I Thought I Had High Standards But They Were Actually Too Low

I always prided myself on having high standards until a string of toxic relationships made me take a closer look at myself and understand where I was going wrong. Here are 14 things I did that proved my standards were actually too low and I needed to raise them:

  1. I was looking for all the wrong things. Instead of focusing on guys who had really good qualities that would make for a healthy relationship, like loyalty and a good heart, I was always distracted by their looks. One of my deal breakers was a guy who wasn’t attractive because I wanted sparks and chemistry. The result? I ended up with ridiculously handsome guys who were douchebags.
  2. I thought I had to put up a fight. In troubled relationships, a woman with high standards will GTFO before she gets destroyed, but not me. I thought I had high standards because I’d try to work extra hard on a failing relationship. I put up with so much crap, thinking it made me a good girlfriend. No, it just made me stupid.
  3. I was too extreme. From thinking I was so fussy about guys, I’d end up with such losers. How does this happen? I think anything that’s too extreme can be a bad thing. It’s like sticking to such a strict diet that when you see delicious dessert, you can’t help but eat five. I should’ve been more balanced about how I saw guys and really taken a good look at who they were before rushing into relationships.
  4. I was desperate to find loveI thought I was just like any other 20-something on the dating scene wanting to find a loving relationship, but I was actually quite desperate. How do I know? I’d have certain deal breakers in place that were quite frankly ridiculous, like not dating a guy who didn’t have a sexy enough voice, but then when the guy showed interest in me I’d fall for him hard and totally ignore all my deal-breakers.
  5. I thought I could change them with love. If I really liked a guy, I’d try to ignore my deal-breakers. I’d think they’d change for me and rise to meet my standards. Ha, what a joke! If I’d really been a woman with high standards, I would’ve loved myself more than them and changed myself instead of waiting for them to change. That would’ve resulted in self-growth instead of pain.
  6. I was acting like I had no standards. I was attracting toxic men and I couldn’t figure out why… until I realized that although I was always claiming to have super-high standards, the truth was that I wasn’t acting like it at all. I was acting like the nice, accommodating woman they could take advantage of. It was so messed up.
  7. High standards felt like a barrier to love. I thought having high standards would block love from entering my life. People would call me too picky or fussy and it started to get to me. So, I entered dating with a mindset of good men being an almost-extinct species. Beggars couldn’t be choosers! That made me put up with more than I deserved, thinking love would be worth it. It wasn’t. I should’ve stuck to my high standards instead.
  8. I chose not to express my feelings. I thought part of having high standards was being strong and playing a bit hard to get. But that’s BS! It only resulted in me compromising my needs and feelings. It wasn’t worth it one bit.
  9. I had low self-esteem. One of the biggest signs that I had low standards was that I didn’t have self-love or a healthy self-esteem. Although I knew what high standards I wanted in my love life, I didn’t follow through on them because deep down I didn’t believe I really deserved them.
  10. I didn’t care about compatibility. Many of my relationships were a disaster because the guys and I just weren’t compatible. I didn’t see that because I was focusing on the wrong things that I thought were my high standards, things like if they made me laugh and looked hot. If I’d really had high standards, I would’ve focused on compatibility and if it wasn’t there on a deep level, I would’ve bolted.
  11. High standards won’t push good people away. I pushed away a lot of good people who didn’t make the cut when it came to the superficial standards I was so worried about. But that’s the thing: having high standards won’t do that. They’ll actually bring better people into my life because it means I’m choosing people for the right reasons—because they treat me with respect, are decent people, and worthy of being in relationships with.
  12. It was all about my ego. Having high standards isn’t about stroking one’s ego. It’s not about being with the hottest guy in the room or the quasi-famous guy because it makes me feel like a more valuable person. Lesson learned.
  13. I thought love could conquer all. Even my standards. I was so desperate to find love that I thought if I fell in love, it didn’t matter if the guy was not up to my standards. That’s such BS because self-love is the most important thing, and part of it is having high standards because it’s about knowing my worth and valuing myself instead of settling just to have someone in my life who claims to love me.
  14. I was high maintenance, not high quality. I used to think being high maintenance was the same thing as having high standards, but it’s so not. I wanted to be loved for looking like I’d just stepped out of a salon and I wanted to get whatever I wanted, such as the unavailable hot man. I thought that was a sign of high standards but I was fooling myself. I was too focused on appearances and the relationship chase. It wasn’t about having a quality relationship at all. If I’d wanted that, I would’ve gone for quality men who were as good on the inside as they looked on the outside.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.