In relationships, there’s a clear difference between having high standards and unrealistic ones. While you can’t expect your partner to conform to your ideal of the perfect person, it’s important to uphold boundaries and expectations that protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being and ensure you get the respect you deserve. So, how do you do it?
What is the meaning of “high standards” in relationships?
When you’re dating someone, it’s important that you have certain expectations that your partner lives up to. By this, we don’t mean them paying for everything or treating you like a princess. Instead, high standards include things like showing courtesy and respect, putting effort into the relationship, and expressing affection. Certain standards will differ depending on the person. We’re all different, as are our needs and desires. And while another person can never meet every one of them, there’s nothing wrong with wanting someone who can at least do a few.
In essence, high standards are all about ensuring you are treated well in a relationship. It’s getting back what you put in, not being taken for granted, and receiving love and consideration from your partner. Also, it’s a way of protecting yourself from unnecessary pain and hurt. By recognizing when someone is not up to par and has no interest in meeting you halfway, you can identify the need to leave much earlier. This way, you don’t waste any more time and cause yourself any more heartache than necessary.
Challenges of demanding more in your relationships
- We hate ourselves for putting up with stupid boys. Unfortunately, dating involves a lot of BS’ing around about who’s going to text first and who’s going to initiate the first kiss. We hate ourselves for letting him play those mind games and for spending so much time praying he’d call us. We know we’re better than that.
- We won’t settle for mediocre men. We have friends who can pretend that their cheating boyfriends are good guys, but we can’t follow in their footsteps. The whole “ignorance is bliss” thing just doesn’t work for us. We won’t let ourselves be blinded by our feelings.
- We rarely find men worth dating. Most men in this century are lazy. They don’t want to put in the effort to make us feel special or to dress up when we go out to dinner. That’s why our first dates hardly ever lead to second dates.
- We come on strong. Men are used to women skating around their feelings, which is why they can be a little thrown off when we tell them exactly what we’re looking for. But we know what we want and aren’t afraid to let everybody know it. There’s nothing wrong with that, even though they think there is.
- We know someone better is always out there. Even if a guy seems nice, we’ll eventually find a flaw or two. Once that happens, we won’t know whether to continue dating him or to toss him to the side. We know no one is perfect, but we also know we can do better.
- Men aren’t used to women who won’t put up with BS. They’re used to women that they can manipulate in order to get sex. When we come around, they don’t know how to talk to us, or if they even want to talk to us, because they know we aren’t going to let them get away with murder like other girls have.
- Society actually criticizes us for having high standards. Whenever someone comments on how we’re “too picky,” what they’re really saying is that we should settle for someone, just so we can say we’re in a relationship. Well, screw that mindset. We’d rather be alone than in a relationship without real love.
- We hold ourselves to high standards, too. Some would say we’re perfectionists. We won’t leave the house unless our eyeliner is on point and we won’t arrive at a restaurant without topics prepared. We try to be on our best behavior during dates, just in case the man we’re sitting across the table from happens to be our soul mate.
- We already love ourselves. Some men are intimidated by strong, independent women who don’t actually need them to survive. They want our lives to revolve around them, and that’s never going to happen. But that’s okay because we’re perfectly happy without them.
Standards you should have for your partner
- You need someone who will make time for you. While many will look at this as a high standard, it really is a basic tenet of a healthy relationship. This doesn’t mean your partner needs to be with you 24/7. We all have our own lives, but we must set time aside in order to make relationships work. You shouldn’t feel alone in your relationship or have to seek companionship elsewhere. Your partner should ensure they make “relationship time” a priority. Otherwise, what’s the point?
- Your partner should introduce you to their family and friends. Some people claim that not doing this is a way to keep things private or lowkey and that it’s the best way, but sometimes that isn’t the case. Sometimes partners avoid introducing you to the people in their lives out of shame, perhaps because of multiple partners or maybe because they aren’t taking the relationship seriously. Expecting to be integrated into their life doesn’t mean your standards are too high.
- There must be clear lines of communication. Everyone deserves to have their space, but how can anyone be comfortable not hearing from a partner for days at a time? It’s not too much to ask of your partner to let you know beforehand that they’ll be busy during the day and won’t have much time to speak. Similarly, if they’re in a bad mood, they should share it instead of ignoring you for hours.
- Financial stability is a requirement. For some people, money isn’t an issue; for others, it’s a requirement. Some say this is too high maintenance, but it’s all about you and what you prefer. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a partner who has a stable financial situation, meaning no huge debts, a good career, and a comfortable lifestyle. That eliminates a ton of problems from the relationship and the focus can be placed on other areas.
- There’s no room in your life for someone who “hates” everyone and everything. There’s a thin line between not liking something or being passionate about a subject and being completely hateful or discriminatory. No one is going to like everything, but being with someone who seems incredibly angry all the time can be very uncomfortable, especially if you don’t share the same views. It is often better to separate those types of people from your dating pool.
- You expect to be aware of all important decisions. When you’re in a serious relationship, every important decision your partner makes ultimately affects you. Though some may be indirect, it’s not nosy to want to be involved in the decision-making process. You shouldn’t be made to feel overbearing for wanting to be a part of the loop because you’re much a part of the relationship and your future as your partner is.
- Your partner should listen to your problems and show support or concern. Your partner isn’t your therapist, but they should at the very least be a listening ear or lend a shoulder for you to lean on. You have a right to expect consistent care and support in whatever problems you encounter and whatever challenges you undertake. Your partner should be willing to support you through thick and thin.
- Loyalty is a must. You got into a relationship because you want that person to yourself, not because you plan to share each other with the world. Therefore, loyalty is expected at every turn. This includes honesty, trust, and faithfulness. It is not realistic to tolerate any form of cheating or lying from your partner regardless of the circumstances.
- Don’t accept comparisons. Every relationship is different and no matter how good a couple may look together, you have no clue what happens behind closed doors. Your partner should not use other relationships to criticize what you share since your bond is unique. Comparison is the thief of joy and once it comes into play, the relationship will always seem like it is lacking joy, happiness, and love.
Things you should be doing in your relationships
Holding your partners to certain expectations and standards is important, but it’s not all about them. There are things you need to be doing to protect your heart and keep your relationships healthy.
- Know your worth. It’s time to stop second-guessing yourself or filling your head with doubts about whether or not you’re smart/amazing/a catch. You are all of those things, and more. If you don’t believe that, who will?
- Don’t ignore red flags. If you’re always ignoring someone’s serious faults, you’re always lowering your standards. Soon, you’ll be completely blinded by love and allowing him to walk all over you. Keep your heart open but your eyes peeled for signs that someone isn’t right for you.
- Get a jerk filter. It’s not enough to notice those red flags and then just forget about them. You have to have a jerk filter when you go out on dates. A jerk filter is basically a name for all your dealbreakers. So, when you process those red flags someone is showing you, you’ll notice ones that are dealbreakers instead of letting them pass. It pays to know what your dealbreakers are because they are linked to your standards.
- Forget the fantasy. I’m not saying love isn’t amazing and fulfilling, but don’t buy into the fairytale that it’s going to be perfect or that you can change a not-so-great man into someone worthy of love. It ain’t gonna happen! Fantasies will only lead you astray and make you ignore their fatal flaws. Leave them at home.
- Know what you want. It sounds really simple to say you should know what you want when dating, but really think about it because you might find you haven’t. If you don’t know what exactly you’re looking for in a partner, you’ll be floating around and you won’t get what you want. Period. FYI: knowing what you want isn’t being fussy, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Never settle. Your needs might change as you grow older and wiser. For example, you’ll realize that those hot bad boys are actually not good partner material. But, you should never settle for less than what you want and what you know in your heart of hearts that you deserve. If you do that, you’re pretty much signing your happiness away.
- Carry yourself with confidence. When you believe in what you have to offer someone, you’ll be confident. This will make you walk tall and speak from the heart. It will make you feel strong to express what it is you want and what you don’t want, which will filter out all the jerks that you don’t need in your life.
- Be clear about where you stand. You can’t be a woman with standards if you aren’t clear about what you say. When you want to say “no” to someone’s invitation, say it instead of saying “maybe” and giving them the idea that you’re not sure of yourself. That’s not a sign of a woman with standards who knows what she’s after. Similarly, when someone asks you for rent money but it feels dodgy to give it to them, say so with clarity and don’t be afraid to set boundaries. When someone asks you what you’re looking for, speak up instead of holding your peace. A woman with standards doesn’t roll over and play dead.
- Don’t forget to set your boundaries. Boundaries are linked to standards because they help you to figure out what is okay and what isn’t okay. They’re basically a way of respecting yourself because they prevent others from being able to walk all over you. If you don’t have boundaries, you’re a walking doormat.
- Don’t get swamped by FOMO. If you’ve been single for a long time it can make you worry that you’re never going to find the right person, and this can make you settle or lower your standards so that you have more shots at love. But more shots don’t mean that you’ll have more success, so stick to what you know is right for you. It’s better to have standards and wait for the right person than to just date for the sake of it. Don’t deal with the stress of time running out by wasting it on the wrong person. That never led anyone to happiness.
Unreasonable “standards” that are actually just pickiness
You might think that the below “standards” are totally reasonable, but they’re not. They’re pickiness personified, and this type of judgmental behavior will find you ending up alone.
- They have to look like a model. You might think appearances are really important and you won’t date someone who’s not ridiculously handsome or beautiful. That’s sad because there are different types of attractiveness and if you’re only focusing on their appearance, you could be missing out on really gorgeous hidden qualities that matter much more than a set of perfect teeth.
- They have to meet your specific physical requirements. It might not be general good looks you’re after but specific appearances that you need in a partner, such as a guy who’s six feet tall, and has blue eyes and tattoos. You won’t budge from this shopping list, but what does it matter if the guy doesn’t meet all these requirements? They really don’t matter!
- They have to have a great (read: lucrative) job. It really doesn’t matter what they do for a living as long as they do it with integrity. What’s much more important than the type of job they have is whether or not they have ambition, motivation, and a successful person’s mindset. Seriously, someone could own a successful company and be a totally corrupt or arrogant jerk. Likewise, just because they’re a doctor it doesn’t mean they’re healthy or a good person.
- They have to fit your personality “shopping list.” Of course, you should have non-negotiable things you want in a partner, like a person who doesn’t cheat and who you can trust. But, when it comes to things like a witty sense of humor or someone who’s very outgoing, it’s unfair if you break up with someone simply because of those. They might have other qualities worthy of being your partner. No one’s perfect.
- They have to like your friends. It’s good for the person you date to make an effort with your loved ones, but what if he really just doesn’t like them and he has good reasons not to, like if they’re quite judgmental or ignore him when he’s around? It’s unfair to expect him to love everyone in your life. As long as they’re polite and respectful, they’re a good person.
- They have to bring loads of sparks to the first date. Chemistry is important from the first date, but if there’s not much of a spark yet you still had a great time, they probably deserve a second date. Sometimes awkwardness and first-date nerves can prevent a spark from showing up properly. But if there’s the promise of it, don’t write them off yet.
- They can’t get in touch too quickly after the date. You say he must initiate contact with you after the first date but then you feel creeped out when they do within an hour of the date because it feels like they’re moving too fast. WTF? You’re not being picky—you’re nitpicking. There’s a difference.
- They shouldn’t take too long to contact you after the first date. On the other hand, you might say that someone has to contact you ASAP after a first date if they’re interested. If they’re taking days to get in touch, then that doesn’t look good. But if they’ve waited a day or so, it’s really not a train smash. People sometimes also feel the pressure to play it cool and not show that they’re too eager, so give him a break.
- They shouldn’t be too nice. Yup, being “too nice” can be a problem, but only if the person seems to have a hidden agenda. For instance, if they’re so charming that they’re bringing expensive gifts to the first date and you can’t help but wonder why they’re coming on so strongly. But if they’re really a nice person to you and the waiter, and they don’t seem to have any issues, then what’s the problem? Nice people always beat the bad boys in the long run!
- They need to share your hobbies or passions. You want a partner who likes the things you like because that makes your weekends a lot more fun and it gives you a chance to relate to each other, but it’s silly to diss them just because they like different things. As long as you’re compatible on a deeper level, the hobbies and passions you don’t share shouldn’t matter. In fact, having differences could be quite refreshing.
- They need to be rom-com romantic. One of the things you look for in a partner is romance, and you won’t stick with someone who isn’t romantic. But are you sure you’re not just holding onto Hollywood ideas of romance? There are many ways someone can be romantic and make you feel special, so keep your eyes peeled for these signs instead of holding them to your romantic expectations that you really don’t need.