How Much Will You Settle for in Love?

Woman holding pink tulips.

We all have standards when it comes to interacting with other people. When it comes to love, the consideration that you will be spending most of your life with someone tends to raise these standards in most women. While you might pal around with a wild party animal guy in freshman year of college, your sights are set on a higher caliber guy for a possible life mate. If Mister Party All Night develops a crush on you and confesses his devotion, you’re left trying to make him not feel terrible while extricating yourself from what has unknowingly become too intimate of a relationship.

Fast forward four years and a lonely spell makes you wonder if you should have jumped at the chance to be with someone who claimed to love you. Would it be better to be in the arms of someone you never exactly dreamed about instead of not being in anyone’s arms at all? This semi-depression is an insidious game of can’t-win … across town you can bet there is a woman who decided to take a leap of faith on the college puppy dog crush who showered her with affection in between bouts of kegger parties. Picture her sitting in the living room, alone, while he is passed out early for the night yet again. While you and she are both lonely, the fact that she settled makes her loneliness more of an obstacle to overcome, while you can patiently plan on when and where to accept a guy into your world who you might have rejected a few years ago.

Your requirements for love change as you age and are dependent on many of your life experiences. Here is a checklist of the most common requirements women demand in a man. The more you have checked off here, the higher your standards are, and while it is good to have high standards, you may be unable to connect with a man who meets all of these. You might consider ditching some of the less important ones, but everyone’s list will be different as will the order of their priorities in the selection of a life partner.

Good Looks

A man who is easy on the eyes is a great thing to wake up to. Many women are secretly much more shallow than they will ever confess to. Others deeply feel that the aesthetics of how he looks is critical in one’s being accepted socially. Many women thrive on appearing as having been capable of corralling a good-looking man.


The idea that your man will provide material security for you, especially if you intend to start a family, is at the top of many lists. When you are younger, determining the earning power of a man based on his college major is a time-honored tradition. Does a business major make less over his lifetime than a future lawyer or doctor? Does your free-spirited philosophy major come from a wealthy family that could set you and him free to philosophize away the days and nights of your love?

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Many people have absolute beliefs and do not compromise on them when it comes to making a commitment for this lifetime. Problems can arise when these “definites” are avoided in discussion during the early part of a dating courtship. Unless it is discussed otherwise, dating implies that there may be the possibility that you two click and fall in love. To become increasingly intimate with someone whom you just know you could never take back to Mom and Dad is not acceptable unless your boyfriend of a different faith understands the temporary nature of your passion. Leading someone on is pretty much frowned upon by almost all religions.


Much like religious faith, many women are under intense pressure from family and friends to find a man from the same ethnic group. Our cultural attitudes are shaped early and even if we rebel, falling in love with someone from the same background is often easier. Some groups have outlooks on the world that differ from the liberated attitudes of the western world, especially involving a woman’s place in it. Epic novels are founded on the plot of wanting to break from tradition and yet being comforted by it.

Shared Values

If you like alternative rock and he likes country music, and he is cute, of the same religion and ethnicity as you and he makes a lot of money … some girls would holler “yee haw” and sign up for a line-dancing class while others would pack their bags and portable music device and continue to judge a man by the superiority of his musical taste. Can you put up with a man who is obsessed with baseball if you are immersed in the art world? Will a guy who wants to settle down in the country cramp your urban loft-dwelling dreams? While seeing eye-to-eye is nice, many women find that dumping this love requirement opens them up to new challenges in life that keep them sharp and on edge.

His Friends and Family

Would you date a man with children from a previous relationship? Could you marry a man whose mother was openly contemptuous of you? Are his friends from a different social set and you just don’t want to put the effort into fitting in? There are lots of questions surrounding the people with whom he spends time. Will you be expected to travel over the holidays to be with his family? What sacrifices in your own relationships will be necessary to make in order to come to a compromise. While this is not necessarily first date conversation material, many men come with a crowd attached, and your love requirements may not include standing room only.

Age and Health

Are you looking forward to being a cougar on the prowl? Did you spend your 20s chasing silver foxes? If his physical stamina is not on par with yours, is that a deal breaker? There are many aspects of a man’s physical wellbeing and condition based on his age that might be a turnoff no matter how great the chemistry gets between you two. Think about it early as you check off this list.

Put this list in order from absolute love requirements to unimportant matters that only cloud the pursuit of love. When you are certain of how many hoops your man must jump through, you will be able to better focus on just who out there meets your love requirements.

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