But Only If You want a Good Relationship
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
If you’re single and you’re over 40, you’ve probably been asked if (or told that) you’re too picky.
Like, you shouldn’t have any standards. After all, you’re over 40 - you need to be more accepting because nobody’s perfect.
I find it interesting that when you go to the grocery store, you examine the produce because you don’t want to pick the tomatoes that are squished, or the apples that are bruised, or the lemons that are mildewy.
But, God forbid that you have standards for a relationship!
I was dating a guy and learned that he had been divorced 4 times and had declared personal bankruptcy twice. I told one of my friends I was going to dump him, and her response was that I was too focused on money.
OK - broke in your 20’s, starting out with nothing and building something together is romantic.
Bankrupt in your 40’s with 4 divorces (FOUR!), 3 kids, child support, and no retirement isn’t romantic; it’s a huge red flag that is bashing you over the head.
I got to the point where I was so afraid of being labeled “picky,” that I hardly set any standards at all.
Which did increase the number of dates I had.
It also increased my level of despair and frustration about the quality of men I was meeting.
You do want to be discerning and have standards. This is not the same as being picky.
Let’s look at some basic concepts:
Picky: You will only date professional basketball players who are currently signed to a team that has been in the playoffs in the past 3 years.
Standards: You will only date a man who has a good, steady job and is committed to being a provider.
It’s up to you if he needs to be an executive or make more money than you do. It’s also up to you if you want to financially support a man who doesn’t work.
But having “gainful employment” as one of your standards isn’t picky, it’s reasonable.
Men don’t even respect other men who don’t work, so don’t lower the bar on this one.
Picky: He has to bring you roses to every date.
Standards: He must be kind and respectful.
In Love Factually, Dr. Duana Welch posits that the minimum requirements for any relationship are that the person be kind and respectful. To you, to their family, and to other people (like the server in the restaurant).
You’re not being picky when you demand kindness and respect - that should be the minimum ante to get into a game with you.
Picky: He has to be at least 6’4” with a full head of hair and blue eyes.
Standards: He has to convince you that he loves you and will protect you.
You deserve to feel safe and loved if you’re sleeping with a man. If you do not feel safe and loved, you are settling.
When you’re picky, you’re focused on details that ultimately don’t matter. That athlete can get traded or injured, the roses die, and his hairline may recede.
His work ethic, his character, and how he treats you are areas where you need standards. If you raise your standards, your dating pool will likely shrink. But you’ll be less frustrated and you’ll have to reject fewer people.
Raising your standards because you feel confident is part of what I call the One-Derful Life: being truly happy and peaceful even though you want a relationship, and even though you don't have one.
Before I forget - if you need some help getting over a broken heart, check out my ABC's of healing. You'll be on your way to a One-Derful Life!
Question: What standards do you have?
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