Consult with Krystal
I’ve known this guy, lets call him the architect, for a few years. He went to college with one of my roommates and sometimes goes out with us. He’s always made it clear that he is interested in me but I’ve always told him I would rather be friends. I told him I didn’t want to make things messy since I live with his friend but the truth is I’m just not attracted to him.
Over these few years, I’ve used dating apps on and off. I’ve met a few guys that I dated for a couple months but nothing became serious. Then, I went on FIVE first dates that seemed promising where the guys ghosted right after. To be honest, this crushed my self-esteem and I wanted redemption. I decided to go out with my roommate when the architect would be there and I drunkenly hooked up with him.
To my surprise, we actually had a good time. It was so good he slept over and we hooked up like 5 more times that night! Since then, we’ve hung out a couple of times. I always have fun but I’m stressed because the architect has been asking me on a “real date.” I’ve been stalling cause I don’t know what to do. A part of me thinks that I should try to see what it’s like to date him. After all, it hasn’t worked out with the guys who are my type before. Another part of me feels like I just need to let him down gently because he’s not what I’m looking for ultimately.
What do you think? Should I go out with him? Do I end things with him? Am I being too picky?
– Ready to make a decision
What does it mean to be too picky?
Thanks for writing in! Feeling confused like this is always stressful and I’m happy to help. You mention the idea of being “too picky” a couple of times so lets start here.
To explore this, lets address the difference between needs and wants. Needs are necessary for our sense of safety and wellbeing. On the other hand, wants add joy.
A simple way to explore this difference is to consider your need for shelter which is essential for human survival. However, you personally may prefer to live by the beach, somewhere walkable, or on a rural homestead. You need a place to live but you have a preference about where you live which adds joy.
There are a few things you need to be picky about
All human beings have basic physical needs which include our need for sleep, hydration and nourishing food. To ensure our survival and prevent burn out or dis-ease, it’s necessary to care for these physical needs. When you honor your basic needs, your life runs at optimal levels.
In a relationship, there are a few qualities which must be present for you to feel safe. Unlike your physical basic needs, these relationship needs are unique to you.
Honoring your non-negotiable standards
The qualities you can’t live without in a relationship are your non-negotiable needs. These are 3-6 qualities which must be present for you to feel safe in a relationship. Safety includes a sense of peace and respect in our relationships.
Only you can decide which qualities are necessary in a romantic partner. Your non-negotiable needs come from your authentic self instead of what your friends, family or society say you “should” want in a partner.
Do you know what you want?
To identify if you are being too “picky” with the architect or honoring your authentic self, it’s necessary to first identify what’s most important to you.
What are the qualities that you must have in a partner? Think about deal-breakers in the past to help you identify your non-negotiables. Maybe you need loyalty or honesty? Maybe you need someone you are attracted to?
If you need more support identifying your non-negotiable needs, please read this article for more clarification. You can also sign up to get a free worksheet to help you with this process.
What can you be flexible about?
Whatever your non-negotiable needs are, I encourage you to celebrate them.
If the architect doesn’t meet these qualities, you are NOT being too picky. However, if he does meet these basic qualities but you’re still wondering if you should date him then you are either not being honest about your non-negotiables or you are too picky.
When you have a long-list of desires (those are the wants in life) and are unwilling to be flexible, you are being picky. If you want a loving relationship, being too picky is a form of self-sabotage. It also doesn’t honor the truth of life.
You never have to settle
When you find the person who meets your non-negotiable needs, authentically you will never feel like you are settling.
One of my personal non-negotiables which led me to finding my husband was mutual attraction. While I had a specific height and hairstyle in mind before meeting him, I knew from experience that attraction can come in all different shapes and sizes. My non-negotiable wasn’t height but mutual attraction.
What is true for you? If your non-negotiable need is a certain height, wonderful! It’s great you are being clear about what you want and can clearly say “no” to the architect.
Who are you making happy?
I’m very curious about your non-negotiable needs. You share that you have a great sexual chemistry with the architect which reveals an attraction to him. I know you can’t build a long-term relationship off sexual chemistry but you’re initial reason for not dating him was a lack of attraction. Is this still true?
Or, if you are attracted to him, is there a part of you perhaps that is worried about what other people will think? I simply invite you to be honest with yourself. Sometimes, we think we have certain standards but really, we just internalized what we “should” like or who we “should” be attracted to from others.
Setting boundaries around your truest needs
Are you prioritizing what you need or other people’s values? Are you trying to impress anyone with who you are dating? If you want support answering these questions, please try this visualization from my book, The Codependency Recovery Plan.
When you try out this visualization, explore honestly your true feelings about the architect as well as what messages you’ve picked up about why you should – or shouldn’t – be with him.
Ultimately, you know if he’s a good match for you. This comes from your intuition. Not I nor anyone in your life can answer this for you.
Loving yourself and disappointing others
My genuine encouragement is for you to be honest with yourself and confidently authentic.
If you genuinely do like him, after all, wonderful – have fun exploring this relationship!
Please remember you have the right to set boundaries and end your casual relationship with him now if you don’t like him. If you go this route, I encourage you though, out of kindness to end it with the architect. While I understand the appeal of using him to feel good about yourself, especially when you’re feeling rejected, it will only make things messier.
About The Author
Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to heal from unhealthy relationship processes. She does this by teaching the skills and tools necessary to have a life filled with healthy and loving relationships.
This passion led her to write her best-selling books and create courses. Her books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many people heal.
She is currently working on her book, Self-Love Made Possible: The 5-Step Guide to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy and Become Your Own Best Friend. To be notified of its release, please join the waitlist here.
If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to email@example.com or DM her on Instagram.
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