Relationship Standards

I started my day today accidentally overdosing on strong cold medicine and super emotional as a result, but it was partly based in truth. I ended things with a guy yesterday, and he took it super well. We’re going to try to be friends. Of course, today, I started second guessing that decision something fierce. I don’t have a lot of long-term relationship history, so I started worrying that maybe I ruined it, that maybe I should have tried to talk to him about things, maybe I ended it because I just don’t know how to gauge what is worth ending things over.

Thank goodness, a friend talked me down, validated my decision, and emphatically told me that the types of things that I ended it over are “worthy” enough to end something over. She suggested I think about what hard relationship limits for me would be, and what softer ones are. This is my attempt to do that.

First, some things to keep in mind:

  1. If you expect these things of someone else, cultivate them in yourself. (I really need to work on the first and last things under “hard” standards, for example.)
  2. Remember: I’d rather be single than be in a relationship where I’ve made significant compromises. Don’t settle, not yet.
  3. It’s not unusual to date a lot or have it not work out. Wanting these things isn’t unreasonable. You’re worth it.
  4. For any of these things, the examples are examples and the principles are what are important. If he can demonstrate the principle in some way, I’m fine with it.
  5. If one or two of the “hard” standards are missing but everything else is there, give him a chance and talk about it with him before cutting it off.
  6. These can, and likely will, change, as will their importance. Be OK with that. Don’t spend too much time comparing guys against these standards – live in the moment. Wait for it to feel wrong before thinking about it in any analytical way – when it feels right, let it be right.

None of the following is in any particular order.

“Hard” Standards

  • Be able to express his physical attraction – i.e. be physically affectionate, hold hands, make move to kiss, etc. (a level of physical assertiveness)
  • Want to spend time with me – and is hesitant for that time to end, i.e. no dates ending super early on weekend evenings unless ill or early-morning commitment, makes an effort to plan seeing me
  • Understands my humor – be able to tease/sarcastically banter
  • Be independent – it’s ok to care about/be close with family, but be OK going it alone; have a place to live, way of getting around, ability to feed and care for yourself, job to pay the bills; OK with me being busy, wants to share that and doesn’t resent it
  • Willingness and ability to make me feel special – can be myriad of things, such as holding open doors, paying bill, planning date, bringing flowers, not complaining about transit to see me (or general willingness to travel to me/convenient to me for first date or two), a particular look in his eyes, calling me on the phone, texting me flirty notes sometimes, physical affection, etc.
  • Willingness and excited to try new things – restaurants, comedy shows, dancing, festivals, traveling, kink or sex things, etc.
  • Wants to settle down at some point – desire to get married, have kids, have a house.
  • Socially adept – can interact with my friends successfully (success meaning doesn’t insult them – directly or indirectly, makes conversation with them), is polite, has friends of his own
  • Willingness and ability to communicate openly – makes light of awkward moments, texts/calls/emails, easy conversation, mentions how he feels, voices what he wants 

Softer standards

  • Hasn’t been married before
  • Doesn’t have kids
  • Kink/alternative lifestyle things (soft standard is being legit into it, turned on by it…this is a hard standard insomuch as someone is open-minded enough to try, re ‘try new things’ above)
  • Civically engaged – volunteers, votes, has passion for at least one issue, involved in community, involved with family (any of these things suffices – apathy is the big off-putter)
  • OK with various gender roles depending on situation
  • OK with living in suburbs, or even potentially moving elsewhere
  • Doesn’t want to rush into kids/marriage
  • Isn’t planning on moving within the imminent (~3 months) future
  • No more than 10 years older than me

Other things that are important to me

Traits that matter to me: social etiquette, humor, adventurous, open-minded, intellect, ambition, passion.

Hobbies/interests I’d love to share: country or bluegrass music, grilling, road trips, dancing, board games, stand-up comedy, television, books, going to movies.


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