Dating can be overwhelming. With so many books, celebrities, and television shows telling you how to master the art of love, it can easily create unrealistic expectations that drive potential partners away. No matter where you go, you will always find out sooner or later that people are just people. They are not superheroes, knights in shining armor, beautiful princesses, or charming princes that always say the right thing. Human beings make mistakes, break promises, return text messages late, and occasionally forget anniversaries. There should be accountability in relationships, but some have fallen victim to searching for perfection. Here are some indicators that your expectations are unrealistic:

Serial Dating Patterns: If there’s a new ‘special someone’ in your life like every other week, so much so your friends are beginning to forget their names, then you may be battling high expectations. Start to examine the reasons you become attracted or repelled by a person. Surface relationships often produce dating habits that are equally superficial and lead to serial dating. Eventually, you will have to settle for someone’s imperfections and remember that someone will have to settle for yours as well.

Your deal breakers are mostly physical attributes: Are height, weight, and eye color deal breakers for you? A better idea would be to focus on character traits instead. Relationships are way more difficult when you enter in with a bunch of preconceived notions about how a person should be. Just think about it, how would you feel dating a someone that always wanted you to live up to their ideal of you. Over time it would become exhausting. You want to date a real human being with a personality, spiritual life, and a sense of humor that helps to lighten the load of life. The thrill of dating a pair of nice biceps or a set of sturdy abs will soon wear off. Revamp your list and focus on the characteristics that last.

You really just want to date a version of yourself: Be honest. Do you value the strengths in others that are similar to yours and devalue those that aren’t? This is a sign that you’re looking for a relationship that makes you one hundred percent comfortable all of the time. Relationships are designed to pour love into our lives and they also expose and strengthen our weaknesses. Differences in others can act as lemons that squeeze and expose our own character weaknesses and flaws. Don’t be so quick to reject someone that’s not quite like you, it may be to your benefit.

The problem with unrealistic relationship standards is we become naively unaware to our own short comings. Everyone has an ideal mate in their mind of what their version of a perfect person should be but there should be room for the inevitability of human nature. We should never set relationship expectations too low, but taking some time to re-evaluate your list of must-have qualities will help you navigate the crazy dating world with realistic expectations.

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