Are You Low Maintenance Or Do You Just Have Low Standards?

Lots of women use the term “low maintenance” as a bragging point. They think it sends the message that they’re easier to be around (and therefore date) or that it makes them more desirable. But before you go putting this phrase on your online dating profile, make sure that you’re not mistaking it for accepting less than you deserve in your relationships.

  1. You’re “cool” with things you’re not actually cool with. Some people really don’t care when their partner doesn’t message them back for days at a time, but pretending to not care about things that actually bother you is never a good route to take. Putting up with things just because you think it’ll make you the “cool” girlfriend doesn’t actually make you cool — it just makes you a doormat.
  2. You’re always the one compromising what you want. Compromise doesn’t make you low-maintenance, it makes you a good partner. But lots of people think that consistently giving in to what their partner wants makes them “chill” or easy to be around. Sure, it might help resolve arguments a lot faster, but when you’re constantly the one letting your partner have his way and he’s never willing to let you have your way, you’re just letting yourself get bullied in your own relationship.
  3. You base your standards on what guys want, not what you want. We’ve all seen the “dream girl” of every bro-flick out there — she’s slender and gorgeous while still being able to out-drink and out-eat the guys, she easily forgives her boyfriend for making terrible choices, and her interests generally revolve around “masculine” topics like sports. And hey, if that sounds just like you, way to go. But if you’re only trying to be That Girl because you think it’s what you should be like in order to land a guy, you’re not going to attract the type of person who’ll make you happy.
  4. You’re “chill” because you don’t think you can do better. Do you really not care if your guy won’t commit to you or do you just say that because you don’t think you could attract a man who would want to commit? Stop classifying yourself as a beggar — you can be a chooser, and you shouldn’t put up with BS just because you don’t think there’s anything better out there.
  5. You stay with people you know you should break up with. Everyone makes mistakes, and patience is a virtuous quality to have in any relationship. But there’s a difference between accepting that your partner isn’t perfect and staying with someone who isn’t good for you. If you think you’re low maintenance just because you’re sticking around with a bad partner, break up with them and spend some time reshaping your standards as a single woman.
  6. You stay silent on things that bother you. Picking your battles is one thing but zipping your lips to create the illusion that you don’t let anything get to you is something else entirely. Even “chill” people speak up when their boundaries are crossed and if you don’t, it might be because you don’t think you’d be heard if you did say what was on your mind. Everyone deserves a partner who will listen to them and if yours doesn’t, it’s time to raise the bar.
  7. Your role is more motherly than girlfriend-y. There’s a difference between taking care of your partner when they need it and acting like a surrogate mother figure. Of course it’s nice to tend to your partner when they’ve partied a little too hard, but when it becomes an everyday occurrence or you feel like you’re constantly picking up your partner’s slack, you’re not a doting girlfriend who lets the little stuff slide — you’re a second mom to an overgrown manchild.
  8. You know that if you were to ask for something, you probably wouldn’t get it. Yeah, it makes you look pretty cool in your boyfriend’s eyes when he asks for something and you happily deliver, but would he do the same for you? If you’re afraid to even ask yourself that question, you’re smart enough to know that you’re on the losing end of this relationship dynamic. You should never be so afraid of losing your reputation as a low-maintenance girlfriend that you worry about asking for things that would make you happy… especially if you know that your boyfriend wouldn’t hesitate to ask you for the same things.
  9. You’re always, always the giver. The give-and-take in relationships should always be about 50/50, but it’s OK if sometimes one partner gives more than the other. The problem comes in when your partner is too comfortable with taking and refuses to give back to you. Accepting this imbalance just means that you’re fine with having your needs spat on — it has nothing to do with how easy-going you are.
  10. Deep down, you know you’re settling. It’s easy to convince yourself that you really don’t need a lot from your partner to be happy. Especially as the concept of the “cool girl” gets placed on a higher and higher pedestal, you might think that finding true love is easier if you just “chill out” a little and let more things go in your relationships. But search deep within yourself and ask if that’s really the person you want to be. If your gut is telling you that you’re settling for less than you deserve, there’s a reason for it. Pay attention to what it’s saying, and if the message is that you need to raise the bar, it’s past time you do it already.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt. She's also a TEFL/TESOL-certified ESL teacher and an equine enthusiast. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lived in Costa Rica for a while before moving to Australia. In addition to her work as a writer and editor for Bolde, she also has bylines with Little Things and regularly writes for Jiu-Jitsu Times.

You can follow Averi on Instagram @bjjaveri or on Twitter under the same handle.