Relationships

How to tell if you’re too picky in relationships

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too picky in relationships

Have you ever gotten the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, you’re being a little too picky in relationships?

You know what I mean. You’ve ended healthy, supportive relationships because the guy was too short, or didn’t know how to change a tire, or looked stupid when he danced. Bad examples probably, but the sentiment behind them is probably pretty familiar, right? You’re just too picky in relationships to really find the happiness you’re looking for.

And if you’re like a lot of people who are picky in relationships, you might not even be completely aware of it. Personally, I am as bad about being too demanding in potential partners as anyone, and it took me a long time before I even realized it. But once I did, the signs seemed painfully obvious. And I wondered how I could have been so oblivious to them for years.

So how do you tell if this particular issue is what’s holding you back? Well here are a few signs I learned to recognize in myself… and they might sound pretty familiar to you too.

Signs you’re too picky in relationships

You end relationships quickly and often

This is the most obvious sign that you’re too picky in relationships. You don’t cheat on partners, and you might be going into every relationship thinking “this could be the one,” but it seems like no matter what, you’re dating someone else within a few weeks.

The accepted term for this is “serial monogamy.” And basically it means that you are committed to every relationship, but it doesn’t tend to last before you decide you need to move on to greener pastures.

So if you find yourself dating more than 3-4 people a year, you’re probably guilty of being a bit too demanding of your partners. Or maybe you’re going into every relationship only to find that somehow it just isn’t what you’re looking for, but you don’t know why. Which leads me to the next point…

You don’t know what your standards are

If a relationship isn’t right, then you should end it. But here’s a question you need to ask yourself: What does “right” mean to you?

What exactly are you looking for? Do you know? Personally, I had no idea and still don’t. There were so many times I broke things off with a girl where I had to make up some excuse when she asked “why” because I just didn’t know the answer. I couldn’t explain why I wanted to end things because aside from “attractive,” I had no idea what I wanted in a girlfriend.

Sound familiar? If you’re finding that you don’t know why you feel compelled to break off every relationship you get into, you might want to take a break and evaluate what is important to you in a partner. And that’s an excellent segue into the next sign you’re too picky in relationships…

Your standards are off

See, it could be that you know exactly what your standards are, but even when you know what you’re looking for, you can’t seem to find it.

Well, it could be that you’re focused on the wrong things.

Is your number one demand that they are super attractive or have ripped abs? If so, you’re putting yourself in a tough position. The idea that someone can’t be really attractive and be a good boyfriend isn’t exactly true, but think about this for a second:

A guy who is really attractive has a lot of temptation to not be monogamous. Guys are hardwired by biology to want to sleep with a lot of different people and a guy who is gorgeous has a lot of chances to do that.

Now certainly, there are plenty of attractive guys who are happy to be in monogamous relationships. And if you can find one, you’re all set. But ask yourself if it’s more important that the guy you’re dating is really hot or if it’s more important that he is devoted and supportive. Because the reality is that you might have to choose.

It’s far better to find some things that are more meaningful to focus your standards on. You don’t have to date some fat slob just because he’s nice but if your base standard is a guy who is a 9/10 in terms of physical attractiveness, maybe start looking at some 7’s. Looks don’t last forever anyway.

And that wrinkly old guy snoring in the armchair when you’re both 60 will be a lot easier to tolerate if he’s a nice guy.

But while we are the subject of superficial standards, keep in mind that they are ok to have, as long as you use them the right way, which leads to the next sign…

You aren’t firm with your standards

Don’t confuse having standards with being too picky in relationships. You might be gorgeous and want someone of equal attractiveness. That’s totally understandable.

Everyone wants to be with someone they are physically attracted to. And as I mentioned above, I do too. But here’s something I learned:

You will save yourself and the people you date a lot of pain if you can be honest about what your standards are. 

If looks are really important to you, don’t go out on dates with people you aren’t attracted to. Or stay friends first and decide if they have some other quality that you value even more. Guys call this “being in the friend zone,” and we like to complain about it, but don’t let that affect your decision… because it’s stupid.

No one should be upset about having another friend, and all we are really doing with that little trope is complaining that an attractive girl doesn’t want to sleep with us. It’s a statement of entitlement to your body, so feel free to ignore it. Just make sure you stay firm with what your standards are and don’t lead on people who don’t meet them.

But if you meet a guy that you do really like in that friend zone, I think the best thing to do is give them a shot. Don’t let the superficial standards outweigh the meaningful ones. The best relationships start as friendships. And speaking of the “best relationships,” if you’re too picky in relationships, you’ve probably let a few slip through your fingers, right? Which brings us to the next sign…

You spend a lot of time thinking about exes

Everyone has “the one who got away.” You know, the ex who was charming and cute and funny but didn’t work out for whatever reason.

But if you have a lot of them, then you’re probably being a bit too demanding with your relationships. Now, “perfect” partners usually end up not being so perfect, but if you’re the type who has a lot of broken relationships to moon over and you were the one ending them, then that’s a pretty good sign that you have the wrong standards.

After all, if a guy is great, then why would the person dating them decide it wasn’t going to work. Unless…

You’re not okay with yourself

This is the crux of every issue we’ve gone over. Having high standards is a sign of self-confidence, having impossibly high standards is a sign that you have some issues you need to work on.

Now I am just basing that on the fact that I myself am crazy, and the fact that, with the exception of my “one who got away,” I have purposely driven every relationship I’ve had into the ground after I decided the girl wasn’t good enough (I drove that other relationship into the ground for other, equally crazy reasons). But I imagine that you have a pretty similar pattern of relationships if this article has been describing you accurately so far.

And ultimately the cause is probably some personal issues that you’re trying to cover up with a relationship. I’ve done this, and so have a lot of people I know. We’re not looking for a partner, we’re looking for a crutch. All we actually want is something to hold up half of our psyches because we can’t do it.

Once you realize that, the next step is to fix it. But like alcoholism and taking pictures with duck face, it’s not something you can fix until you recognize that it’s a problem. So if you feel like you’re being too picky in relationships, this is the place you want to start. Ask yourself if maybe no one seems perfect because they can’t be the crutch you’re really looking for.

And if the answer is yes, find out why you need a crutch in the first place. Maybe talk to a therapist or relationship counselor. That kind of help can be invaluable and can save you years of unfulfilling relationships.

Just remember that you have to be the kind of person who other people want to date before you can find the perfect partner for you.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.