Lesbianing With AE: Are your standards too high or are you just a dating perfectionist?

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Dear Lindsey,

I have been in a dating rut for the last year. I’ve gone out with many women who I met on dating apps and a woman that my coworker set me up with who was so not my type, but I appreciated her effort. Despite giving it a good try I have not clicked with any of these women, and for all sorts of different reasons. My coworker called me out a couple weekends ago after watching me duck a bad date at a happy hour. She thinks that I’m not really looking to date seriously, because if I were I would find someone I could be in a relationship with after spending so much time looking. She called me a perfectionist and said I needed to lower my standards. I think it’s good to be picky and I told her at least I knew who I liked and held out for the right fit rather than slagging every guy that asks, which is her MO. We made up but I’ve been wondering if she is partially right. Am I being too picky because I am afraid of letting someone in, or are my standards within the range of normal?

-Seeking

Dear Seeking,

The line between perfectionism and intimacy issues is a thin, slippery one. In my experience and my observations, anyway.

You say you have made a good faith effort to find love. Staying open to meeting new people is difficult to do at any age, especially if you’ve been burned before.

What I want to know is, what came before your dating rut? Were you in a happy relationship with someone who ticked all the boxes? Did you have unhealthy relationship patterns you want to avoid this time around? Did a woman break up with you and break your heart?

Context matters here.

If you are still nursing heartbreak, then you may not be open to love. Finding excuses for each woman you meet could be your flawed coping mechanism for avoiding heartbreak the next time around. When you really and truly let go of the lesbian who broke your heart and become willing to love again, then your standards will shift, even without you knowing it.

Finding excuses for each woman you meet could be your flawed coping mechanism for avoiding heartbreak the next time around. When you really and truly let go of the lesbian who broke your heart and become willing to love again, then your standards will shift, even without you knowing it.

You may believe you are being picky because you’ve had bad experiences in the past or you simply are not attracted to women who have a physical trait or personality quirk. The down side of perfectionism, as you are finding out now, is that no one can meet your impossibly high standards. You can either have the security of those standards and be alone until that one-in-a-million perfect match comes along or you can interrogate, with love, whether those standards are in your best interests. 

The down side of perfectionism, as you are finding out now, is that no one can meet your impossibly high standards.

You lashed out at your coworker when she offered a suggestion (sure, maybe not in the most tactful way). Something in her words resonated with you and you felt attacked. You then attacked and sex-shamed her to shut down discussion. Maybe she doesn’t need sex and intimacy to go hand in hand, the way that you might.

Rather than investigate her past life choices, sift through your own. When is the last time you were truly hot for a woman? What happened? What lessons did you learn about your worth and worthiness, and what might you have gotten wrong?

The thing about being a perfectionist is, you probably can’t see that your standards and expectations are way out of line with the norm. All you know is your own experience. And a subtle tug from your gut that suggests you aren’t happy with your go-to dating approach, because you aren’t finding a fit.

Since your coworker has got you thinking, I’d suggest you keeping mulling over your recent dates looking for the grain of truth in her callout. It’s good to know what you want when those standards are not unreasonable (i.e. you only want 6-foot tall glamazons who teach yoga) and when you are open to looking beyond the standards if someone meets most but not all of your criteria.

Rigidity in your dating life keeps you from growing, and that might be what’s holding you back.


 Do you have a question for Lindsey? Send it to the editor: [email protected] with “Q for Lindsey” in the subject line. 

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