At the age of 23 you’d think by now I’d have some legitimate dating experience, but the truth is I’ve only had one boyfriend. Okay, I’ve technically had three but the first one was a short fling when I was fifteen and the other one barely lasted two weeks. And so, I’ve had one boyfriend.
During my many years of being single, countless guys have asked me out on dates and I’ve said yes to nearly all of them (unless he was creepy or I really just wasn’t attracted to him). I figure, why not give him a shot- he had the guts to ask me out, I’ve got nothing to loose by saying yes.
Most times, the date goes perfectly fine. He’s nice enough, can hold a conversation, and has interests outside of work, and sometimes there’s even a second or third date. But eventually things fizzle out because he’s too clingy and I get bored or find something I dislike about him, which leaves me feeling guilty I lead him past the first date.
People tell me all the time that I’m picky when it comes to relationships. They say that my standards are too high, I’m looking for something too specific, or I’m not being tolerant enough. Just to be clear, I’ve never made a list of wanted qualities for a potential boyfriend. Yes, I have high standards, but I’m not being too picky or unrealistic. I just know my worth and I know what I want.
I’m a planner. I thrive off of organization and knowing what’s next. Of course I’ve thought about what the person I’m going to marry will look like- who hasn’t? He’s tall, dark, and handsome, loves to cook, can make me laugh, and is intelligent. I have a specific vision of what my life looks like- am I wrong for wanting to hold out for that?
At times I think I am because I’ve only had one boyfriend. Is my pickiness preventing me from finding someone? But then I think about all the trouble (aka drama from dating the wrong people) I’ve saved myself over the years and can’t help but realize that there is actually a positive side to being choosy, so here are 8 benefits of being picky in relationships:
1. You Don’t Waste Each Other’s Time
Nothing is worse than waking up after a year of dating someone to realize that all of it was a waste of time. Maybe you never loved him or maybe he didn’t treat you the way you deserved. Regardless, your heart is sacred and it’s important to protect that by being choosy with who you give it to. If you’re picky when it comes to dating, you’ll save yourself a lot of losers and guys who just aren’t worth your time.
2. You Learn to be Patient
Nothing tests your patience more than holding out for the right person. It can be frustrating to go on countless dates and not find a single person you connect with, but these things take time and it really is true what they say: the minute you stop looking is the minute you’ll find it. There is absolutely no reason to rush into things or panic if you’re 27 and single. Be patient, trust your gut, and know that everything will work itself out.
3. You Learn About Yourself
Learning about yourself also means learning to love spending time by yourself. The most important lesson I have learned is that it’s okay to be single and it’s important to enjoy our single years. These times allow us to be independent, learn our strengths and weaknesses, and explore our passions in life. And learning about yourself also means learning about what you want in a partner. Read more about the importance of being alone here.
4. You Grow as a Person
Learning how to say no is a tough lesson in life, whether we’re talking about relationships or not. It’s easy to agree to things because your friend or significant other wants to do something, but in the end we just end up compromising small aspects of ourselves. Walking away from something and choosing to be alone can be really hard sometimes, but in the end you end up growing as a person. You are your number one priority in life, so never settle out of fear of being alone or just because you like the idea of someone. It’s far better to be alone and hold out for someone you’re crazy about than to date someone for the sake of dating someone.
5. You Know Your Deal-breakers
Being picky means you know what you’re looking for, but you also know what you’re not looking for. Maybe he was rude to the waitress on your first date, talks down to you, or speaks as if his opinion is the end all be all. These are huge deal breakers for me, and being picky just means you’re not afraid to cut things off if you get bad vibes from someone.
6. You Learn What to Look for in a Partner
Knowing your deal breakers also means you know what to look for in a partner. Was the last guy conceited and picky? Great, now you know you’d prefer someone who is self aware and easy going. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, so don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t work with one person. You are just one step closer to finding the right one!
7. You Respect Yourself
Being picky in relationships means you respect yourself because you are willing to wait for someone who treats you like a queen and respects you just as much. The Huffington Post featured a great article by Margaret Paul about this topic. She says, “The law of attraction states that ‘like attracts like.’ This means that people with a low frequency- people who are insecure and self abandoning- attract each other, while people with a high frequency- people who love and value themselves- also attract each other.” If you respect yourself you will find someone who not only respects themselves as well, but who also respects you for the way you carry yourself.
8. You Eventually Find Someone Amazing
If you take the necessary steps to work on yourself and your emotional health, you will find someone who has done the same- it’s the law of attraction, after all! Margaret Paul nails it again when she says, “When you value yourself and take responsibility for your feelings, you are no longer attracted to someone who emotionally abandons themselves. You are drawn to people who also value themselves and want to share love rather than get love. So you will no longer end up with someone who blames, withdraws, judges, or sees themselves as the victim.”
Being picky certainly has it’s perks, but remember there is a fine line between being picky and being intolerant. Here’s the kicker: if your pickiness prevents you from giving someone new a chance (even as a friend) because of some physical attribute or bad habit, you may have crossed the line. Chances are, if you have a list with desired requirements in a partner not a single person will meet all of those. No one is perfect and relationships are all about compromise, just make sure you’re not compromising yourself in the process.