14 People Reveal How Their Relationship Standards Have Changed Since Graduation

by Candice Jalili

I am literally nothing like the person I was when I graduated college and I'm pretty sure that's a good thing. I mean, that's part of the human experience, right? We are all supposed to be constantly evolving into new and improved versions of ourselves. And that means even our romantic tastes get more refined with age. In fact, in a recent Reddit AskWomen thread, these ladies shared how standards for relationships have changed since they graduated.

Actions start speaking louder than words.
I judge who they are based on their actual actions, not "their potential", or what "they really felt/meant/said" or that "they have a good heart/mean well/are misunderstood". I also don't expect them to change. What you see is what you get. I'm far less tolerant of red flags and have a list of absolute deal-breakers a mile long. There's no point in surrounding myself with people who don't meet my standards as good people.


Compatibility starts to outweigh common interests.
Honestly back then a soulmate was someone who ALSO loved The Smiths or whatever obscure movie.
Now it’s temperament and compatibility. Do we fit together, instead of do we like the same pop culture.
Sexual compatibility over Sex Pistols.


Kindness starts to outweigh intellect.
For many years I only cared if they were smart. Now they have to be nice too. Kindness comes first.


Having kids isn't a deal-breaker anymore.
I pointed this one out to a friend recently: when I was in high school or undergrad, I would never date a man with kids.
At that age, most of the guys I met who had kids already were sort of your stereotypical deadbeat teen dad who got a girl pregnant by engaging in risky sexual practices and barely saw the kid - and they used "I barely even see my kid!" as a selling point when asking me out.
But by the time I was 25+ I was realizing that most of the dads in my age range now were guys who had been married or in a serious long-term relationship, chose to have a kid, and were involved in the child's life.


Being employed is a requirement.
I expect the dudes I date to have a job now. That’s the biggest one.


Being picky isn't such a bad thing anymore.
they've gotten higher. i used to give anyone a chance, even people i wasn't attracted to, and this only attracted people who used that to their advantage. it was only when i started being discriminating that i met better quality people who returned my feelings and treated me with respect.


Being reliable becomes more important than being rebellious.
I have no interest or patience for the Bad Boy™ type anymore.
A person who shows me they can hold down a job and be reliable is immediately more attractive to me. I have a friend who's partner never held down a job in his life (a serial quitter) and I don't know how she copes with the stress.
Also someone who lives within their means; I really don't care about your fancy car if you can't afford it.


Depth and confidence start to outweigh more superficial qualities.
I think who you're attracted to can be a mirror of things you value. As for me:
High school: Please be cute. (But don't actually flirt with me because I'll most certainly not get it.)
College: Smart, witty, seemingly confident women (who sometimes are actually pretty clingy and easily hurt - hey me!)
Now: Someone who can hold a discussion, is progressive, wants us to pursue each other from the beginning. Being able to talk about sex without it meaning you want to bone from the first minute. Endearing eccentricities are a plus. An oddball with a weird sense of humour would be nice. Or in other words...this really close friend who might or might not be flirting with me lately. Maybe we're just both too chicken to say anything.


Sexual preferences can more openly be explored.
They now include women


Settling for a spark becomes difficult once you've experienced fireworks.
Chemistry and looks (in the "am I physically attracted to you" sense) are more important to me now than when I started college. I had a couple relationships with guys that were not bad, but just kind of flat because we didn't really mesh that well. Then I had a relationship where we basically had fireworks instead of a spark, so I added that to my standards because turns out otherwise we're better off as friends.


At a certain point, just simply wanting you stops cutting it.
I used to want any guy who wanted me. Now I look for a man who respects me, has a stable life (job, own place, etc.), respects the people around him. In high school I was awkward and the only guys who talked to me would do it in secret. Now many men try to talk to me and if I didn't have standards I'd be screwed.


People who are selfish in bed are selfish in life.
I don't tolerate men who think sex is over as soon as they orgasm, regardless if I have or not. We're doing this together, act like you give a damn about me too at least.


Goth guys are replaced by nice guys.
I used to pretty much be attracted to goth guys until I dated one who was a total nice guy. Now I like nerdy and smart men.


Sensitivity starts to be more important than a sense of adventure.
I wanted to go on adventures! Experience life! Make mistakes! Live and learn! Now I have slowed down, I appreciate a man I can get along with. I love a guy who is sensitive to my needs... I can see past first impressions and looks. I can see pos from a mile away


Now, you may have just read these and found that your standards don't align at all with those of the ladies mentioned above. You know what? That's OK. We all have ever-changing romantic standards that are unique to us. What matters to you may not matter to someone else and, if you ask me, that's what makes love beautiful.

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