When it comes to relationships, it's important to have standards.
Especially in today's society, dating can sometimes feel more like a chore than something fun that will ultimately lead to a partner. We're just a much busier generation.
We suffer from immense student debt. We generally have more than one job, and we're usually more concerned with taking a nap than we are with going on a date.
But sometimes, those standards can hinder you.
Do I think standards are important? Absolutely. I believe there are certain things you should never go back on.
You should want to find someone who respects you and who is compatible with you. You have to find someone you find attractive and who has the qualities you look for in a partner.
I think there are certain things you should never go back on. Otherwise, you will find yourself entirely lost in the relationship. You'll change who you are, and that's not good.
If you do change – which you will, if it's the right relationship – it'll be for the better. You'll have grown as a person and become a better version of yourself.
If you find yourself entirely changing for the wrong reasons and wondering, “Who the hell am I?" you've let your non-negotiables in a relationship go.
Take me, for example: I wanted someone who was sweet, caring, funny, a great conversationalist and smart. Other than that, I've never really had a type.
I've been interested in skinny guys, big guys, blonde guys and brunette guys. I've dated both short and tall, tattooed and straight-laced. As long as they had those aforementioned qualities, I wasn't ever really picky about much else.
I've had a lot of different experiences when it comes to dating. I had a lot of time to think about what I specifically wanted out of a person or relationship.
I never wanted to be led on again. I didn't want to be jerked around or at the mercy of someone else's emotions, while mine simply weren't taken into account.
I don't want to be an option. There were certain expectations I placed on the relationship, and I think they've benefited me.
I didn't go in thinking, “He has to like all the same things I do.” I could tell that when I met my boyfriend, we had many different interests.
He loves sports, and I really don't understand what makes basketball “so amazing.” I take books very seriously, and he gets bored by them.
He likes absurdly heavy music, whereas I try to keep an open mind. But liking different things gives us the opportunity to expose one another to new things the other person may not have approached on his or her own.
I also never wanted someone to have all the same feelings as I do on something. It creates less conversation.
I enjoy not seeing eye-to-eye on everything with my boyfriend because it makes for lively chatter.
It allows us to see situations from other viewpoints. But just so we're clear, we see eye-to-eye on the important things.
But while there are differences – and maybe sometimes we bicker over them – we still have a lot in common.
We love movies. Our different tastes have led to us binge-watching some truly exceptional shows. We both enjoy a good nap, and the joyous feeling of eating bacon.
It's that open mindedness that helps keep our relationship going. It was going into the relationship with only a handful of specific standards that made it great.
I know we mutually respect, care for, love, support and look out for each other. I've maintained those as my only standards.
I've let the rest just happen... and that's really helped. I haven't placed an insane number of restrictions on any potential partner or relationship.
It's important to have expectations, sure. But in our society – where we're always busy and find it difficult to manage dating ON TOP of all our other commitments – being open minded is important.
Keep your expectations to a minimum, and remind yourself someone is likely never going to be exactly what you're looking for.
The person we end up with is never the person we expect, and the relationship is never going to go exactly as you imagined. People are difficult to predict.
Just let things happen. Look for the qualities you want in a person.
Always expect respect and support one another, and be open minded. The love you're looking for might be hiding in the most unexpected places.
Look beyond your lists, and you'll be sure to find it.