Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

‘Picky’ In Dating and Relationships: It Could Be A Problem

An acquaintance of mine calls herself ‘picky,’ but I think that word is only a part of the problem. I have watched her for years go in and out of relationships, and she always manages to find fault with the men she dates.

She tells people that the reason she can’t find a relationship that lasts is because she is picky. She goes on to explain that she is waiting for the ultimate catch, and that she simply has not met him yet. The truth is that she is not really picky; that is not the most appropriate term to capture why she has a terrible time finding a relationship that works.

The problem? She has a terrible fear of intimacy, of finding flaws in another, and of another finding flaws in her. For mere mortals, we expect that our partner will have flaws because we know we have them ourselves.

The woman I am speaking about is not narcissistic or grandiose; it’s not that she thinks she’s perfect. The problem is that she wants to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that arise in a long-term relationship when two people expose their true selves. There is a risk of rejection at that point. For most people, they can handle the uncomfortable feelings. They may not like them, but they will handle them. For this woman, she would rather avoid uncomfortable feelings.

How do you move past this problem and get over what I call toxic pickiness? You give your date or your relationship a chance. Accept that the person you are with is a package, and let yourself sit with some of the feelings you would normally run away from.

It is only when you confront the feelings you are most afraid of that you can move past them and claim victory over the issues that previously held you back.

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