How to Set Your Standards While Dating

When you're seeking a long-term partner or someone you want to marry, you have to know what your standards are for that person. It doesn't matter whether you're trying to meet people online, at clubs or through friends. You need to know who you're looking for. If you know ahead of time what your expectations are, you'll skip a lot of dates that don't meet those expectations. You have to be careful, though, because you don't want your expectations to be too high.

Sit down with a sheet of paper or notebook and pen, and describe in detail who the perfect partner is for you. Write down physical traits and personality traits. Take as much time as you need.

On another sheet of paper, make two columns--one for the physical traits and one for the personality traits. List all the traits you described in the appropriate column. Did you write down more physical traits or more personality traits? If you have more physical traits, you might be too caught up in looks. It's important to be attracted to someone, but demanding that the person have brown hair and green eyes might be cutting out a lot of great people.

Decide upon your top five must-have traits. These are your basic standards. Don't date someone who doesn't fit one of your top five. If you listed a lot of traits during the first exercise, you might not find someone who meets all of your criteria, so you need to narrow it down to be realistic.

The next day, write down activities that you want to enjoy with someone you're dating, such as: Cuddle on the couch and watch movies. Go dancing and hiking on the weekends.

When you meet someone whom you might consider dating, remember the traits that you listed. Does he meet them, or would you be settling for too little? Ask him if he likes to do the things you listed. If he doesn't, he might not be the right person to date.

If you're trying Internet dating, first make sure that the person's profile matches the characteristics that you really want in someone. Remember that people can exaggerate, even lie, on their Internet profiles. You'll have to reevaluate when you meet for the first time.

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Things You Will Need

  • Paper or notebook
  • pen


  • Respect and honesty are two traits that should be in your top five. You should not compromise on those two standards, because they are the basic components of a healthy relationship.

About the Author

Michelle Bolyn is a licensed mental health professional and has worked since 2006 as a therapist. Bolyn has been writing mental health, wedding-related and relationship focused articles since 2007. She is published on and Bolyn received her master's degree in social work from New York University.

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