In college, I was one of the lucky ones who managed to lock down a boyfriend for most of my academic career. I didn’t have to deal with wondering if the guy that I briefly made out with at the keg party would remember me the next day, or if that awkward seven day lagged response time in between texts should be a red flag on the future of my relationship with the cute bookstore employee. I had prepared myself early for a life of certainty and predictability so that I would never question what the next 10 years would hold.
Flash forward 10 years later: I am currently single, which I have been on and off since my college days ended, and that crystal ball I envisioned showing that picture-perfect life does not seem so clear anymore. In the last 10 years, I have been on more dates than I can remember and have tried every different avenue suggested in Cosmopolitan magazine when it comes to the do’s and don’t of dating and relationships. Every weekend on my calendar was always blocked off for so many dates that my parents eventually stopped setting me a plate at the dinner table.
It wasn’t until recently that I kind of hit a dating stalemate. I began finding less interest in the guys who would approach me at the bar for one reason or another. And my attempt at online dating turned more into mindless scrolling through one guy after another than meaningful conversations. My mother would always tell me, “You’re being too picky,” after I would come home from a date with another excuse of why he wasn’t right for me. She would go on and on about how good he would be for me because he was successful and had a “good head on his shoulders.” In many ways, she was right. The guy that checked all the boxes would be a suitable match for me and probably would make me happy. But is a stable career and a handsome smile all I should look for in a man before my search at an everlasting love ends?
There are thousands of men residing in my home state alone that could check all the boxes. They could score high on the compatibility quiz I created for myself and still not be “the one.” Good-looking, charming, intelligent, funny, and career-driven are all traits I’ve found on just about every man’s dating profile I’ve come across, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that my future husband is just one swipe away.
Maybe it’s the heartbreak I felt 10 years ago that has me feeling extra selective these days. I’ve gone from a life that I so clearly mapped out for myself to a dating carousel that I can’t manage to get off of. I used to think that the dating pool was so small that the first guy I dated would be my only choice for a loving partner. I credit this way of thinking to both my sisters, who found both their husbands practically a stone’s throw away from our childhood home. But if I’ve learned anything from my relationship history, it’s that not everyone finds their soulmate in the boy next door.
While I may be picky, I think that’s what makes the search for love exciting. It’s exciting knowing that there are so many men in the world that could be searching for their love story just as I am. It’s exciting knowing that any one of them could be my match but I would never know it if I continued seeing the guy with a “good head on his shoulders.” When it comes to choosing the person you are going to spend your life with, you can never be too picky. Ask me again in 10 years and I will probably say I’m glad I waited.