With the countless amounts of dating apps, the constant need to field prospective daters for trends to avoid and dealbreakers, and the act of surveying the lay of the land for red flags, there is no wonder why dating is sometimes referred to as a “game.” And because not everyone who plays the game wins it, dating and getting to know someone new can feel like a process that goes on and on…and on. It’s easy to see why some of us become frustrated with the work involved in dating and finding the partner that best complements them.
When it comes to finding love and matters of the heart, practice makes perfect. If you don’t find yourself consistently in fulfilling connections, it is possible that you’re bound by unrealistic expectations in dating and don’t even realize it. Author of How Not to Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love, Logan Ury believes that daters who are not having success in finding love might be unknowingly limiting themselves by falling into the trap of one of three dating tendencies.
As a framework, Ury, a behavioral scientist, developed the three dating tendencies to help identify behaviors that might be hindering daters from finding the love they want. According to Ury, the tendencies (or dating styles) are the Romanticizer, the Maximizer, and the Hesitator. You can take the quiz to learn which dating tendency most fits you here.
Though primary dating tendencies are further expounded on in her book, below is a brief rundown of each, as shared on The Well + Good podcast.
The Romanticizer is the dater who is in love with love. They believe in soulmates, they believe in “the one,” and see love as a fairy tale. Anything less than is beneath them and settling. For this dater, work and love do not go hand in hand. In fact, they believe that love and the relationship for them will be effortless and therefore, they will know then that they have found the right partner for them. There is no room for imperfection in the image of the perfect partner (be it looks, lifestyle, tax bracket, you name it) that they’ve created for themselves. So if someone doesn’t completely match up to a list that they may have or their idea of how a romantic partnership should be or even begin, they could find themselves easily closing the door on certain prospects.
How Being a Romanticizer Limits You in Dating:
It could be easy to say that the Romanticizer has high standards, and having standards in dating is actually a welcomed aspect of dating. However, it’s important not to confuse having standards with having unrealistic expectations. Though sacrifice isn’t a necessity in the early stages of dating, compromise is sometimes needed in order to find someone who best fits you, even if it is not in complete alignment with your idea of who that someone would be. The person of your dreams could present themselves to you in a different package than you pictured, and you should work on allowing yourself to be more open to what they look like.
If “add tax” was a person, it would be The Maximizer. Similar to the Romanticizer, the Maximizer also has unrealistic expectations that stem from the feeling that the people they are meeting and interacting with aren't their "perfect" partner. What differs slightly is the way it manifests. The Maximizer cannot sit still in dating, let alone in a committed relationship, and are often left feeling like the grass is greener on the other side. They wish the person they were dating had a little more stylish or a little less goofy and are in constant search of a perfection that ultimately doesn’t exist. There is a tendency to nitpick the fact that the person in front of them is not “[insert trait or quality here] enough,” which doesn’t allow them to learn acceptance and the fact that no one can be everything to anyone.
How Being a Maximizer Limits You in Dating:
Instead of watering the grass where they are, the Maximizer misses out on finding love that could ultimately serve and grow them outside of what is "perfect." Great relationships don't just happen out of thin air, they are created. While it might actually be considered unproblematic that you are letting people go if you want to change them, the fact that you are constantly shutting potential down because you think the next date will offer you the “next best thing” in the form of your perfect partner is a ride you will always be on. Until you learn the art of compromise and acceptance, there will always be something “better” on the horizon. No one is perfect, and having a healthy relationship requires understanding that.
And last but not least, we have the Hesitator as the final dating style or dating tendency. Unlike the two previously mentioned styles, The Hesitator’s unrealistic expectations lie within themselves. Instead of shutting down romantic prospects because the meet-cute isn’t good enough (side-eyeing the Romanticiser) and because you don’t like that the person you’re on a date with isn’t into enough of the same hobbies as you (tuh, Maximizer), the Hesitator never feel like they’re good enough to date anyone. Hardly ever. It’s a tad bit self-deprecating with the added touch of self-sabotage. They are always waiting for the “right time” to date and internalize not having the career they want, the body they want, the money they want, or the growth they want as barriers for them to reenter the dating world. And even when they get to a place or accomplish a goal they might have for themselves, they still hesitate to start dating and find more reasons why the timing just isn’t right.
How Being a Hesitator Limits You in Dating:
The phrase “best self” comes to mind when thinking of what holds the Hesitator back. That constant desire to be better isn’t inherently bad but it can become debilitating when there are parameters placed of certain hoops that must be jumped through before someone deems themselves "worthy" of a partner and the relationship they want. There is only so much growing a person can do alone and the self-work that is gained from navigating relationships and getting to know people outside of themselves is sometimes underestimated. At some point, a person just plateaus and there's no upward movement.
It’s unrealistic to think that someone has to be “perfect” before putting themselves out there to date. No one is perfect, a person is inherently already enough, and they can put themselves out there to meet someone who echoes that fact and mirrors that truth back to them. But first, they must dare to take that leap. As Ury shared, “There's no value in sitting around making excuses and not dating. And if you say 'I'm working on myself,' great—do that in tandem with dating.”
To listen to the episode in its entirety and learn more about Ury's three dating tendencies, check the podcast out below.
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