Are you a single woman

I'm in my 30s & single ... and no, not "too picky"!

It's Saturday night and I'm sitting across from my date. Cliff - let's call him that for the sake of anonymity - has so far spent the evening telling me all the details about his job, his friends and interests over a bottle of red wine at a street snack bar. Meanwhile, I try hard not to shiver from the cold (oh, yes, the joys of outdoor dating during a pandemic). He's nice, interesting, and tells me a pretty funny anecdote that is all about an ABBA costume, a wrought iron fence, and a quick trip to the emergency room. As the evening draws to a close, I can only think of one thing: This is already our third date and Cliff would probably like to kiss me goodbye at least today. But since I'm not a bit drawn to him, I can't think of anything worse.
So why did I go on three dates with a guy I'm not into? The answer has to do with a phenomenon that single women have struggled with for decades: I didn't want to appear "too picky" in front of others.
Certain people in my life have accused me over and over again of being too picky about my partner - and for some inexplicable reason, this time I took that comment to heart. It wasn't until I was on my way home, still my head reddened from my embarrassing goodbye to Cliff, that I vowed never to listen to the critical voices of others again.
Labeling women too demanding has served the purpose of pushing women to settle down (and get married) for a long time - longer than I can remember. This label expresses the expectation of you to finally lower your expectations. This title bestowed on you suggests, at best, that the idealized person you hope to meet is a pipe dream - and at worst, that you actually cannot afford to make high demands.
Since my 30th birthday two years ago, as a single woman, I have had to deal with this attitude with increasing regularity and insistence. At first I didn't really find fault with this way of thinking for a while. But now I hate them. I hate this attitude not only because it implies that marriage is the ultimate and only desirable goal in life, but also because it makes women feel ashamed and question their own judgment. At worst, this attitude encourages women to ignore warning signs in potential partners.
In the end, this is nothing more than another form of gas lighting.
Sukaina Benzakour, 25, can sing a song about it all. “I was having dinner with my family when my aunt asked me when I was going to finally meet someone,” she recalls. “My mother interrupted me at that moment and explained how picky I was and that if I remained so demanding, I would never get married. When I am told that I am 'too picky' I feel like I am doing something wrong; as if I should change or lower my standards so that someone might like me. "
With 2020 feeling like a lost year for many of us, many of us now feel like we have lost dating time to make up for. Women are more likely than ever to fall victim to negative attitudes.
“I was told in the past that I had too high expectations when it came to choosing a partner. I took that very personally and it went so far that at some point I gave up and lowered my expectations and settled down, "says model, actress and therapist Asha Adutwim, 35. Today, however, she regrets the decision she made back then and even advises others not to to follow their example. “You know exactly what you are looking for, who you are and what you have to offer. So why should you, at the expense of your satisfaction, your peace of mind and your happiness in love, be satisfied with partners who do not meet your standards? "
We cannot address this issue without addressing the elephant in the room. Those people who throw the label “too picky” about themselves are most likely to have their own relationships - I dare say - as tempting as a rollercoaster ride with a hangover.
"I think this judgmental mindset has to do with the fact that the people who label you as 'too demanding' are themselves dissatisfied with their partnerships," agrees Catherine *, 33. “They 'look for' average partners and think that they should all be doing the same thing. That's why I used to constantly ask myself whether I really had expectations that were too high and should change something about them. I've already had a couple of relationships that didn't go well. In the course of time I realized that I would rather wait a little longer than be satisfied with partners who do not meet my expectations. "
It cannot be a coincidence that many of these people who call women too picky have never enjoyed modern dating, says Jessica *, 33. “Those who call me 'picky' have partners: inside also met at the beginning of 20. You can't understand why it's so hard to find someone these days. They have no experience with dating apps and have no idea how much the data has changed as a result. "
So the question now is: In a world that favors couples and plays such an important role in romance, how can you stay true to yourself and your standards and free yourself once and for all from the shackles of the label “too demanding”?
First, you should remind yourself again that settling down and compromising are two different pairs of shoes. The former is based on fear, the latter on generosity. When it comes to swiping, looks are the main deciding whether or not to give someone a chance. So there is a good chance of giving you potentially really great partners a slip of the tongue. That said, that doesn't mean that you should torture yourself through three dates with someone you aren't at all attracted to just because your friends think he or she is 'something for you'.
While we're on the subject of "nice": don't fall into this trap - especially if you are dating men. Just because someone is a "nice person" doesn't mean you have to spend the rest of your life with that person. We have been socially conditioned to believe that men deserve more than our courtesy if they behave kindly towards us. But that is complete nonsense. A: e nice: r partner: in will not be enough for you if you are sad, have to survive a loss or are plagued by despair. Friendliness alone will certainly not be enough for you to get through your decades of retirement (who am I kidding? Until then, we'll all work, until we're 93).
The people who accuse you of having too high expectations when choosing a partner are trying to convince you to invest in a car that breaks down 36 percent of the time. Is it really that crazy not to turn down this advice with thanks? Do not forget that these people are often the ones who are deeply attached to social ideals, which for many of us are now incompatible with our values ​​and therefore simply no longer have a place in our lives.
Regardless of whether you believe in an "And if they didn't die, they are still alive today" or not, there is one thing that is undeniable and that you should stick to if you find yourself to be "too demanding" again “Get stamped - especially if you are someone who cares about making everyone happy.
As Glennon Doyle says in her feminist memoir Untamed but so beautiful: “There is no such thing as one-sided liberation.” If you lower your standards and settle for a relationship that doesn't suit you, you ultimately judge the other person to do the same.
* Names have been changed by the editors.