October 08, 2010

Expectations, standards, and the quest for perfection

I've been reading Lori Gottlieb's book "Marry Him: The case for setting for Mr. Good Enough" and I gotta say, she has some very valid points. A lot of women have a checklist of the desired traits we want in a partner -- sense of humor, financially stable, family-oriented, etc. However, these standards are often subjective, overly specific, and impossible to achieve. What constitutes a good sense of humor anyway? Witty banter or practical jokes? Being able to laugh at yourself or never taking anything seriously? The permutations of humor are quite varied, but not all would be acceptable.

We seek perfection in a spouse, eliminating potential mates before we've had a chance to get to know them. We seek perfection in a spouse, even though we aren't perfect ourselves. We believe adjusting our expectations to be more inclusive and cast a wider net isn't being realistic, it's settling. And settling leaves a bad taste in our mouths.

Perhaps, we really do need to focus more on the good -- the plethora of qualities our potential mate has that are desirable -- than nitpick the few that irritate us. Afterall, what good is having impossibly high expectations/standards when you end up alone?