The Recurring Dating Debate: ‘Are We All Just Too Picky?’


It was nearly 11 p.m. on Tuesday, and Lisa-2533 felt compelled to start a new topic in the Tobias & Sara Room, one of 41 popular forums on CatholicMatch. It was a question she’s asked before, one she’s shoved to the backburner that keeps sliding forward:

“Are we all just too picky?”

She’s hit on a hot subject – less than 24 hours later, the question has already elicited 35 replies and 143 views.

Lisa started the conversation by quoting an article that asks some tough questions: “Is it possible that we fuss and analyze and ponder and think way too much? Is discernment just a nice way of saying we prefer to procrastinate or that we are too terrified to decide on marriage?”

“What do you think?” she asked her fellow CMers. “Are we too picky?”

“Yes,” wrote Cate-291547. “Our priorities are out of kilter. A lot of what people – more often women – do to themselves is what I call ‘The Relationship X-Ray Machine.’ They overanalyze, pick something apart, over think, beat an issue to death, ask every friend they’ve ever had…they talk to everyone except for the person they’re with.”

David-364112, meanwhile, advocated for a nuanced kind of open mindedness. “Our narrow expectations often foreclose our ability to realize God’s plan for our lives,” he wrote. “We all need to pay less mind to our own expectations and try to look at the world more openly. This does not mean that we must compromise our standards or beliefs. It does mean that we need to be open because what God has in store for us may not be (and probably is not) what we expected.”

“Good point, David,” Angie-241523 chimed in. “I used to think I had it all figured out and I had a pretty solid list of criteria in place. One day I realized that it was just me and that list…and it was not very good company. So…out went the list. I opened my eyes to the world around me. That was the best thing I could’ve done for myself. Once I allowed myself to be open to God’s plan and to not question why or make excuses, I began to see the many blessings that He had been trying to bestow on me all along. After I opened my mind, my heart followed, which allowed me to meet many wonderful people in so many facets of everyday life.”

Allen-580511 jumped in soon after, making the case for more reasonable standards. “Most of the criteria are arbitrary and meaningless – as opposed to things that matter, such as faith, character and so on – and all they are really doing is potentially cheating themselves out of a great mate.”

Then Patrick-606389 weighed in, writing, “I will remain as picky as my conscience, scripture demand.”

What do you think? What makes criteria reasonable? How picky is too picky?



  1. Liz-649130 November 22, 2010 Reply

    I compare the CM criteria as unreasonable as any form of academic exam. However, as a teacher, I know we need to measure a student’s knowledge or ability for certain tasks. Indeed these criteria are arbitrary even though the way I respond reveals a bit of who I am, where I come from, my likes and dislikes. In my search for matches I have to accept all of the above and trust that God’s will be done.

  2. Jim-397948 November 21, 2010 Reply

    No, I am not picky…just looking for a great zip code to share the rest of my life!!!!

  3. Nicholas-124272 November 20, 2010 Reply

    We should be out converting Muslims, not playing Catholic Trivia.

  4. Sara-638486 November 18, 2010 Reply

    Sometimes I make the first move and send out a sign of friendship, however, the responses are few. I believe I’m an open minded individual who reaches out but is pretty hard to be encouraged when there is no response. Are we setting up unrealistic standards? What are we looking for? Really…

  5. Philip-600116 November 17, 2010 Reply

    I find it interesting that most say “Gods Plan for us” He has no plan, as that would be “Predestination” which would make Him responsible for all the horrors as well as the joys of humankind. Does anyone think that God held Hitler in good standing for his world desecration? I think not. I rather feel that as the Church teaches that we are to follow the precepts of the Church to the best of our ability as we in our own heart feel comfortable. We as humankind are directed by Fear rather than Love. I suggest religion uses fear. If you do or not do something you will go to hell. Is that not fear? It would be better to say “Dont do or do something because you Love. I prefer the latter. Therefore I ask is being “Picky” fear or love.

  6. Kevin-308802 November 17, 2010 Reply

    I believe we are all too picky. We might reject someone for having children, they smoke or any number of things. We truly don’t get to know that person first.

    • Sara-638486 November 18, 2010 Reply

      I agreed with you Kevin, way too picky or too scared….LOL

  7. Joseph-561868 November 12, 2010 Reply

    Being picky in the context of the subject is something I have been avoiding as I continue to find my other half. I had to do a lot of reflecting when I first started looking to determine what was truly important to me and what was “nice to have” but not really the “end all, be all” of a cohesive relationship. So I do agree that being overly selective can hamper one’s chances of finding the right one and likewise, it can make it really difficult to really meet someone’s criteria if they are overly specific.

  8. Kathleen-108323 November 12, 2010 Reply

    When a younger person I should have been more picky! No regrets, as I was fortunate to be a mother to 2 sweet young boys who are now good husbands and fathers.

    I should have considered the importance of my faith and the ramifications the lack of a Catholic marriage would have on a lasting marriage. I was young and thought I could change my spouse’s beliefs.

    After living like that for 15 + years, I want a real marriage with God in our relationship. I am picky. If I cannot find a man who shares the same religious and moral values, I will stay single.

  9. James-194907 November 11, 2010 Reply

    Being to picky is saying “no” to possibility thinking….it keeps us close minded and does not allow Gods Will to work in our lives. It is our sense of control trying to guide, control and tailor a person to meet our needs. We can use “our children” as an excuse to shortchange a growing relationship; we can use finances (who can boast not having a tough time these days) as a way to isolate a singular issue; we can use age difference, location or geography, political differences, diet, exercise, edsucation and amny more. All in the effort to dictate LOVE. Remember Corithians 13? Huh?

  10. Robert-550606 November 10, 2010 Reply

    Picky ? If some women are looking for CLONES of their deceased or divorced first loves, yes, they are being picky. What you should be looking for are what I call “new horizons ” No, I am not a Doctor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

  11. Kathy-555815 November 10, 2010 Reply

    Yes, there is God’s plan for us, but there is also free will that we have given to us by God. It is OK to have certain criteria. Yes a person can be too picky, but again we all have some standards in who we are looking for.

    • Jerry-74383 November 12, 2010 Reply

      “Yes, there is God’s plan for us, but there is also free will that we have given to us by God.”

      It is important to understand what free will is — and isn’t. Free will is not free license: while we have the ability to act in opposition to moral law or God’s will, there will be consequences for doing so. It is always best to disern God’s will and to act in accordance with it, even when — nay, especially when — it is contrary to our desires.

      Is it OK to have criteria for dating and/or marriage? It depends on what the criteria are — and as long as we don’t put our criteria ahead of God’s will. For example, it’s not unreasonable to desire those who are faithful Catholics or who are mature enough to handle marriage. ; I can’t think of a good reason to use eye or hair color, for example, in one’s dating criteria.

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