Whether you've been single for a while, or you're a serial dater the chances are that at some point you've been called 'picky, fussy' or berated for having 'high standards'. In the cold light of day how true is this? Are you really fussy and picky, or do you simply believe that it really means that you know what you want and are not prepared to settle for anything less? Let's assume that it's the latter. You've been holding out for what you perceive to be your ‘ideal mate' but it's been 2, 5 or even over 10 years and you've still not met the one. Everyone around you is getting engaged, married or having babies, they make it look so easy, so why is it not happening for you?
Last week I was speaking to a single (never been married) Sikh guy, aged 46, who I will call Bobby. He was telling me that he is serious about meeting someone and whilst he has been looking for a number of years, he hasn't had much success. Despite being introduced to various women, the ones he liked, did not like him and vice-versa. As the years have passed by, he has found his search more challenging. He is currently seeking women aged 30 to 36 maximum, as he wants to have children.
Meena is 35, works in the City as a Business Analyst. She has her own place, eats at nice restaurants and enjoys the finer things in life. Her ideal man is 5'11, works in the City, preferably in banking or the like, and earns at least £80K. She's not interested in dating anyone who falls short of this, though would perhaps compromise an inch, or so on his height. I asked her why she felt that she had not already met a man like this, considering she has been searching for the past 10 years. "In my 30s I have found that there are not many guys out there who meet my criteria. The city guys that I have met, are either self-centred, divorced with kids, more interested in having a casual relationship, or just threatened by successful Asian women..."
At 31, Jeet is a conventionally attractive and a successful professional holding out for his ‘type'. She's got to be tall, slim and fair. Her face must be symmetrical, her eyes should be a certain shape and basically the list goes on but in a nutshell she has to be a stunner! If her physical appearance does not match this – reject, reject and reject! In his own words "I won't settle for anything less, if she does not meet my type physically I have no interest and it's a waste of everyone's time". He started his search 5 years ago.
Are Bobby, Meena and Jeet being picky or fussy, or is it that they simply know what they want and are not prepared to settle for anything less? Thus far, where has their respective criteria & mindsets got them in their search? The common threads shared by all three:
The harsh reality is that if they do not start challenging their beliefs by compromising and adjusting to the dating pool available to them, they may just end up with an ‘indefinite stay to remain in singledom' visa.
To illustrate this further in Bobby's case, based on the number of women that I have interviewed in the past 9 years for personal matchmaking, the majority do not wish to date men who are more than 5 years their senior. Whilst Bobby may have better luck conceiving a child with a 30 to 36 year old, women all over the world are still having babies into their early 40s. With each passing year, the age gap is getting greater. Perhaps he needs to take stock and consider whether his primary goal is to be in a loving relationship with someone with whom he can grow old with, or is it more important to continue seeking a younger woman to bear his children, at the risk of remaining single for the unforeseeable future. Whilst I‘m not suggesting that he can't have both, the reality is that he is going to have much better luck fishing in a dating pool of women aged late 30s to early 40s. If the penny drops sometime soon, he may well just be able to have his cake and eat it.
There are more single Asian men out there, who are educated professionals in good careers that earn between £35 to £50K, compared to the high earners in the City. Just because these men earn less, it does not make them bad life partners, or less successful in their own right. If Meena is serious about meeting someone and settling down sooner rather than later, the reality is that she is going to have to give these non-city guys a chance. If a guy is threatened by her success, or what she earns then he's not the right match for her anyway. A relationship is supposed to be an equal partnership, where you contribute your fair share based on what you have, rather than it being a battle of the sexes. Perhaps Meena needs to go back to the drawing board and consider whether her primary goal is to get married and live happily ever after, or to keep chasing the dream of Mr City Hot Shot, who has already failed to materialise in the last 10 years.
Given the choice, what man wouldn't want to have a stunning supermodel type on his arm? At the risk of stereotyping, you've either got to be super hot yourself, or have a really really big fat bank balance. The reality is that this only applies to a small percentage of people in the world. At 31, whilst Jeet may arguably have time on his side to hold out for his Miss Universe, he risks missing out on some amazing women in their 20s that are currently in his dating pool. In a few years time, his pool is going to look a lot different and as he ages, so will he. Whilst physical attraction is important, a successful relationship is built upon much more than this, ultimately it's about the package. If Jeet were to let go of his limiting beliefs by compromising a little on looks, he may just discover that beauty is skin deep and looks are not the sole indicator of compatibility.
Arguably, it is each person's prerogative to hold out for what they want in a potential partner. However, after making a concerted effort and trying for years without success, does it not make sense that in order to get a different result, change has to take place? Finding a partner is hard enough, why would anyone want to make it harder by seeking the type of person who exists in the minority of the world, let alone the country's population? If your type is constantly not interested in dating you, does logic not dictate that it is time to get a different type? Whilst it is sensible to know what you want in a partner, shouldn't the main criteria be related to someone's character and values rather than heavily weighted on their youth, beauty, status or profession? Forming beliefs that only X type of person is right for you is after all an untested hypothesis, where one risks searching for a needle in a haystack, potentially for many years.
If you've been searching for a partner for a number of years, perhaps it is time to consider whether being ‘picky & fussy' really does equate that you know what you want and serves your purpose, or whether it's been taking you further away from your goal of meeting a partner. Whatever you conclude, just remember it ‘s never too late to embrace change and compromise...Alpa Saujani