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Are You Too Picky When Dating Post-Divorce?

When interviewing both genders on the qualities they seek in a partner, men were more general and women tended to have a long shopping list of requirements.  Some of these seemed to still be rooted back to uni days, such as “he must be buff” or have “an awesome sports car.” Now is the time to update your list of qualities for partners by your current age and not your younger self. Kathy is 5’8’’ and wears 3 1/2 to 4 inch heels and is only looking for a date who is 6’2’’.  She says this height is just perfect for her. Reasoning with Kathy has not worked. Are you looking for a very specific type – like a key to a lock? Do you feel that there is only one person who is right for you and bypass others who are nearly right? A clue this is happening is by having many dry spells between dates.

Be willing to compromise

Brenda specifies that all people she dates must love doing day hikes. Even if guys are active in other ways, not doing day long hikes was the deal breaker for her. When asked why she could not hike and meet up with the guy afterwards, Brenda answered “no way.” In contrast, Jerry is divorced and an outdoorsy type of fellow who swims almost daily. Although he is seeking an active woman, she does not have to even get in the water, much less go swimming. Jerry said that he could have a date with a girlfriend after he goes to the pool. If they go on vacation, he will swim in the ocean while she reads on the beach. He is more flexible and willing to compromise than Brenda is.

Having high standards, ethics and spirituality is not being too picky. 

If marrying outside of your religion is non-negotiable, then date only members of it. There are specific dating sites, such as for Jewish singles or Mennonites, and online searches are easy.  If sex outside of wedlock is taboo then date only others who also share this belief. Values that align with someone else’s’ is the basis for a long term  relationship.

What do you bring to dating?

A few women stated that they were looking for handsome men to take them travelling on a long-term or permanent basis.  When asked “What do you bring to the table?” they went blank. When probed, what qualities do you possess that would specifically attract such a boyfriend they could only answer “Well, that is who I want to marry.”  Friends probably are not going to point out to these few that they lack charisma, charm and the ability to hold stimulating conversations on a variety of subjects with people of different cultures. Think about what great qualities you have that would attract the type of person you want to date.

Be exactly clear what you mean when using labels to categorize people.

Sandy is a hairdresser who states that she does not date doormats. She runs around with a biker crowd and has had some relationships post-divorce that teeter on the brink of abuse.  A fantastic, kind man came into Sandy’s life. He would sometimes drop by the salon with flowers for her. Sandy’s co-workers and customers adored him. Sandy kicked him to the curb. Why? Sandy’s faulty thinking confused being a nice, respectable guy with being a doormat.

Make a list of the qualities that you seek in a spouse by order of importance.

Look at the more trivial ones at the end to determine if they can be eliminated. Sometimes relationships develop slowly and grow with intensity over time. One may lose out on a great love if the first date lacked chemistry and there was not a second one. Of course be safe and if your gut feeling is screaming at you to bail, then do so.  You may be feeling something is greatly amiss on a subconscious level. Avoid  being too picky by dumping someone too quickly because they did not tick every box on your list.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine