A former work colleague of mine once went on a date with a guy whose online profile exactly matched the type she was looking for. He was good looking, shared similar interests, had a decent job. So she went on the date, had a nice time, but nonetheless knew after the first minute that she wouldn’t date him again. Holy cats, why not?! Did he turn out to be an axe murderer or something? Not at all. Nothing quite that petty. It’s just that the sports jacket he wore was ill fitting.
I am, I assure you, not making this up. I thought she was nuts. I told her so. She said that a guy who “doesn’t know how to dress” is not someone she can see spending the rest of her life with. So in her, er, “rational” mind, it was best to cut the ties immediately rather than string along a relationship that was surely doomed to fail.
That seemed like a big ol’ bucket of crazy to me, and as far as I know the woman is still single. But she would surely say that she simply has high standards and he didn’t meet them. End of story. However, according to author and relationship expert Matthew Hussey, before deciding that high standards are the reason some women have trouble meeting a romantic partner, we ought to first ask ourselves three questions to determine whether it’s standards that are too high or whether there’s really something else going on.
Hussey’s career in the love biz actually began as a relationship coach to men. After working with over 10,000 of them, he found himself getting approached more and more frequently by women who wanted to know – from the f**k ton of data he’d amassed over the years – what the secrets were to getting the guy. So Hussey, no dummy – and rather nice eye candy, I might add – quickly founded gettheguy.co.uk and began helping the gals better understand men.
When Hussey gets asked by women whether they can’t get a man because their standards are too high, Hussey says he tells them to answer the following three questions:
1. Are you looking for someone who actually exists? Think about what your “requirements” list and whether it goes something like this: fantastic looking, champion in the sack, boatloads of money, body like a gladiator, worships everything about you. Sound familiar? If that’s the case, says Hussey, good luck with all that. You’re on an endless seach for nonexistent perfection. Hussey isn’t saying lower your standards, but rather have standards that exist in the real world.
2. The second thing we women should ask is whether our high standards are just a defense mechanism to prevent ourselves from getting rejected. Many women he meets, says Hussey, take themselves out of the dating game by throwing up their hands in resignation and saying they can’t find anyone who meets their standards. We’re so picky, and this or that is wrong with the guy, so of course we can’t find anyone. Then what happens is that these types of women end up dating from within a “safe” pool of men who will never reject them. Problem is, these guys aren’t really the ones we want, and they don’t meet our standards, so we’re back to saying that our standards are too high. The vicious circle is alive and well. Hussey says if this is the case, then the change that’s needed is not to lower your standards or think they’re too high, but rather to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Don’t date the safe guys you don’t want; keep your standards but accept that it could mean getting rejected and be OK with that possibility.
3. Last question: Are you enforcing your standards too soon? Remember the colleague complaining about the ill-fitting sports jacket? She falls dead center in this category. By enforcing her requirement from second one, she’s preventing herself from developing a connection with anyone. In this same way, you can also skew your own standards. Let’s say the guy my work colleague met wore a sports jacket that fit him to perfection. Other habits or personality traits he may have that didn’t jive with hers may be mistakenly discarded by convincing herself that he’s gotta be strong relationship potential because at least his jacket fit right. Oy! But the good fitting sports jacket is important to her. Why should she lower that standard? She shouldn’t, says Hussey. But in the beginning of the dating process, give people a chance. Get to know them at least a little bit. Cast a wide net initially, and then get more narrow as you decide with whom you’ll embark on a real relationship.
So there you have it. Three easy tips on snagging your perfect guy – as long as your perfect guy isn’t found only in a, you know, romance novel.