The cliche about single people is that they’re single for one of the following reasons:

1. They’re afraid of commitment.

2. They’re too picky.

So yes, I am picky. But am I too picky? How picky is too picky?

I really don’t think there’s a satisfactory answer to that question.

We all know couples who pretty much fell in love at first sight. They had tons in common, were finishing each other’s sentences after the first date, and hey—they even kinda look alike. This isn’t to say their relationship is perfect, but there was never any doubt from the beginning that they were made for each other and would be sticking it out no matter what.

We also all know couples who really had to grow into each other—or at least one had to grow into the other. From the beginning they seemed to be polar opposites. The girl never imagined she’d be with a guy like that. Or vice versa. But somehow they’ve made it work. They’re very independent, have their own interests and friends, but there’s no doubt they really love each other.

Most of my relationships have been like the first kind. Obviously they didn’t work out in the end for various reasons. But the fact is, we didn’t ever really have to grow into each other. We were both hooked from the beginning.

For better or for worse, if I’m not feeling it after a first or second date, that’s it for me. I don’t like dating much to begin with, so if I’m not excited about it, I’m out. I also don’t like the feeling of trying to talk myself into things, especially when it comes to relationships. I’d rather just nip it in the bud before feelings get too involved.

But I’ve often wondered if I’m going about it all wrong. I mean, what if I’d gone on more third and fourth dates? Would I be happily married right now?

Illustration.

Sometime last year I met this cute guy. He was really nice, a lot of fun, and extremely confident—in the good way. He was leaving town that night, but got my number and said he’d call me sometime.

Sure, whatever, I thought.

You can imagine my surprise when he actually called that very night. We ended up chatting for almost 2 hours. (And I am not a phone person.) It was a lot of fun. He told me he visits my city a lot and would like to take me out the next time he was in town.

But here’s the thing. Even though it was surprisingly fun to talk to him, it was clear from the beginning that we didn’t have much in common. Our life backgrounds, our education backgrounds, our career backgrounds, our ideas of fun—all so very different.

I decided not to go out with him when he came back.

I know. But there were gaps that I felt were unbridgeable. Go ahead and judge me. But I did what I felt was best at the time.

So am I going about dating all wrong? Especially as I get older. There’s no denying that the already-small dating pool is getting smaller and smaller each year. If I can manage to find a nice guy who treats me well, is firm in his beliefs, and isn’t a loser, do I go ahead and try to make it work with him?

In the eternal scheme of things, is getting married to a good man and raising children more important than compatibility of interests and intellect?

I’m not looking for someone who’s exactly the same as me. I definitely value my independence in relationships and would need to have some space to myself. But there are a few things that are really important to me. These are things that majorly affect one’s lifestyle, but ultimately have no bearing on whether or not someone is a good person or would make a good spouse.

So how picky is too picky?

I think it’s different for everyone. I still don’t have an answer for myself, but am trying to figure it out. I have recently decided to go beyond a second date with someone who is not what I have pictured for myself. But I do find myself getting kind of excited when he calls. So, let the experiment continue.

FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2009

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