Why It’s Time To Re-Evaluate Your Dating Standards


I live in New York City, home of The Beautiful People.

Sit in any one public spot long enough and you will probably see a model, a musician, a socialite or a celebrity. It’s unavoidable. Beautiful People are everywhere.

In this city, even the non-famous people, those with normal jobs, are stunning.

So it’s no wonder that ordinary people such as myself have a difficult time attracting others here. Actually, it’s worse than difficult – I’d say impossible – because I’m not a person that could be categorized as slim in body type. And New York City might be one of the most body-conscious, thin-centric cities in the country.

So I, in order to avoid the pain and heartache, took myself out of the race long ago. I turned to online dating, thinking that people would place more emphasis on the non-physical.

I was, of course, wrong about that; in fact, I discovered a host of other problems associated with online dating. Nothing felt worse than the inevitable let-down: that flash of insight when eyes met and one set of eyes revealed disappointment.


One man’s theory

I have friends, though, who hadn’t considered hiding themselves from public life. One such friend, a man with a face only a mother could love, has some insight into the dating standards of New Yorkers.

He feels that everyone – both male and female – are looking for the exact same person. And since this is a city with millions of singles, all looking for the same person, it makes dating a numbers game.

Eventually, some of the wiser, more introspective among us will realize that we are not going to get that person for whom everyone else came here in search of. We will also realize that we, ourselves,  are not the person that everyone else wanted.

What then? What does one do?

Even if we didn’t have the pressure of conforming to a much-desired type, how can we deal with the standards of others?

I have another friend, single by choice, who is very happy with her non-committal dating situation. She is constantly going out. Every weekend she’s got a date. She is, as she says, “casting the net of nets,” and her net is as wide as possible.

She dates with only one non-negotiable: they must share her faith.

Beyond that, she is open to all races, ages, professions and types. One week, she’ll attend a gallery opening with a tattooed motorcycle enthusiast. The next, she’ll be at the opera with a twice-divorced stock trade analyst.

The key, she feels, is to not have any standards at all. In making herself open to everyone, she rules out no one. In this way, she’s not only having a blast, but she is learning not to limit herself to a stringent allowance of possibilities.

She is often heard saying, “Do you really believe your soul mate, your life’s companion, your heart’s partner, really needs to share your taste in music?”

She feels that when we make ourselves available to more possible connections, we have a greater chance of finding that one person we might never have met otherwise and who just might be the perfect one for us.

In the process, she is learning a tremendous amount of valuable information about herself. She’s also seeing and doing so much more than if she’d dated only according to a type. This is her way of winning at the numbers game.


Ditching the map

Of course, not all of us have the ability to attract such a large pool of candidates over such a wide range of types. (She is, of course,  a New Yorker – very thin and extremely attractive.) But the lesson here is to figure out what is required for the elusive thing that all of us are looking for in a potential partner.

This might be the perfect time for us to re-evaluate our own standards. A trusted friend says, “You are who you attract.” If the standards of others are hindering you from finding your mate, perhaps the answer is in you, not them.

These standards have less to do with critiquing or updating our checklist and more about examining what we consider compatibility. To whom do we feel most drawn the most often? Is it strictly a matter of chemistry? Is it someone who shares our sense of humor or political beliefs? Is it temperament? Or is it something more tangible, such as looks or style of dress?

My serial-dating friend thinks that none of these things are as important as we think they are. In her words, “There is no map.” She often talks about how exciting this map-less dating experience is.

I tend to believe that!

Another way of looking at it is in the old adage, “When a door closes, a window opens.” Instead of staring at the closed door, perhaps it’s time to look around – outside our comfort zone – at the windows. Perhaps there are many more windows open!



  1. Maureen-763486 September 11, 2011 Reply

    I thought CM would be different from Match but it seems to be the same…just that they are all Catholic.

  2. Matt-762114 September 10, 2011 Reply

    Lots of wisdom here. And we must remember that every interest we have, every hobby, every taste, everything was new to us at one time. If you don’t venture out and try things (legal and moral, please), you may lose out on some great opportunities. And you certainly won’t grow as much as a person.

  3. Carol-307996 September 8, 2011 Reply

    Interesting article and interesting comments. So I got on CM because I thought I’d be more likely to find a Catholic man than on another site or cultivating the bar scene but I’m still looking for someone that I find interesting who is also interested in me. I live in a good sized midwest city–nowhere near the size of New York but it is a college town and I think that what you’re talking about in New York happens everywhere. The pretty young skinny girls get the guys–even the 40 something guys. I would say that I’m a fairly attractive person as well as a very educated one with a good job. But it seems that guys–even on CM–aren’t looking for ladies like me. I agree that you have to put yourself out there. You need to be open to dating lots of different people but what happens when you aren’t getting the dates? I also don’t think it is a matter of lowering your standards. Being open to meeting and getting to know a variety of people is a good thing. But there does have to be some sort of attraction or chemistry or something that makes you want to spend more than 10 minutes with the person and be comfortable being yourself otherwise you’re wasting your time and potentially his time too especially if he’s interested but you’re not “feelin’ it.” I think part of the problem is that we’ve all been sold on the idea of Prince Charming “rescuing” us–from reading Cinderella as a child to all of the Meg Ryan movies–we’re all expecting destiny to lead us to our soul mates and for them to be our everythings to us. It’s like the line from “Sleepless in Seattle”–You don’t want to be in love you want to be in love in a movie–that’s not really reality. I don’t know that any of this really makes any sense or not. I just really liked the article and it got me to thinking that it would be nice to be able to meet someone that I’d like to share a cup of coffee with, go to a ballgame with or just hang out and watch a movie who I think is interesting and finds me at my age, weight, height, and current state of not so perfectness attractive and interesting too.

  4. Diana-737319 September 7, 2011 Reply

    Oh geez, if “you are who you attract,” then I’m nobody…haha 🙂

  5. Patrick-606389 September 7, 2011 Reply

    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . no

  6. Loretta-552909 September 5, 2011 Reply

    Oh I forgot to mention in New York City there are not as many possibilities as you might be led to believe. For every three to five women there is one man.

    • Matt-762114 September 10, 2011 Reply

      Didn’t know THAT. Perhaps I should move there.

      You, on the other hand, might wish to consider Chicago (many more men than women).

  7. Loretta-552909 September 5, 2011 Reply

    Hi Catherine. I live outside of Manhattan. I work in New York City. Yes it is very difficult to meet some As far as Standards-yes we all must have some sense of standards. My main concern is meeting someone who follows the teachings of the Catholic faith-and I mean all of them. My other standard is really a question-is this man someone who I would want to present to my family? If the answer is no then he hasn’t met this standard.
    I also believe there needs to be chemistry. This can not be one sided. It does not work if one person is pining over you and you do need feel the same.

    • Cate-291547 March 5, 2012 Reply

      Hi Loretta,
      I support your desires on all counts – the Catholic standards and the family idea, as well as the chemistry. And yes, NYC seems impossible at times. Have you ever gone to the Catholic speed dating events or any singles events?
      Good luck!

  8. Maria-696350 September 5, 2011 Reply

    There are so many wonderful people in this world who love God and have wonderful qualities. None of us is perfect, so why do we get caught up in non essentials? I think it is because we are afraid. For me the answer lies in letting go of expectations and in being the very best that I can be. I respond to one and all who contact me and sometimes I contact those whose profiles inspire me or move me in some way to let them know. I don’t know if any of these wonderful men will find me attractive (that’s not just a physical criteria) or if it will lead to the fulfillment of my desire for my prince charming but I pray that when it’s right that I’ll be open to God’s will and I will give myself to my new love with reckless abandon emotionally and spiritually before we say our vows and completely thereafter till death do us part. NO FEAR.

    • Maria-689654 September 5, 2011 Reply

      Hi Maria,
      Very well put! I agree with you; we and those we seek are all individuals and cannot be categorized or put in a mold or a box. We do have standards or qualities( more personal than physical) that we look for and when we find this person we communicate our interest. They then go through the same process. As one wonderful man said:Every one has a list but I’m not fulfilling someone’s list; I’m a person and different, and rebellious. The process is the fulfillment. If you were in love with someone and they were horribly disfigured or if they had an disabling accident, you wouldn’t forget them. That would simply become part of the relationship. Once you want to change them; you lose.
      If its meant to be you will find someone; I don’t know if I’m meant to be with anyone. Its just life

  9. Joanne-730292 September 4, 2011 Reply

    Sorry to hear some of you ladies are not having much luck in the dating scene. I agree with this article to a certain extent. Whilst this is the platform where you are looking for who interests you, it is good to see who is interested in you too and if they merit further attention. Whatever their background or beliefs may be, you should feel free to draw the line if your own ‘standards’ are not met and to know the other person can do so too until you both find that mutual partner. Good luck!

  10. Mari-611004 September 4, 2011 Reply

    Hi Catherine, do you believe in serendipity?..I know this may not be connected with the topic, but I’ll just ask anyway:)

    • Cate Perry
      Catherine Perry September 4, 2011 Reply

      Hi Mari, I do believe in Serendipity, actually – what my mother so cleverly refers to as “Godcidental” moments, yes!

  11. Irene-704558 September 2, 2011 Reply

    So far no luck in finding a prince on CM. I don’t have a list of criteria to meet before I consider anyone. I just need to have something in common with them. Maybe it’s me and the on-line thing. Missing something, would you say? Everyone in my town seems to have a life and at school ( I’m a teacher) everyone is married.

    • Marita-847688 July 19, 2012 Reply

      I know what you mean about everyone who is a teacher is married. I’ve even got comments about how it’s my turn to get married. Ha.Ha.

  12. Deanna-558852 September 1, 2011 Reply

    I like your friend’s attitude, Catherine. I think, often we are the roadblock to potential possibilities. Nice article. Thank you.

  13. Patrick-606389 September 1, 2011 Reply

    Of course, not all of us have the ability to attract such a large pool of candidates over such a wide range of types. (She is, of course, a New Yorker – very thin and extremely attractive.) But the lesson here is to figure out what is required for the elusive thing that all of us are looking for in a potential partner.

    Let me guess she’s white as well . . . as if that had nothing to do with it. LOL. When you are the superficial ideal and young — and you aren’t really asking God about this question — just dating around —- then standards are moot. Her one standard of faith —- twice divorced men would hardly fit into the standard a practicing Catholic would have. Come now . . . my standards remain . . . while flexible — I prefer some to none. And even though I may die alone —

    What I am supposed to consider alcoholics, prostitutes, cheats, — how about cats and dogs . . .

    How about the standards of Christ.

    • Cate-291547 March 5, 2012 Reply

      Hi Patrick,
      Thanks for your comments. You are correct about her race, and the blunt truth there is that it’s a factor that makes attracting people very easy for her.
      Excellent point re: her faith. I neglected to mention that her faith is Judaism, not Catholicism; and she’s not Orthodox, so the twice-divorced thing is not an issue for her.
      The larger point, however, was that if one is focused on, as you wisely stated, ‘young/shallow’ standards, then it definitely IS time to re-evaluate standards.
      I wish you the best of luck in your search and admire your adherence to the ‘standards of Christ’. However, your ‘prostitutes/dogs, etc.’ comment is offensive and clearly misses the point here.

  14. Angie-584510 September 1, 2011 Reply

    I’d rather to remain single than lowering my standards.

    • Cate Perry
      Catherine Perry September 2, 2011 Reply

      This is not about lowering standards; no mention of that at all was made. “Re-evaluating” has nothing to do with lowering.

      • Mark-762881 September 6, 2011 Reply

        Well there not talking about raising your standers, that’s for sure.

  15. Maria-689654 August 31, 2011 Reply

    I don’t live in NYC where there are millions of possibilities. I live in a small town with very limited choices. Thus, the reason I joined the online dating scene. As you mentioned in your article; catholic men are just as particular about their choices of mates( ATTRACTIVE, SLENDER, EASY ON THE EYES). I am very lovely and beautiful on the inside and I have a beautiful smile but not a beautiful face. I have an obstacle; my physique. I am short, Rubenesque or zaftig. Being female; I have another disadvantage; I am not the hunter-I am the hunted. All I am doing is getting exposure and hopefully get spotted.

  16. Jim-397948 August 31, 2011 Reply

    If I do not find a princess on Catholic Match…I will keep sailing and running on weekends so I meet a wonderful woman who enjoys the outdoors!!

Post a comment