After dates with 60 people, I must ask, ‘Am I too picky?’

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Hi Meredith!

I have been single for over two years now and I am known as the friend with the hilariously unfortunate dating stories. I am that friend that couples talk about to each other like, "thank God we don't have to go through all of that." I am sick of being that friend.

I want to be in a loving relationship so badly, and I know exactly what I want at this point in my life. I know that I am extremely picky and I refuse to settle, but I really thought it would be easier to find someone I have a connection with. I know it is important to be patient, but I am 25 and I've "dated" 60 different people.

I will either get really excited about someone after the first date and then horribly disappointed after date three or four ... or I will not like someone after meeting them (virtually now) after about 10 minutes. The pattern I'm noticing is the people I do actually like and want to keep dating are emotionally unavailable and the relationship is doomed. The other relationships come to an end when I don't feel that "connection" that I am looking for. I am not sure if I am just not being realistic with my expectations or if I should stay true to myself when I have that gut feeling of "this isn’t right."

- 60 at 25

You don't have to settle, but you might have better luck if you a) give dates more than 10 minutes and b) remember that you might not know exactly what you want.

It's really helpful to know yourself as you seek out others, but sometimes we get so specific with the narrative – as in, "I want a person who works in the arts, loves books, climbs mountains..." – that no one can match up to the ideal. You might know a little about the kind of person you're looking for, but people who seem wrong for you at first might surprise you. You have to give them a real chance. Emotional availability sometimes presents as nervousness. People seeking companionship – for real – are sometimes awkward about it.

I won't say that 25-year-olds are less likely to be in the right place to commit. Clearly, many people meet partners at that age. I will say that there are many single 25-year-olds, and sometimes having more options can lead to impulsive decisions. When I interviewed people who met each other during the pandemic, they all told me it worked because they could focus on one person at a time. They truly paid attention to the possible partner in front of them. They went in with this mood of gratitude – like, wow, this person is choosing to bond with me during a difficult year. Now these couples tell me they're happy – thrilled, in fact – with someone they might have rejected after 10 minutes in 2019.

Another thing to remember; try not to think of dates as stories to tell your friends. I used to do that. I'd be thinking, "Oh, I'll tell Jess and Danielle about this ..." as the date was happening. But the date wasn't for Jess and Danielle, it was for me. This isn't a story. Stay focused.

I know it's frustrating, but it takes so much patience. I hope some of this helps.

– Meredith

Readers? Too picky? Slow down? Is this age? Help.