Am I too picky in dating?

Am I too picky in dating?

Dear Heather,

I’m a 23-year-old female who is completely happy with every aspect of her life except the fact that I cannot seem to find a good guy or even a good date. I do not seem to be attracted to many of the good guys interested in me, but then other guys seem to be fake and only interested in me for superficial reasons. Are my startands too high? Just how picky is too picky?

– High Expectations

Dear High Expectations,

First of all, thank you for writing. I appreciate your email for a variety of reasons, mostly because I’ve been through the same thing myself. I even went to a counselor once because several people told me I was just too picky with guys. In fact, there was a certain month in my mid-twenties when there were three guys interested in me, and they were all great guys, but something deep down told me none of them were right for me. After that month (most of my months were much slower in terms of dating), I started to wonder whether or not there was a problem with me.

Most helpful for me in coming to a place of peace in my dating choices was meeting with a spiritual director (a priest, elder or mentor in your faith community would be great for this). I met with my spiritual director on a regular basis, about once a month, and came to the conclusion that I might be, at times, a little too picky. I needed to give guys, of strong faith especially, a second or third date if there was any potential – I wasn’t always good at doing this. I could be picky about appearances and common interests or personalities.

However, I honestly think it’s good to be picky on moral and spiritual matters. If you take your faith seriously, it will affect EVERY part of your dating relationship and marriage – what movies you watch together, how you spend your time, what jokes you find funny, what bars/social settings you go to, issues of chastity/sexuality, etc. Dating someone on the same page as you morally and spiritually, I believe, is essential for you to easily be your authentic self. If you are constantly put in situations that could be morally compromising or just make you uncomfortable, you, first of all, may not enjoy yourself. Secondly, you can feel forced to either fake that you agree with behaviors in this setting or you risk making others uncomfortable because you show or articulate that you do not approve of such behaviors. To be “out of your comfort zone” or with people of other moral backgrounds every once in a while can be a very good thing – you can learn a lot and reach out with God’s love to people who might really need it. However, if these settings are a constant occurrence in your relationship and you feel some of this discomfort around your own boyfriend, you may not feel very confident in your own skin, with your chosen values.

I also found it very difficult to be myself when a guy and I were both in two different playing fields spiritually because there was no foundation for us to communicate effectively on very important matters of life. One guy used to make me feel like my moral and spiritual values were simply naïve and ignorant. If we talked about such matters, we just ended up fighting or feeling more distant. So, we stopped talking about anything of depth for the last few months of our relationship, making our connection terribly shallow.

I also think it’s perfectly normal to be picky when you start to get to know this person and nothing to drawing you to know them more intimately, when there is not “spark” for you – if your gut isn’t nudging you toward this person. Marriage can be rough; as you know, divorce is all too prevalent in our world. In addition to a strong spiritual connection, there also needs to be a strong physical, emotional and intellectual attraction. The desire you have to continue dating this person is the same type of desire in marriage that will help you two get through difficult times, forgive each other more easily and stay connected through the years. If you’re not feeling “it” after getting to know someone, don’t hesitate to let him know that you’re not totally into him. It often helped let go of a guy when I remembered that he deserves a girl who is crazy about him and if I am not that going to be that girl, I need to free him up to find her.

Lastly, to help me remain open, yet selective with guys I would date, I simply put it in God’s hands and trusted in Him. Sure, I would still go out to meet people or let myself be set up on blind dates, etc. However, I waited patiently for the “it” factor to come with the right guy and it finally did. I’ll admit that wasn’t immediately crazy about my husband when we first met and started dating. I was open and intrigued by him. The more we dated, however, the more I wanted to be in his life and get closer to him. I continued to pray through it all and it was through God’s grace that I was led down the aisle on Sept. 1, 2007 for the most amazing day of my life. The “it” factor totally showed up in our dating relationship and continues to do so in our marriage – more than I imagined possible. And, since we were both picky about finding someone with strong faith and values, we both feel totally comfortable with one another and any conversation that comes up on any topic. Our shared faith also enriches every aspect of our lives – how we relate to each other, how we spend our time and money, the friends who are closest to us, etc.

Michael and I have our differences and there are things I had to “let go of” in marrying Michael – he doesn’t like basketball and football like I do, he’s not a handy man, he doesn’t swim or swing dance, although he took lessons for both before we married ;). However, those things are so minor. I’m glad I wasn’t too picky about that stuff but held out for a man of strong faith who is crazy about me and I am crazy about him.

So, don’t loose hope. God has an amazing plan for your life. When the right guy comes along, the dates, slow dancing, chaste physical affection and everything you’ve been waiting for will be more worth it than you can imagine…you’ll have to just trust me (and God) on this point. Trusting in Him was the best thing I have ever done and He hasn’t let me down yet, nor will He ever. Life can be difficult, even very challenging, but in His grip, I know all will turn out for the best.

Here are a couple of related blogs or responses I have written that you might find helpful:

Looking for Hotties: When I got too picky about more shallow details in guys (appearance, interest in the exact same interests/hobbies, etc.), I was challenged by a friend to look at guys with a very different perspective.

Help! I’m a 26-year-old Virgin: Although this young man’s struggles are different from yours, there might be some similarities in his frustration in finding the right person.

I’m in Love: This is just encouragement during your time of waiting of something that helped make my single years of one Mr. Wrong after another much more bearable.

I’m a Selfish Single: Just a perspective on how the single years can be a gift, as well as great preparation for a vocation, while you wait for Mr. Marriage.

Be assured of my prayers for you in your single years. They can be a tough journey, but also can be a source of great joy and freedom. These years or months of waiting can also provide so many opportunities to lean fully on Jesus and become more intimate with Him that ever before. This was one of the real treasures the Lord gave me in my single years – true intimacy with Jesus! Be open to the gifts and graces God wants to bestow on you in your relationships and in the waiting.

Heather Vento

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