Single and picky

I reject women all the time because I can't stand the thought of being with someone who's unexceptional. Will I end up alone?


Cary Tennis
May 18, 2004 11:09PM (UTC)

Dear Cary,

I am a successful, intelligent, good-looking 35-year-old. I have been divorced for about four years. The divorce was amicable. I would like to get married again. I thought I knew the type of woman I liked, but have dated a lot after the divorce to test my instincts and work to find the next mate. As a result, I've had many dates and have been in many relationships.

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I always end the relationships or don't call back dates because I ultimately think there is someone better fitted for me out there. No one rejects me. I am trying to figure out why this happens and if my standards are so impossibly high that no one will fulfill them. I still feel youngish and am holding out, but I'm worried that I'll be 40 and alone.

After all the dating and relationships, my ideal is still stubbornly burned in my mind. Someone good-looking, funny, conversational and outgoing has always attracted me. Any woman who is not the life of the party is uninteresting to me. This type of woman seems hard to find, but when I do meet her, we get along perfectly. Why would these women be available at this point? She would be a magnet to guys and be whisked away early on.

Am I too picky? Is my ideal misleading me? I always think I'll have to compromise, but I can't bear the thought of being with someone who's not exceptional.

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Picky and Single

Dear Picky and Single,

What would happen if you were to fall in love? Would your criteria melt away? I think that's what needs to happen. You need to fall in love. If you can't fall in love, then what are you looking for?

I know that there are aspects of single life that resemble shopping, but let's not carry it to extremes. One can't simply order up a bubbly mate like a bottle of champagne, no matter how exacting one's specs are. I think, in short, that you have been a little too literal about the process of "choosing." If you can discard, for the time being, your criteria, and interact with others without regard to their presumed suitability as mates, you should experience some new and surprising affections that may remind you what you're really looking for.

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I suggest that you loosen up a little on the checklist approach, try to have some fun, and allow other people to do some of the choosing as well.

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Cary Tennis

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