Dating for Marriage: Are Your Standards Unrealistic?

Nobody likes the word picky. Picky suggests that there’s something wrong with you, that if you didn’t have such high standards, you’d already be married by now. Picky sounds like your fault. So let’s get away from the word picky.

Today’s Love U Podcast is not going to tell you whether you’re too picky; it will instead let you know whether your choices are effectively helping you get the relationship you desire or, instead, are keeping you away from it.

Watch it on YouTube.

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Join our conversation (4 Comments).
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  1. 1
    Malika With an L

    Evan, your podcasts are a great refresh. This medium provides more room for content and nuance. I hope they are as great a succes for you as the blog posts used to be.

    When I was single, the dating process was also a period of reflection. A chance to ask myself myself how I stood in life. Along the way, one of the biggest revelations was that the more I dared to observe and accept my flaws, the more willing I was to accept those of others. If you refuse to see what your less than desirable traits are yet judge other people for having them, that’s a rabbit hole down into narcissistic loneliness. Otherwise known as Malika’s 20’s.

    Accepting my flaws was also a chance to calmly decide which flaws would really impact me and the quality of the relationship. Did I even see them as flaws? I found out I don’t mind strong know-it-all opinions. Within reason, they can be the beginning of an interesting discussion. I don’t mind him looking at other women. I know he’s devoted to me and since i’m bisexual we can look at them together. Fun! Middle-of-the-road ambition? My goal in life is to be independent and have an interesting career, I can take care of myself. Not everyone would accept these ‘flaws’. They can find their own flavour of compromise. It gave me far more flexibility in dating and paved the way to being with someone I REALLY want to have a relationship with.

    You mentioned that a lot of the make-or-break characteristics are external. I see them as related to status. Generalizing here, but women often fall in love with men who they deem have qualities they secretly wish to acquire or whose career they wish they could pursue. Dating a man who has that desirable trait is the pale imitation of having it yourself. Marrying that man might seem easier to achieve. Asking yourself which traits you find desirable and whether you would be better off developing those traits yourself instead of seeking them into others might lead you down a greater path of self development. It could free you up from restrictive requirements that prevent you from finding the right man for you. Whether it is career, strength, eloquence, monetary succes, independence, creativity or another trait you insist on others having, there is a way of achieving it yourself and letting go of calcifying expectations.

    Signed, A Former Ridiculously Picky Serial Dater and now Very Happy Girlfriend of Handsome Math Nerd Know It All.

  2. 2

    Love the “bigger better” analogy that limits your chances dramatically. It’s also important to be realistic about your own “marketability” for looking for a partner. I see this mis match all the time. Especially in online dating. Too many options and people think all of those profiles are a possible match and they lose perspective. Ie “the heart wants what the heart wants” is recipe for pain if not aligned to your own marketability. Women under 35, childless, beautiful, educated are the holy grail. They will get the lion’s share of emails and they have their pick across the entire male population, regardless of age, education, etc.. The further women get away from this demographic in age, appearance, success, child bearing status (or children of your own already), the fewer choices they have. It’s not fair but it’s the law of the jungle and will not have a shot with the holy grail of men; attractive, educated, under 45, etc. It’s not about “lowering your standards” it’s about realizing your options and making choices aligned with the dating pool available to you and what is reasonable. It’s also important to optimize your “brand” as much as possible; get in shape, read, work on your mental and emotional health so you radiate confidence and feminine energy. It will help expand your options. But men and women have to be critical of their own marketability in the dating pool and choose realistically. That is the biggest obstacle I see in online dating, people not being realistic about their options and aiming way too high.

  3. 3

    There’s nothing wrong with knowing your worth and picking the best mate you can find, and if that means taking years or decades to do so: then do that.

    My mother, my aunts, my cousins, my grandmothers. These women took their time picking a life-mate and as a resut, they ended up with a guy they adore and who treats them like the Queens they are, and their marriages has been lasting longer than the Spanish Democracy, so I believe that women being what many men call ”picky” as much as possible is the secret to having a fulfilling, beautiful, loving marriage.

    Don’t lower your standards and don’t rush to get married just because you are 30 years old and you are still single, and don’t get married to the guy you’re in a relationship with just because he’s there, and you feel like you can’t do better. You can do better. A lot better if that’s what you want.

    And honestly, even if you don’t find that ‘perfect’ husband, and if you end up having no kids, let me tell you that I’ve met far more women who regret getting married and having kids than I’ve met who were happy with their partners.

  4. 4
    Yet Another Guy


    Today’s approach to mate selection for women is not about being selective. It is about being overly selective. How many women who are college graduates will date a non-college graduate? With a graduation rate of three women to every two men, that preference is not a winning strategy. Are women who are college graduates settling if they marry a non-college graduate? Many women will say “yes” to that question. Is woman with a B.S. in woman’s studies better than a man without a degree who has worked hard to become a master electrician and start his own company?

    That being said, most women have no clue as to where they rank in the female social hierarchy, which, in large part, is due to men dating down for sex. Men, in general, do not chose mates based on their status. Men are raised knowing that being taken care of by a woman is probably not going to happen, so a woman’s status does not play into the equation. Men look for other qualities.

    On the other hand, men are acutely aware of their ranking within the male social hierarchy. Having to be the pursuer is a cruel mistress. There used to be a time when being educated and moderately successful was almost a guarantee of a finding a suitable mate for a man. Why? Because women selected mates based on their ability to faithfully provision them and their children. What has happened since women started to go to college and enter the workforce in large numbers is that they are holding on to the old model, but the mate selection process has been kicked up several notches. They want a man who is like them, but better in every dimension. At some point, the pool of men who meet their requirements is so small that they have a greater chance of being struck by a freight train than finding a suitable mate.

    The reality is that dating is an exercise in assortative pairing. Most educated women focus on the top 20% of men. I witnessed that experience when I was in the dating pool. I had no problem meeting women. I met over one hundred women when I was on the dating sites and I could have met a multiple of that number had I not become very selective. On the other hand, most of the single men I knew who were on dating sites struggled to get to the meet-and-greet stage. Modern dating is land of haves and have-nots for men. A man who is in the top twenty percent literally has his pick of women. My date queue grew so long that it started to change who I was as a person. I no longer had to treat women with respect because there was always another woman waiting in the wings. I am talking about well-educated, successful, attractive for their age women, not just any woman. I woke up one day and realized that I was no longer enjoying the rush. Being desirable to so many women was a serious ego stroke after being in long, unsuccessful marriage. However, it did not make me happier than I was before I started my dating site adventure. It just increased my N. The woman I eventually chose was not the most beautiful woman I dated, but she is attractive to me. She was not the most fit woman I dated, but she works at being fit. As a vice president in very large organization, she is definitely one of the more successful women I dated as well as one of the smartest. However, those were not the reasons why I chose her. I chose her because of her warmth and her unlimited ability to love the people in her life. For me, that trumped hot, young, and sexy by a large margin. Every eight or nine becomes a six over time.

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