“How do I know there’s not someone else out there for me?” Amanda asked.
“What if I end up with the wrong person because I didn’t hold out for someone better?”
I’ve heard so many women ask some version of Amanda’s question.
(I’ve heard men ask this question, too.)
How do we know that this person is as good as we can get?
How do we know if we’re settling?
There Are Always More Options
This question has become even more pressing thanks to online dating.
Dating apps present a cornucopia of potential partners.
If one person doesn’t work out, there’s always another.
The “paradox of choice” tells us that having too many choices is stressful.
Picking the perfect option out of 10 choices is a lot easier than picking the perfect option out of 100.
It’s easier to be satisfied with your choice when you know that you’ve looked into all available options.
With online dating, it’s physically impossible to look into all the options. You can’t meet everyone. Even if you exhaust the possibilities on one dating app, there are dozens more.
Given that it’s impossible to know whether any particular man represents the “best” partner available to you, how do you feel confident in your choice?
Tip #1. Be a Chooser (Not a Picker)
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there are 100 men on the dating app you’re using.
How do you know which one you should pursue?
You might rate each man on the basis of looks, compatibility, sense of humor, writing style, etc., and message the top 5.
But even then you might be making the wrong decision.
Because none of them might be right for you.
Sometimes, when we are asked to pick a choice from the options available, none of the choices fit our needs.
Do we pick anyway?
Or do we get clear about what we want and set our sights for an option that might not be available yet?
You may want a partner who is outdoorsy and doesn’t spend much time on social media. If so, he may not even be using an app. You’re more likely to meet him in an outdoor setting.
Don’t limit yourself to picking among the available options.
Get really clear about the type of partner you’re dreaming of and create the conditions to find him.
Tip #2. Don’t Get the Best, Get What You Need
There’s always a temptation to want a partner who fits the stereotypical ideal.
Why not hold out for a guy who’s drop-dead gorgeous, an old-school gentleman, and astoundingly wealthy?
Well, there’s an easy answer to that.
Because that kind of guy might not make you happy.
What makes each of us happy is an idiosyncratic mix of traits. One person might want a guy who loves cats and snuggling on the sofa, while another person wants a partner who’s always up for adventure with his dog by his side.
So don’t try for the “best.”
Instead, get honest with yourself about what you need.
You need a guy who treats you well. Who turns you on. Who’s like you in the ways that matter most.
When you find that guy, give him a chance. He won’t be perfect. There will probably be someone else better if you wait.
But love can grow if you’re willing to nourish it.
Tip #3. Choose What Makes You Happy, Not What’s Easy
Have you ever dated a guy just because he seemed so into you?
Many women default to dating the guy who’s most interested in them. It’s just easier.
They enjoy the feeling of being chosen and pursued.
They don’t really stop to think whether they’d want to be with this man if his interest weren’t a factor.
It’s easy to swipe on an online dating app.
It’s easy to say yes to a guy because he seems keen.
It’s easy to fall into a relationship after a few months of dating.
But ultimately you want to ask yourself this:
Are you making choices because they’re easy…
Or because they’re truly making you happy?
The easy guy may not be the guy who would really make you happy.
You might have to do some work to attract the attention of your dream guy. You might have to step outside of your comfort zone. You might have to risk rejection.
Going with the easy guy protects you from all that.
But you miss out on what could be the love of your life.
You’ll never know 100% that the guy you’re with is the best guy you could have chosen.
But someone doesn’t have to be “the best” for us to love them.
Sometimes, all that matters is that they’re ours.