Do You Have Realistic Or Unrealistic Dating Standards?

We’ve all got standards when it comes to romance, but are they all that realistic?

By Keelia Clarkson4 min read
shutterstock Do You Have Realistic Or Unrealistic Dating Standards?

It’s only human to have standards – that’s how we make most of our big decisions in life. Where will we live? Well, it depends on what our standards of living entail. Will we take that job? That decision hinges on whether or not they pay enough. What kind of friends will we have? That’s based on the qualities we most value in a person.

So much of our lives are determined by our personal standards, especially when it comes to dating. We’ve all had that one friend who swears after a breakup “I’m never going to date an artist again!”, or we ourselves have had an image of what our dream boyfriend would look like based on a childhood fictional crush.

Standards aren’t inherently bad – they can point to a greater desire, value, or ideal we hold dearly, and they help guide us to make the right decisions to make that dream a reality. But at the same time, some standards can be incredibly unrealistic and unreasonable. Women have, for years, lamented over the unrealistic body standards inflicted upon us by magazines, photoshop, and now, Instagram filters.

But it’s not always easy to tell when we’re being unrealistic. So are your dating standards realistic or unrealistic?

Unrealistic: He Should Be Over Six Feet

It’s no secret that women like a tall guy, and the magic height seems to universally be six feet. Of course, we want to be able to wear heels and still be shorter than our guy, and we love the idea that he could protect us from anyone, but at the same time, guys can’t control their height. 

Women have countless ways to cover up their insecurities, and it’s socially acceptable for them to do so. Have a bad breakout? Cover it with some concealer. Want to look like you’re more well-endowed? Get a push-up bra. But a guy’s height? There’s nothing he can do to change it. And believe it or not, being over six feet doesn’t magically make him a better boyfriend. So the next time a five-foot-something guy shows interest, don’t look the other way just based on height.

Realistic: We Should Be Attracted to Him

On the flip side, it’s not shallow to want to be attracted to a guy – it’s actually perfectly okay and realistic. Even after letting go of harsh, impractical standards, physical attraction is essential in any lasting romantic relationship.

While a guy can’t control his height, what does he do with the physical qualities he can control?

So while a guy can’t control his height, what does he do with the physical qualities he can control? Does he dress well? Exercise regularly? Keep up with his hygiene? Essentially, does he make an effort to be attractive? Even while we make the effort to not turn a guy down purely based on the physical, it’s still important that we search for someone we’re physically attracted to – otherwise, he’s probably better off just being a friend.

Unrealistic: He Should Be Able To Read Our Minds

From the time we’re young, we’re constantly sold the idea of soulmates, of finding the one person in the world we can ever fully connect to, fall in love with, and be understood by. While it’s certainly a romantic idea – finding someone who’s so in tune with us that it’s like they can read our minds – it’s really not a fair expectation.

The thing is, there’s no such thing as a soulmate. There’s no single person who was made specifically for us. Relationships are made up of two people who weren’t predestined to be together, but chose to be together. Because of that, we’ll never find someone who always understands us and unfailingly addresses our needs without having to be told – no one can intuit everything we need or desire.

Realistic: He Should Be Willing and Able To Communicate

So he can’t read our mind, fair enough. But does he still want to know what’s on it? That’s the most important question we can ask ourselves. If the answer is yes, then we’ve got a winner on our hands.

Healthy communication is what keeps the relationship going and creates it into one that lasts. 

Communication is one of the most crucial aspects of any romantic relationship. Without it, there’s no relationship beyond the dizzying days of the honeymoon stage. Once we come to find out that the guy we’ve been falling fast for is a flawed human, healthy communication is what keeps the relationship going and creates it into one that lasts. So while he can’t instinctively know exactly what we’re thinking at any given moment, a guy who’s willing and able to dig deeper is one to keep.

Unrealistic: He Should Make a Lot of Money

Has there ever been someone who turned down their lottery winnings? Everyone wants to be rich, to live comfortably and not worry about where next month’s rent will come from. Financial stress is one of the rudest awakenings of becoming an adult. With that comes the expectation that countless women place upon men: he needs to make a lot of money. But it turns out, that’s yet another unrealistic standard of ours.

Making money isn’t something to look down upon, but it’s also not the best way to judge a guy’s ability to be a good boyfriend. When my friend met her husband, he wasn’t doing well financially – but she also knew it wasn’t because he didn’t work hard (yet). If we base a man’s worthiness off how much money he makes, in all likelihood, we’ll be overlooking a guy who deserved a chance.

Realistic: He Should Aspire to Something

While we’ve established that a guy’s net worth truly isn’t the most noteworthy thing about him, one of the most straightforward ways to tell if a guy is the right kind to get involved with is if he has dreams and aspires to do something with his life.

He should work hard to accomplish something meaningful.

There’s absolutely nothing worse than a guy who lives his life totally day-to-day, not ever pausing to think about his future, what he wants out of life, and what a life well-lived would mean to him personally. When a guy works hard and aspires to accomplish something meaningful, we know he’s the type to actually take action to get what he wants instead of waiting for an ambitious woman to drag him along.

Unrealistic: He Should Want To Spend All Waking Hours with Us

Whenever we’re in a new relationship, it’s almost like we can’t get enough of this person. Everything about them is brand new and intriguing. But eventually, this obsession should taper off and we should have regular time away from our boyfriend.

When we expect a guy to spend all of his free time with us, we’re asking him to neglect his other relationships with friends and family, as well as his own personal freedom in order to serve our needs. But the thing is, we’re really not supposed to spend every waking moment with our partner – likely leading to more disagreements and less quality time. Plus, this gives him a chance to actually miss us.

Realistic: He Should Prioritize Quality Time with Us

Guys need guy time, time to be alone or with family, time to function as their own person instead of morphing into an ‘us’ forevermore – we all need this. We’ve all met those insufferable couples who won’t do anything without the other.

He should treat his time with us like it’s truly valuable to him while maintaining his independence.

At the same time, it’s both realistic and fair that we expect our boyfriend to prioritize quality time with us, rather than constantly making us feel like he’d always rather go watch the game with the guys than go out to dinner with us. He should treat his time with us like it’s truly valuable to him while maintaining his independence.

Closing Thoughts

So how’d you do? Generally speaking, our unrealistic expectations are simply realistic expectations taken to an extreme. It’s not that we ever have to settle or modify our expectations in order to get the guy, but it’s always worthwhile to examine what we’re truly looking for with the expectations we have, question just how realistic they are, and consider if we can manage them healthily.

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