And, worse, maybe our “standards” are total garbage
I once had a colleague who hit that “stage” some people do where they become utterly preoccupied with finding a spouse and getting married.
(At the time, she blamed it on age — as they all do — and told me that once I crested 30, I’d feel the same way. But I’m here now and still don’t. Though that’s another story.)
Anyway, in her pursuit of this goal, she was going on what seemed like endless dates a week — both lunch and dinner with two different dudes some days — and every time I’d see her back in the office, I’d eagerly ask, “how’d it go?” Her reports back were… fascinating. And frustrating, like trying to support a dieter while watching them binge on M&Ms.
I understand real deal breakers — rude, dishonest, poor communicator, unambitious, codependent, misogynistic, prefers water without ice, whatever — but some of the shit she’d call “deal breakers” truly baffled me.
Like one time she beamed, “my last date was fantastic! Amazing job, tall, great hair, Catholic, yada yada yada you get it — she had ‘the typical list.’”
So — obviously — I was like, “that’s great! So you’re going to see him again?”
And she goes, “I don’t think so… I didn’t really like his nose.”
Uh. Say what now?
And this story isn’t unique. A lot of people do this.
Another friend, equally hung up on finding a husband, once started dating a dude she “really liked” but then wondered out loud, “he’s so hot… like a 9.5. But sometimes I wonder if he’s hot enough.”
A word on priorities
If you’re serious about finding a life-partner, you know “life partner” is supposed to be for life, right? And that “life” usually brings “aging” and “aging” makes a “superficial hotness 10” tough to maintain? (I’m talking stereotypically — don’t come at me with your “my wife of 100 years is still my beautiful bride!” claims — I’m sure she is.)
And since when did you need to “really like” his nose? I mean, maybe this guy’s nose was truly a train wreck, I don’t know — I didn’t meet the dude. And it’s not like she’s not a catch herself, because she totally is. But damn, sister. I would happily take a dude with a wonky honker — just like I’d also take a solid 4, short, fat, skinny, and any state of balding —to get my needs met, because I only want 2.5 things in partner and I’m serious about them. And it’s not that my partners aren’t attractive — they are. It’s just that their attractiveness isn’t my decision-making criteria.
People who complain about not finding a “great” partner forget about the power of prioritization. They also forget about the power of being “great” themselves to attract one— and “great” means, in part, understanding the difference between important and unimportant shit.
I’m not telling you to lower your standards. I’m actually suggesting you raise them.
If relinquishing these expectations feels like short-changing yourself, maybe it’s worth assessing your values, how you define “quality” in your life, and defining what you “deserve” by what actually matters.
I’m proposing a shift in perspective and priorities and principles — away from the superficial and toward the meaningful. I’m suggesting we assess potential partners according to things that actually matter in making a genuine good relationship — and life.
Good relationships require more than attractiveness. Good partners are much more than nice noses.
Good partners are trustworthy, emotionally stable and self-sufficient, mentally healthy, growth-oriented, loving, etc. And yeah, share similar values —which have to be the right values to make the relationship great overall.