3 Signs you’re too picky in dating

Kate Taylor 7 March 2019

Ever wondered if all your friends are right and that you ARE too fussy in your love-life? Our dating expert Kate Taylor has the giveaways that you're a picky dater, and what to do if you are…

Emotional “pickiness” is something we can never recognise in ourselves. In your practical life, you might know that it takes you 35 minutes to choose an avocado or roughly 27 copies of Which? before you can commit to a new toaster. But in your romantic life, you’ll just think you never meet anyone suitable.

So here are the three most telling—but least obvious—signs that you might be being a little too discerning when it comes to matters of the heart


You talk in generalisations

unlucky in love

A lovely woman wrote to me recently expressing her dismay that “all men” on online-dating sites were lower-class. Another woman that I did a radio interview with last year told me that “no men were interested in women over 40” and that online dating was a waste of time.

In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, generalisations are classed as a “cognitive distortion”. They’re dangerous to your happiness because they feel believable, and they can cause you to change your behaviour in ways that don’t suit you. For example, both those women had given up on dating and were living their lives alone, quite unhappily.

To change your thinking, you have to challenge your generalisations. Look for proof that the opposite might be true. YouGov research says that 50 per cent of 25-39-year-olds in the UK, and 34 per cent of over 60s, know a couple who met online. Can all those men be “low class”?

Amy Adams, Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek and Julianne Moore all got married after the age of 40. I was 44. Am I unlovable?! Look for proof that your generalisations might not be true. Don’t change your behaviour because of a lie.


You rarely have second dates

too picky in love

If your standards are higher than, say, Saturn, you’ll rarely find anyone who meets them. But when you do, you’ll probably only see them once. Either you’ll discover something unattractive on the first date and decide not to take things further, or they’ll not want to continue things with you.

Dating—like most social interactions—takes practice. If you’re going on two dates a year, you’ll be putting a lot of importance on to each one. You’ll be nervous, you might be tempted to move too fast physically, or you’ll treat the evening like a job interview. Neither of those things is sexy!

Dates should be fun, light-hearted, brief and enjoyable, with no expectations. Try to meet more people for dates, just so you get into the habit of talking to someone new. Keep each date short (90 minutes is perfect) and low-key (drinks, lunch or coffee).


Your exes are identical

too picky in love

Physical attraction is essential in a relationship but it’s not based on eye colour, hair or height. Genes, smell, early imprinting, hormones and personality traits all combine in a baffling potion that tells our brain whether someone is snoggable or not. It’s honestly best not to fight it.

Date outside your “type” as much as you can. And if you’re dating online, always look at the matches the website suggests to you; they’re often based on an algorithm where the site learns who you really like by how you act on the website. 

I’ll bet you know friends who ended up being blissfully content with partners who looked nothing like the “type” they’d chased around at school, or the celebrities whose posters had lined their bedroom walls.

My ideal man is Alan Bennett in Far From the Madding Crowd—black hair, blue eyes, rugged, has a sheepdog. My husband is silver-haired, wiry, and loves cats. He finds Spanish women devastatingly sexy, and I’m about as tanned as a net curtain. We’re still happy.


So, you’re too picky. Now what?

too fussy with love

If you scored three for three on my Discernment Index, you could be wondering if your friends have been right all along, and that you really are a bit on the fussy side. How does that make you feel?

Picky people are often picky because of fear. Deep inside, you probably know people you might be happy with, but you’re too scared to approach them. Your biggest nightmare is that you’ll summon up the courage to approach the person you like, and then discover you’re not good enough for them. So instead, you look at all the other people who you feel you would be good enough for and decide they’re not up to scratch. That way, the failings are on them, and not you.

Try to build up your sense of self-esteem so you realise that not only are you good enough for the people you admire but that you’re also strong enough to survive being rejected.

To improve how you see yourself, start being more proactive in all areas of your life. Take new evening classes, apply for a scary promotion, pursue your childhood dreams. Start identifying as a person who knows what they want and who goes after it. Stop sidling away from things you love like a crab, start moving purposefully towards them like a lion.

When your life has a history of ambitions being realised, it’ll be easy for you to start following your heart in love, too.