In my early twenties it seemed like I was in constant search for the girl of my dreams. Nobody was measuring up, though. At one point, I did feel like I’d be searching for a long time. It became discouraging. I heard things like, “dude you gotta lower your standards”, or “why don’t you just branch out and date somebody”. My response usually was, “I can’t. Why would I?” Obviously their thought was that maybe I was being a little too “picky”. Mine was that if I was just dating to “date”, I’d be wasting time. I wanted to be intentional. Intentional with my thoughts, standards, and attitude. I wasn’t going to date to just have a girlfriend anymore, I was dating to marry. That was a commitment that I made to myself. So I waited.
While I waited I discovered some valuable things about myself. I discovered things about me that didn’t work in past relationships. My confidence remained high for the most part. I realized in this time, not what I’m looking for but who I’m looking for — more on that later. Of course, there were nights when all my roommates would be out with their girls and I’d be home watching “Tommy Boy” and eating successive bowls of cereal until 3 in the morning. I know what you’re thinking, “that actually sounds awesome”. It was, for a while. After a while it gets a little lonely and you start to wonder if anybody out there can match your weirdness, though. If this is you, then trust me, they can (and will even exceed it sometimes).
Getting back to what I mentioned earlier — I realized that who I’m looking for was much more important than what. Focusing on what leaves you with something tangible and measurable that you can pick apart and mold. Focusing on who on the other hand, is unpredictable at best. I was in a position where I was grasping at straws, trying to just date someone. I went through the doubting questions and decided after some reflecting that the problem was not me personally. The problem was that I was idolizing this future relationship — I was making my day about it. I was checking my age and telling myself that I wasn’t getting any younger. Sure, it doesn’t help when you feel like you aren’t meeting a lot of people, but trying to speed up the process just because you don’t want to be alone will actually set you back. Before you know it, you went on three dates in a couple months and you’ve been left with nothing but a lowered self-esteem and less money to your name.
Try to focus less on the “future relationship” and what that’s going to look like. It’s a waste of time and it will just negatively affect your mood. Just be you and keep doing the things you love.
Be okay with being single and know that you don’t have to change anything about yourself to fit some dating mold. I know you don’t like your friends or family setting you up with anyone, but every once in a while go on a date with someone that they feel like you could like. After all, they know you best and your focus may just be on the wrong things. Keep your standards intact and organized so that you can easily distinguish whether or not you would be a good fit with someone. One thing I would advise is writing down your standards in this order:
- characteristics that you need that person to have (beliefs/values).
- characteristics that you’d rather they have (non-smoker).
- characteristics that you can live without but they’d be nice perks (she can sing and play instruments folks!).
That’s one thing I did anyway. By using a tiered standard list, it puts your perspective in chronological order. It might sound like a bit much but it’s actually really important in keeping your focus and not allowing you to go on those 3-date, time wasting tangents that used to set you off course and have you eating bowls of cereal at 3am while watching Chris Farley movies.
As stated before, I learned some good things about myself during my time as a single man. I think I needed to be alone for a while. It helped me develop some skills and work out some insecurities. I was able to establish standards, and some people helped me realize that it’s perfectly okay to wait as long as I needed to. I remember a good piece of advice I received, “Remember, to get a 10 you gotta be a 10”. This actually allowed me to evaluate myself a little bit. If I’m going to have a bunch of standards, I also probably shouldn’t dump a mess of myself on the next person I meet. So, I want to pass that along.
Wait as long as you have to and work on yourself. Search for ways to improve yourself and your insecurities. Look, I know you’re frustrated. If this is you, then you’ve probably already read a million single articles and of course I don’t mean you have to be a perfect being. So, take that pressure off of yourself. You need to be you and that is original. But, If you commit to focusing on you, when you do actually find that person you’ll have laid the ground work to prepare you for what that relationship has to offer. When I went on a first date with my fiancee Ashley I remember feeling really good about it right away. She was able to tolerate my weirdness and those little idiosyncrasies have now become something she loves.
Without my ability to spend some time alone, I don’t know if I would have been ready for what we have now. I can at least go home every day knowing that she is what I waited for.