Balancing expectations and reality in dating can often be like walking a tightrope. It’s important to reflect on your dating standards, understanding if they are well-aligned with the real world or if adjustments might be necessary.
Assessing Your Dating Criteria
Before pointing fingers and declaring your dating standards unreasonably high, evaluate what you seek in a partner. Make a list, but also consider the flexibility within that list. Must your partner tick off all the boxes, or are some qualities negotiable?
Self-Reflection vs. Societal Pressure
Societal norms can sometimes lead us to think we need to have specific criteria in place when choosing a partner. Family, friends, and media messages often influence our perceptions. However, a distinction must be made between societal pressure and personal preference. Being aware of external influences can help you refine your criteria into something that genuinely resonates with you.
Finding Balance Between Ideal and Realistic
There’s a fine line between high standards and unrealistic expectations. High standards relate to core values and fundamental compatibility. In contrast, unrealistic expectations may include conditions that are overly stringent or superficial, such as expecting every date to feel like a romantic movie or meeting a millionaire.
The Role of Physical Attraction
Physical attraction is a natural part of the equation, but problems arise when it becomes the only factor. If you’re turning down potential partners solely based on appearance, consider expanding your criteria. Think about traits like compatibility, common interests, and emotional connection as well.
Time Factor: Rushing vs. Waiting
The urgency to find a partner can both raise and lower your standards. Some people fear being alone so much that they’re willing to overlook significant issues, while others may set their criteria so high that nobody can reach them in a reasonable amount of time.
Emotional Baggage and Past Relationships
Often, individuals carry emotional baggage that manifests as high dating standards. If you’ve been hurt before, you may set stringent rules as a defense mechanism to protect yourself from future pain.
Don’t Project Past Relationships Onto New Ones
It’s essential not to let your previous relationships color your current expectations. If you’re setting your standards based on past experiences, you might miss out on genuinely good matches.
Flexibility in Your Standards
One of the keys to successful dating is adaptability. While it’s important to know what you want, being too rigid can lead to missed opportunities.
Be Open to Surprises
Life is unpredictable. The person who captures your heart may not come in the package you expected. Remain open to the possibility that someone different could still meet your core needs and provide a fulfilling relationship.
Evaluate But Don’t Settle
There is a difference between reevaluating your standards and settling for less than you deserve. Never compromise your core values or accept toxic behavior for the sake of a relationship.
Compatibility Over Perfection
The idea of a “perfect match” can be misleading. Instead, aim for compatibility. Realistically assess whether a potential partner aligns with your life goals, emotional needs, and lifestyle.
Mutual Respect and Communication
One of the most overlooked factors when people set their dating standards is the quality of communication and mutual respect between both parties. You might seek someone who’s good-looking or successful but overlook how well they can communicate or show respect. If you find that you have been sidelining these qualities, it might be useful to reassess what you truly need in a relationship.
Soft Skills Matter
In the long run, soft skills such as empathy, active listening, and effective communication can play a significant role in a relationship’s success. These skills can foster a healthy emotional environment, making it easier to navigate through conflicts and misunderstandings.
It’s not unusual for people to have standards relating to their potential partner’s financial stability. However, this criterion varies widely among individuals and can sometimes border on unrealistic. If financial stability is a must-have, it’s important to define what that means to you, keeping in mind that financial circumstances can change.
Relevance of Financial Compatibility
Financial compatibility doesn’t necessarily mean looking for someone who earns as much as you do or more. It’s more about finding someone whose financial goals, spending habits, and attitudes toward money are compatible with yours.
Attraction Beyond The “Type”
We often hear that everyone has a “type” they are attracted to, which might consist of specific physical attributes or personality traits. If you find yourself exclusively dating within a narrow definition of your “type,” you might be inadvertently setting your standards too high in a way that limits your choices.
Look Beyond the Checklist
Having a list of attributes you seek in a partner isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also not a guarantee of compatibility or relationship success. Sometimes attraction grows over time, and someone who didn’t initially catch your eye could end up being a great match for you.
Reassessing your dating standards does not mean lowering them but rather optimizing them for a more achievable and satisfying love life. Being clear on your needs is key, but it’s equally important to align those needs with reality.
Bob Duncan is the lead writer and partner on ConversationsWithBianca.com. A passionate parent, he’s always excited to dive into the conversation about anything from parenting, food & drink, travel, to gifts & more!