What to do if your relationship standards are too high or too low
Many introverted men find that creating standards for their dating lives can feel like a delicate balancing act.
If my standards are too low, I open myself up to frustration and disappointment… yet if my standards are too high, I’ll have to deal with longer seasons of loneliness.
So how can you find the sweet spot that falls right in the middle of these two ends of the spectrum?
Consider this quote from an Introverted Alpha reader (let’s call him Chris) who used to worry, “My standards are too high…”:
“Thanks to IA, I really elevated my standards. I told myself, ‘No, that’s not good enough, this is specifically what I want, and I deserve to have what I want.’ And obviously not from a place of entitlement, but you know, if I execute and work on becoming the best possible version of myself, then yes, there’s no reason why I should settle for less than what I want, or what I most desire. I think that has really opened me up to an opportunity that before I wouldn’t have been confident enough to pursue.”
If that sounds like something you want for yourself as well, we’re here to help! Today, we’re going to cover…
- How preferences and standards are different,
- The types of standards you can have, and
- Important questions to ask yourself.
By the end of this post, you’ll go from thinking, “My standards are too high…” to being able to determine, evaluate, adapt, and honor your standards!
Why are standards so important?
Establishing healthy standards protects your time and energy while keeping you open to great opportunities.
Now, let’s discover the difference between standards and preferences!
What is a standard?
Even though it’s common to hear people equate standards with preferences, those are actually two very different words!
Dictionary.com defines a preference as something that is esteemed before or above others. It means liking one specific thing better than another.
A standard, on the other hand, is defined as a principle that is used as a basis for judgment or an average requirement, quality, quantity, or level.
When you consider what you’re looking for in a relationship, is it a preference or a principle? Desiring a woman with dark hair over one with blonde hair is a preference, while wanting to be with someone with a similar worldview is based on a principle.
Action Step: Take some time to reflect on your desires in a woman. Write them down in two separate lists (one for non-negotiable standards and one for preferred traits).
Although you may become attracted to someone who doesn’t have all of your preferred traits, it’s important not to compromise on the standards that matter deeply to you.
Four types of standards
When it comes to choosing your own standards when you’re first thinking, “My standards are too high…”, get as specific as possible! To do that, we’ll work with four different categories:
- Values and Character
- Social Lifestyle
- Emotional Maturity
- Physical Presentation
Let’s dive in!
1. Values and Character
As an introvert, you think deeply about the world and yourself in it. While the woman you end up with doesn’t need to mirror your beliefs exactly, there should be a harmonious relationship between her values and yours.
If you worry, “My standards are too high…” then look for peace, understanding, empathy, and a shared respect on what you hold dear rather than an identical reflection.
It’s important to consider how your beliefs compare to hers with regard to…
- Religion and spirituality,
- Culture and background,
- Family relationships and planning,
- Politics and education,
- Financial management and goals, and
- Health and wellness.
These shape who you are as a person, and when these fit together beautifully between you and someone else, it creates an uplifting, safe relationship for the both of you!
If you aren’t sure what a woman believes, you have two options:
Indirect approach: Listen to what she says, the way she talks about the world, and how she views people in general.
Direct approach: Simply ask her what she thinks about a topic that’s important to you (wellness tends to be an easy starting point).
2. Social Lifestyle
In a relationship, you will both be profoundly impacted by the people you surround yourselves with.
You may have heard the popular saying that “you’re the average of the five people closest to you.” More recent research suggests that it’s much bigger than that!
Since who you surround yourself with impacts your life on a direct level, it’s okay to hold very high standards in this area.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Who are her friends? Who does she spend the most time with?
- What are they like? What do they do for fun?
- Is she happier and more peaceful after spending time with them or more irritable?
- Are they kind, generous, and supportive? Or do they take more than they give?
You’ll find that the people closest to her can also heavily influence the activities she partakes in and the goals she has for the future. Interests and ambitions can include…
- Culture, and
Again, you don’t have to have all of the same friends, hobbies, and goals! You can have a joyful, fulfilling relationship with healthy individuality as long as you maintain great communication, expectations, and boundaries.
3. Emotional Maturity
Emotional maturity in a relationship refers to the ability to encounter stress or conflict, cope in a healthy way, and bounce back after it has been resolved.
A handful of factors weigh in when it comes to emotional maturity, such as…
- Age and life experience,
- Exposure to adversity,
- Mental health,
- Coping strategies,
- Conflict resolution skills,
- Empathy, and
- Personal growth.
While other standards may feel more straightforward, emotional maturity is one that can be a bit more nuanced.
Here’s a question that may bring some clarity if you’re thinking, “My standards are too high…”:
When she’s struggling or stressed out, do you feel frustrated or hurt by the way she handles herself?
As well, do you recognize how hard she’s working to get through that adversity and want to come alongside her and help her however you can?
You may find that women with emotional maturity below your standard can make you feel irritated while those with a higher level of emotional maturity calmly earn your respect by how they carry themselves through a trial.
4. Physical Presentation
It is healthy and normal for you to want to be with someone you’re attracted to! If you have to convince yourself to like a woman because of her other wonderful attributes, it’s likely because you are not that attracted to her.
In the same way that you deserve to be with someone you desire, women deserve to be with someone who desires them!
While it’s completely normal for you to feel disappointed if the attraction is lacking, you’re actually doing the most considerate action possible by stepping away: freeing up her time and energy to find someone who truly finds her attractive and desirable!
Evaluating your standards
Before you take any other steps, give yourself time to think through each of the categories and questions above.
Once you know what you’re looking for and what’s important, you can then discern which of your desires are flexible preferences and which ones are firm standards.
Now it’s time to determine how fair, reasonable, and attainable your standards are!
If you started reading this article thinking, “My standards are too high…” and wondering if it’s true, you’re about to find out by answering these two simple questions:
1. Do you personally meet all of your standards?
If you are expecting a woman to come into your life who exceeds your standards even if you aren’t meeting them, that’s not very realistic.
2. Do other women you admire meet all of your standards?
Let’s say your good friend is happily married to a wonderful woman. You’re glad that he’s married to her, and you would love to be in a relationship similar to theirs someday. Is that woman meeting your standards?
What about other women you respect and look up to? If they are below the standards you’ve set, it would be wise to readjust them.
The true purpose of standards isn’t to disqualify anyone from being with you; the goal is to protect your time and energy so that you can invest it in someone who will bring as much joy and fullness into your life as you will into theirs!
Final words of wisdom on relationship standards
Let’s review what we covered today:
- How preferences are different than standards,
- Types of standards you can have, and
- Important questions to ask yourself.
One more reminder: Note that sometimes people are unable to meet the standards that they usually would during a period of their lives. Seasons of grief, stress, or extreme adversity can dampen the usual gusto.
Offer grace and support in those times as they discover their resilience, and then you can assess at that point how they are in their natural habitat of everyday life! Still, how they respond to trials does show you a lot about them; so if you’re thinking, “My standards are too high…”, be sure to take in the complex array of information you’re being given with each interaction and context.
Your next steps if you’ve been thinking, “My standards are too high…”
It’s time to take action to make sure your communication, dating, and leadership skills keep improving. Here’s what to do next!
- For more advice on healthy standards, read these two articles: Are Your Dating Standards Too High? and 8 Dating And Relationship Standards For Introverted Men.
- Download our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead” to build true, lasting confidence.
- To bring out your unique best with healthy standards, consider our Become A Benevolent Badass program.
Through this in-depth, personal 1:1 coaching program, you’ll…
- Find your inner true north and deepest sense of self,
- Become your relaxed and playful best around others, and
- Rise up as an intentional social leader.
Becoming your best self will revolutionize the way you see yourself, connect with the women around you, and pursue your vision of what you’re looking for. Become a Benevolent Badass today!