Picky or Prudent? How to Understand if Your Standards are Too High

Sometimes, it seems like everyone and their brother in our social circle have successfully found a life-mate or at least a satisfying dating relationship, while we are struggling along in our singleness. And I think most of us who have been unlucky in love start to ask ourselves at some point whether our standards for potential significant others are too high.

It might be the case that you do know what you want in a date and that it’s rather difficult to find. If you find yourself in this boat, it might be a good time to ask whether you’re being too picky with these standards, or if you’re just being sensible and prudent in your love life.

Always The Delicate Balancing Act

Always The Delicate Balancing Act

There’s no absolute right answer to the question of whether you’re being too picky when it comes to your dating standards.

Because on the one hand, you absolutely should have standards. No need to date just anyone. You’re entitled to preferences, and you certainly should be seeking someone who will treat you well, is trustworthy, mature, and able to ultimately help you get to heaven. That’s the end goal, right?

But on the other hand, are you finding something wrong with just about every person you could potentially date? Sure, preferences are fine, but do you ever notice that you seem to have way more of them than your friends do?

Try asking yourself what your standards and criteria for a date are based on. If you notice that most of them are based on internal traits that have to do with a person’s character, you’re probably on the right track and can blame your trouble with finding someone suitable on good-ol’ Adam and Eve for messing the world up.

But then, if you find that your criteria are largely based on things like physical characteristics, finances, background, or social status, you might want to think about going outside your comfort zone and taking a chance on someone who doesn’t fit all of your ideals.

You never know, God might have someone very surprising in store for you, and you wouldn’t want to miss him or her simply because you’re too set on what you think you want.

What Does it Mean to “Settle”?

What Does it Mean to Settle?

I think most of us cringe a little when we think of the word “settle” in relation to our dating life and future marriage. There’s a reason for that or a few reasons. One of them is that we would hate to learn that the person we’re dating is “settling” for us. And another, even bigger reason is that we’re made for much more than settling.

It’s true that we all face trials and suffering in life, but God created us for happiness. He created us to try our best in every area of life, not to say, “Meh, this is good enough.”

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Pope St. John Paul II, on this very subject: “Do not be afraid. Do not settle for mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Now, chances are, St. JPII wasn’t thinking about dating standards and the like when he said this, but it should give pause for thought. We should never let our fear of not finding someone make us settle for a person who is not a great fit for us. Be bold and hold out for someone who really can be a helpmate for you and ultimately get you to Heaven.

The Question of Time

The Question of Time

This is all fine and well, but maybe it’s just not happening. Maybe you know your bendable criteria and your absolute dealbreakers, and now time is ticking. Perhaps you’re beginning to get discouraged, or desperate.

Despite the millions of reasons suggesting that you must find your future spouse in the next year, or month (or even week!), the pressure of time is probably not as significant as it seems.

Maybe you’re the last of your friends to still be single. Maybe you can feel the close of your child-bearing years creeping in, or you worry about being too old to chase kids around. Or maybe it’s just the pressure of years of loneliness and the desire to finally find some companionship.

But any of these very legitimate pressures do not make a certain timeline absolutely necessary. And I don’t want to flippantly throw out a “God’s timing is always perfect” cliche, but we have to consider that it’s probably said so often because it’s true.

You don’t hear a lot of people going through divorces lamenting that they took too much time deciding if the person was right for them. More often than not, they regret rushing into things.

So don’t let the pressure of time make you bend on what you know you need. Trust God’s plan and timing. And, when you notice yourself feeling desperate, ask Him humbly to speed things up if at all possible.