Are you too picky?

A friend chided me, “You’ve gone out with 75 men in 2 years. Why aren’t you married? Are you too picky?”

When midlife women share that they haven’t found their “one” and they’re getting tired of looking, they begin to wonder if they are being too picky. The dilemma is, should you continue to be picky, perhaps taking a long time to meet someone who meets your important criteria, or should you accept someone who meets most, but not all, of your “must haves”?

A friend who’s been married 25 years shared that while she loves her husband very much, there are things she would prefer were different about him. She says, “Did I settle? In some ways, yes. However, he has many qualities I adore. But he’s also missing some things that would make us more compatible.”

I wonder how much of this is our needs changing over time. What she wanted/needed 25 years ago is different now that they are empty-nesters and looking to entertain themselves pre-retirement. While we’re not in a relationship, we can determine what we want now, but we also need to project what we think we want for the next 10, 20, 30 or more years.

Many dating advisers recommend you come up with no more than 5 “must have” characteristics about your ideal guy. Other preferences beyond that are negotiable. I’ve heard about women having 20-100 “must have” deal breakers. I think that’s over the top. However, many midlife women feel, “I have a full, rich, great life. I don’t need a man. So for me to give up time with my friends, work, or hobbies, he needs to be spectacular. And here’s my list of what spectacular is.”

Have you listed your essential criteria? Most daters have. “Someone nice” is a common response. “Someone loving.” I think you need to be more specific than that.

But I think equally important to what you want is what would make you feel you settled? And if a guy has much of what’s on your “must have” list but not all, are you willing to give him a chance to see if you can live with that and love him without feeling that you settled? And if he knows he doesn’t measure up in one area and is willing to work on it, will you give him some time to do so?

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5 responses to “Are you too picky?”

  1. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    This one really made me think. I don’t think I’m at all picky, but there are those who might disagree with me. Anyhow, tolerance and sensitivity are at the top of my must have list as I have chronic health problems and in order for me to feel strongly about a guy he would have to be sensitive enough to support me when my health is at its worst. Of course I would offer the same support in return.

    IMHO perhaps it’s best I’m single at this time in my life as I feel that those who have chronic health problems who thrust them upon others are selfish beyond belief.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  2. Ally Avatar

    I still remember a magazine article 25 years ago that said “pick 3, and not the usual ‘attractive, witty,etc.” So I made up these: 1) Must have lived alone and liked it, 2) Must be good at what he does, and 3) Must be a good father. These 3 traits would cover a lot of attributes.

    And Booky, it’s ‘in sickness and in health’; as long as there is disclosure and agreement, why deny the possibility?

  3. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi Ally,

    I agree, it is ‘in sickness and health’ once you have been happily married or in a loving LTR for years and then contract an illness, but going into a new relationship with the illness in full bloom is just extra baggage for someone else to deal with. I had to quit my job due to chronic illness, so it’s hard enough for me to deal with this, let alone even think of burdening someone else with my problems.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  4. Mariah Avatar

    Am I too picky? This cracks me up. I have dated about 75 men in 7 years and I have not been in very much control of who I get to choose — the ones who wanted me to stay with them (all 3) had so many serious lifestyle and relating problems that I would have been considered insane to have chosen them. The ones I very much, badly, wanted to wind up with are still single. They like being single.

  5. Callebaut Avatar

    I’d love to know how you’ve had 75 dates in two years. Most of the single woman I know over the age of 40, including myself, haven’t had even one date in the past six months.