Let’s talk about your standards, really drill down and get to the core of the matter. As a dating coach with a psychology background, I often hear people say that there aren’t enough good men or women out there. We’ve talked about this before but let’s look at it from a different angle because everyone, including you and me, has blind spots or factors that can hold us back.
Initially, this blog was going to focus on the subject of RAISING your standards, but that is not the whole story. Yes, you do need to raise your standards BUT for the right reasons. There also will be instances where you have to lower your standards a bit, especially on what really does not matter in the end.
I work with many clients who never get past a first date. They go on dozens of first dates but it never gets beyond this stage. It could be that they are not vetting him properly prior to the date or that even though he is what they are looking for on paper, it doesn’t come across immediately (think nerves or initial awkwardness of meeting a total stranger) or they focus on the WRONG aspects of the person even though the right elements are there all along.
Take this example: If an eligible bachelor said to me, “I want to go out with the most intelligent, successful and attractive person I know….” Objectively, Cindy Crawford, the super model, might fit the bill. She was an engineering major in college and could be considered smart; she is considered objectively beautiful and successful. Do you think if Cindy Crawford were to meet various men of similar cachet, they would automatically hit it off? Heck no. Remember, her first marriage didn’t work out. Just because someone is smart, successful and attractive does not mean you will connect emotionally nor have the makings for a lasting relationship. This may seems like common sense but it’s easy to forget what’s really important on dates.
Let me save you years of therapy and money and give you the secret to long-term relationship success and marriage: shared values, a shared vision for your future together and emotional health. Those three key elements will ensure the highest success rate in your intimate relationships. The problem is when you say you want one thing but then don’t act accordingly on dates; or when you hone in on that which matters little in the long-term, instead of focusing on the commonalities you share.
Imagine you’re on a first date with Jeff. Your conversations are flowing; you’re having fun, laughing together and you are attracted enough to him (enough being the operative word). But instead of enjoying the time together, you hone in on the fact that he is shorter than you would like; that even though he has a solid job and career, he doesn’t make zillions of dollars; or that he ordered tap water instead of asking for your opinion first as you may have preferred sparkling water. Whatever the case may be, it’s ridiculousness.
You have to get real and live in the real world, instead of in this imagined, fantasy land where men are all above 6 feet tall, super athletic, make tons of money AND are also good-hearted, spiritual, etc. And gentlemen who are looking to get married: just because a woman is hot (at least this year), does not mean she will be a good wife or mother.
Let me ask you this: if the perfect man existed, why would he want to go out with you?
I’m not saying you’re not a great catch but you have to accept that you have flaws. You may be a good enough catch for someone, but you’re not perfect – no one is. Perfect and ideal do not exist in real life. Your mother may have told you that you can do no wrong and that you are perfect exactly as you are; she meant well but was not entirely truthful.
Take the time to reflect, be honest with yourself and become more self-aware. What annoying traits of yours might the love of your life have to deal with down the line? What areas of your life are lacking? What do you need to work on so that you can be the most amazing partner to the love of your life?
Instead of leaving dates thinking, “Gosh, he chewed his food in a funny way or he wasn’t as funny as I would have liked or how could he not know the ins and outs of the geo political climate and the drivers of GDP in China….” focus on what really matters.
Ask yourself this: in ten years, will these qualities matter? People gain weight, as they get older, so their level of attractiveness today may also shift. How smart someone is does not determine her mothering or fathering skills. Ivy League graduates are not better parents to their children than those who did not graduate from the Ivy League. You want someone who is reliable, has your back, gets you chicken soup when you’re sick, that you can trust, talk to and with whom you can laugh.
Getting back to your first date….
Did you have a good time? Did you enjoy each other’s company? Did you ask the questions you needed to ask to see if you are on the same page when it comes to life cycles and goals? Was there mutual attraction? Then, my friend, you are steps ahead of the curve.
Stop raising your standards on that which does not matter (someone’s height, weight, eating habits, lack of style) and start raising your standards on what matters – your values, a generosity of spirit, shared vision, emotional health and availability.
If you don’t know how to identify these traits, then work with a coach. The rest will take its natural course as you get to know each other more and open up more. Your comfort level will increase as you spend more time together.
Stop getting too ahead of yourself and focus on one date at a time. Give it a real chance and remember that you – as lovely as you are – are still a work in progress. So, if you’re good enough to be accepted and loved as you are, then so is he.
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