Any such thing as Mr Good Enough?

Close-up with KC Ejelonu

Email: Twitter: @kcejelonu

Is it lowering your standards or being realistic when you decide to settle for Mr. Good Enough?

Mr. Good Enough is looking pretty great when you watch your best friend get married, and you’re not even dating anyone … or when you go out with a “very nice” person who doesn’t exactly make your heart flutter and your adrenaline surge … or when you’re sitting at home, alone, on a Friday night watching another ridiculous romantic comedy.

When you experience these and other reminders that you are still unattached, it’s easy and natural to have thoughts like: “Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I should adjust my expectations. Maybe my standards are too high.”

In other words, should your criteria be untouchable and set in stone – or should you use a sliding-scale method of mate selection?

Not long ago, a book was published with the title Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. The cover copy says the author “explores the dilemma that so many women today seem to face – how to reconcile the strong desire for a husband and family with a list of must-haves so long and complicated that many great guys get rejected out of the gate.”

With chapter titles like ‘Don’t be Picky, Be Happy’ and ‘Dump the List, Not the Guy’, the book argues that women, especially as they get older, should have “more realistic expectations” (i.e. lower expectations).

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion – and our opinion is this: When it comes to finding the love of your life, settling for Mr. (or Miss) Good Enough is a recipe for dissatisfaction, if not disaster. Singles should determine precisely the kind of person they need to be happy.

To find a partner who is a great match for you, you should be extremely precise about what it is you want and don’t want in a partner. This doesn’t mean you have an impossibly long and complex checklist. The key is to compile lists of top 10 positive qualities (must-haves) and top 10 negative qualities (can’t-stands). Becoming clear about these characteristics prepares you to be a wise dater, someone who knows with confidence and clarity whether a potential partner is worth pursuing.

If you’re one of those singles wondering if you should lower your expectations, keep these thoughts in mind:

Maintaining high standards doesn’t mean holding out for Mr. or Miss Perfect. The issue here is not about trying to find someone perfect – and a good thing, too, since there’s no such person on the face of the earth. The issue is about you being clear about what kind of person you can love, enjoy, and grow with over many years. It’s about determining which qualities in a partner you can live with and which you can’t.

Conceding an item of your must-have or can’t-stand list is an invitation for trouble. Your criteria are highly personal – and the 20 items that comprise both lists should be carefully guarded. What is vital to you may not be important at all to another person. Some people can be happy with partners who have little ambition. For someone else, this same low level of ambition would be a significant turnoff. Compromising on a quality that relates directly to your predetermined must-haves or can’t-stands could very well be a relationship killer.

Wise daters are uncompromising about the big issues and compromising about the small ones. Once you’ve determined not to negotiate on your 10 must-haves and 10 can’t-stands, you can allow yourself more flexibility on everything else. Part of the adventure of love and romance is discovering qualities in another person you find attractive that you didn’t think you’d find attractive. You might be surprised to learn that a person has traits and tastes different from your own that you enjoy. Without sacrificing the most crucial characteristics of a potential partner, remain open-minded and flexible about all the nuances the person brings.

The bottom line is this: Does your partner have all your must-haves? Is he or she free of all your can’t-stands? If you can honestly say this is the case, your relationship is off to a promising beginning. Once your most vital criteria are met, you are free to enjoy the wide range of possibilities your uniquely created love has to offer.

Be patient, Rome was not built in a day. It may take some time to discover what appeals to you and why. You may make few friends and even break a heart or two; you may get hurt but keep at it. There are good men out there. You simply need to know where to look.

Expect a human being, not someone perfect. No one is going to be everything you have ever dreamed of. Give the guy a break. You already know that you are not Ms Perfect as well. You will make mistakes too. Relax a little and don’t be too picky. Allow for human frailty; look beyond physical attractiveness. You don’t want a slob anymore than he does, but he doesn’t have to be Mr. Hunk either.

If you want a man of faith you will be more apt to find him in church than in a bar.

If you want a man with purpose and direction in life realise he is not the type of fellow who answers, “I dunno” when you ask what his long-term goals are. This guy has his head on straight and knows where he is going and how to get there. He may be poor, or come from a broken home, but he is determined to rise above difficult circumstances. He wants to go somewhere in life. He believes he has a future beyond age 30 and doesn’t want to jeopardise his future. He has a dream beyond living at home with his parents or next week’s big party. He wants something more than being “bad” right now.

If your fellow’s highest aspiration is getting high on ice, you better look elsewhere.