Am I Just Too Picky to Ever Find Love?
There's a difference between being genuinely selective and having a fear of commitment.
In this day and age of hooking up with no strings attached, I think some pickiness is healthy. You don’t want to settle for just anyone who expresses interest in you. Long-term relationships require a lot of work; the better fit your partner is for you, and the more attraction and respect you share, the less effort it will take to keep things going strong.
That said, I have to ask: Are you genuinely being selective, or is it something else? Setting such high standards that you rule out every single guy before getting to know him can be commitment phobia in disguise. If you have a 38-point checklist that each guy must match (green eyes, full head of brown hair, likes dogs but not cats), you should ask yourself if you’re scared of becoming close to someone. If so, you need to suss out where your anxiety comes from. Did your parents have a traumatic divorce when you were 10, leaving you terrified of that kind of hurt? Was the breakup you initiated with your college boyfriend slow and painful? Next, write down what you think you risk by committing to someone, as well as what you think you risk by never going all in. This exercise puts things into perspective, revealing what you’re currently afraid of, plus the consequences of letting that fear dictate your life. Is this exercise overwhelming to you? Try working through the issue with a therapist. That way, you won’t let any fears cause you to miss out. No one is perfect (not even you, sorry!), so you may want to stay open to the one who breaks the mold and makes you happy.
Gail Saltz, MD, is a psychiatrist and television commentator in New York City who specializes in health, sex, and relationships.