come together for a couple is really in God’s hands. It’s a living miracle, every day.

Why am I telling you about taking a leap of faith? Because I suspect the label of being “too picky” may mean that you have some (unspoken) fears about commitment. You may be saying, “what, me? I WANT to get married.” Yes, I understand. But there may be some lurking thoughts or fears you are not acknowledging to yourself. You may be afraid of being stuck or bored. Or being too much in love and getting hurt. Or being abandoned. Or being smothered. Only you know. Mediate on what comes up for you when you think about marriage. Not the gooey, romantic, idealized dream, but the reality of what you saw in your parents’ marriage or your friends’ marriages. I would imagine there may be a lot you don’t want to see. Take some time to sit in your own silence, and concentrate on your feelings. Bring this time to God and ask him to reveal anything to you that you cannot see. Ask for his discernment and guidance.

And then, let go and fully embrace not being in control. You have no other choice but recognize you can’t make the man show up, and you can’t make the man be all that you want him to be. He can only be human, like each of us. Flaws and imperfections and all. And from that perspective, you may find dating to be more relaxing and less cumbersome. If you’re not attracted, you are simply not attracted, not much you can do. But do give each date your time and attention, and release the need to know how it’s all going to work out. You may meet a friend; you may meet a husband for a friend. However your next dating encounter works out, know you can find a man with the items you listed, the packaging may just look a lot different than you expected.

Good luck and God Bless!

Michele Fleming, M.A.