Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you deal with people saying your standards are too high? I hate it when people say I’m picky because I’m single or match me up with people who are obviously super incompatible with me. For any of you former single folks who decided to pursue your significant other. How did you make that decision? I’m just trying this - I hate it that I’ve never had anyone be in love with me that didn’t somehow unnerve me. It’s like it was a turn off. It’s just been so much heartbreak to fall for someone and go on 3-6 dates and then just be friends and do it over and over again. I know so many friends who to this day have butterflies in their stomach everyday knowing they married their love. Is it fair to ask that you end up with someone you ‘like’ in the same sense that you ‘liked’ someone in high school? Or should I be more practical knowing that such and such would be a good mate and I should just work as hard as possible to make it happen even though there’s no real romance, excitement, or passion.
Luciana's hit it right on the money. Date someone who makes you happy! If you don't like it or aren't feeling it after a few dates, then stop going on dates with them! If it's meant to happen then things will work out.
However, I do want to offer a word of caution about passion and butterflies. I don't know a single person (including myself) who is in a long-term relationship and still has those butterflies. As Anne, Certainly commented on my post, "Sure it's possible to keep a marriage interesting and exciting and fun and romantic and all of that, but you can't and probably don't WANT to keep a marriage UNSURE, and that's where some of the excitement of dating comes from - the 'oh, does he really like ME?!' feeling." Anne put it perfectly. Those butterflies and excitement come from feeling unsure, and that is not healthy in a long-term relationship. There will still be romance and love and passion and deep friendship but on a different level. I no longer feel giddy when I get texts from minnow, though I did the first few months we were dating. But I do feel a deep, abiding love and contentment with our relationship. There are a number of studies showing that love gets deeper over time, though the initial rush may not last.
I don't know how much that applies to you right now, if you're still in the 3-6 dates range. At that point you should be feeling happy and excited and romantic. But if you've been dating someone or married to someone for a time and you don't feel those butterflies anymore, just know that that's normal.
But until then, date who makes you happy! This isn't a race to get married. Take your time, find the right person for you, and then pursue that relationship. But don't feel obligated to get in a relationship or marry someone you don't truly love.
Oh I just saw your middle question. How did I make that decision to pursue minnow...we had been friends quite some time, and I realized I was developing a bit of a crush. minnow made me really happy. I loved talking to him and texting him. Our personalities clicked and I felt like I could be completely open and honest with him. He was one of the few people I felt I could truly be myself around. Ultimately, I pursued a relationship with him because he made me happy and he made me a better person. While our relationship doesn't have quite the same "excitement" (read: uncertainty) it used to have, he's been my biggest support and number one fan and I freaking love him.
If there's no real romance, excitement, or passion, then don't do it. But understand that that can grow from current relationships/friendships. Also understand that that can fade over time, but you can always work as hard as possible to get it back.
-guppy of doom
If anyone questions your dating life, look them in the eye and say "I want to date someone who makes me happy." And that should be the end of the conversation.
As far as love goes, of course it's not unreasonable to want to date and marry someone you feel passionately about. You absolutely shouldn't settle for someone who doesn't make you feel excited. But one thing you should keep in mind is that the feeling can grow. You don't have to feel it immediately or even after a certain number of dates. The more time you spend with someone, the more you'll grow to understand and appreciate them, and noticing more and more of their amazing qualities will help that passion develop and grow.
I feel your pain. At this point I just expect anyone over the age of 30 to question my dating life or try and set me up with someone that's incompatible with me. I don't think they're trying to be pushy, I just think they're interested in your life and that's one of the thing that's going on. When I'm bothered by people asking me about my dating life I just tell myself they figured it would be a better subject than midterms.
As for specifically dealing with those situations, I usually just tell people that I'm trying. That usually gets more "you'll find someone" than "your standards are too high", but that might just be people I know. If that doesn't work I just change the subject or straight up leave the conversation.
If people keep setting you up with people you are incompatible you might consider kindly telling them that that you appreciate the offer but aren't interested right now. Another option is to tell them that you appreciate their concern but don't agree with their taste. My mother always tries to set me up with anyone that moves. One time we were on a family walk and I said "Okay Mom, here's the lesson for today: Just because two people are single doesn't mean you should set them up." She responded with "No? That doesn't?" She wasn't being sarcastic; she just literally hadn't considered other criteria. It's become a family joke now that every time she tries to set one of us up we add another criteria: "Okay Mom, rule #6 is don't ever set us up with anyone 9 years older than us." I don't know if that will work for your situation but it's actually been working for me and my siblings.
As for whether or not your standards are too high, one metric I use is people I know. I have plenty of friends who are hard working, kind, and funny, so I don't think it's unrealistic to look for those qualities in a relationship. I know there are plenty of people like that out there so I feel like I'm not being impractical. If I was looking for some that laughed at all my jokes, liked all the same food as I do, and had the same taste in music as I do that would be a lot harder because I don't know anyone like that.
Aside from personality traits it's never being picky to expect to be in a relationship with someone who loves you and respects you. You might not get along 100% all the time, but I feel like you should never for someone who doesn't appreciate you and respect you.
Hopefully you found some of this useful. I know dating can be hard especially with all the social pressure, but I'm sure you'll find someone that you can build a beautiful relationship with.
I just thought I would chime in for a quick second...
Don't be unrealistic with your standards, but don't let other people tell you they're too high because other people aren't in charge of your happiness. Board Question #91704 would be a really good question to look at for some additional thoughts.
Guppy and Luciana are 100% correct about choosing who to date. They bring joy to your life. But I have one other thing to add...
I think you should feel like you are yourself around them. You don't have to pretend to like things or act differently than you normally would for them. The reason I started dating my boyfriend is that I felt like he understood me in a way no one else ever had. I felt so at ease talking to him about anything and everything. It was almost weird because sometimes I would say or do things and realize that for once in my anxious life, I didn't even worry about how he would react, because I knew he loved me for who I was. Basically, I think that the "butterflies" don't go away, but they do change. The "nervous butterflies" were overcome by the feeling of being at home - safe, comfortable, and happy. Seeing him was like a refuge from the chaos of life. The butterflies still exist, but now they're "happy butterflies." They don't happen in your gut, they happen in your heart, and they make you smile. You feel super grateful for the other person and excited to spend your life with them. But it's not nervous excitement or uncertainty... it's just joy.
Eventually, you will find someone that you feel comfortable around and that makes you genuinely happy. But don't think your relationship won't be hard. There are plenty of "practical" aspects of a serious relationship, and you WILL have to work for it. But above all of it, what will stick out is the love you feel for them and the joy they bring to your life, even despite the time and energy it sometimes takes. Just don't give up looking for them!