Dating: Some Criteria for a good mate!

If we treat dating as a way of having fun, exploring the opposite sex, learning about relationships etc., then we might be dating as a past-time, a form of entertainment or a time filler. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but some see dating as a serious passage of life in which we prepare ourselves for marriage.

If we treat dating as a screening interview for marriage, however, we will be viewing dating as a stepping stone objective to the final goal of marriage and growing old together-till death do you part! Some singles wish to settle down and believe they are ready to do so. Several failed relationships can motivate them to analyze their dating habits, their criteria for dates and/or analyze themselves for flaws. The emphasis today is to focus on our criteria for dating.

If we are taking dating seriously there are certain things we consider screen-outs and screen-ins. We also have certain things we look for in a person that we could consider RANKING criteria on screen-ins. That is, certain criteria we compare to others and assign a higher or lower rating toward them. Example: He/she is a real 10 out of 10 in the money area-a Millionaire! The screen-in criteria of economically stable sometimes overlaps with the ranking criteria because more is sometimes better!

Screening Criteria Examples:

            Examples of Bad Screen outs that are non-negotiables to many persons:

  • Addictions-past or present (Alcohol/Drug, cutting, hoarding, gambling, etc)
  • Unemployed presently or history of
  • Chronic or acute physical illness
  • Many surgeries performed or scheduled
  • Large debt, bankruptcies or poor money management history
  • Arrest or conviction history
  • Mental health illnesses/challenges
  • Special needs (IE. Mentally or physically)
  • Poor hygiene/habits (Odor, nails, slurping eating with mouth open)
  • Too old or young to share same interests, values etc.
  • Incompatible personality traits (ie controlling, selfish, lazy, opinionated, stubborn, loud, introverted/extroverted, nocturnal,)
  • Incompatible body types (Unattractive physically though heart, personality and spirituality is acceptable.)
  • Children, pets that are dirty or allergic
  • Interests are too different (Indoor vs outdoor, active/doing vs passive/watching)
  • Values too different (Politics, Conservative vs Liberal/progressive)
  • Beliefs and religion are too different (Christian vs Non-Christian)
  • Dirty, disorganized living arrangements
  • Gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, body hair. (these are preferences to dating and NOT prejudices unless they are treated unequally.)
  • Living in car or with parents
  • Married too many times (in the eyes of the beholder)
  • Never married though middle aged (a matter of perception/interpretation)
  • No class, sense of chivalry or manners (IE Inappropriate dress or speech, burping and letting gas out in public, treats opposite sex without appropriate respect, etc.)
  • Selfishness (Taker), self-centeredness, stubbornness, rigidity of views/beliefs.

Screen -Ins:

  • Salary over $(your perception).
  • Employed/stable employment history
  • Same religion, values and politics (All are related)
  • Home owner or stable housing
  • Attractiveness/fitness Physically
  • Education level is acceptable
  • Credit rating is acceptable
  • Relationships with family/friends are stable and appropriate (Social intelligence)
  • Lifestyle: eating and exercising habits, preferences and flexibility
  • Balance of listening and talking as appropriate
  • Confidence without arrogance

Ranking Criteria:

  • Annual income over average or over yours
  • Worth/holdings/retirement
  • Available leisure time/flexible schedule for quality time
  • History of emotional, financial and health stability
  • Family history of stability
  • Local vs traveling career compatibility
  • Balanced career, social, personal and spiritual life.
  • Clear short-term and long-term goals

Questions Worth Asking Yourself:

  1. What requirements do you look for in a mate?
  2. What things do you consider ruling out one for dating?
  3. Is there a point or a period of time in dating (3rd date, 3 months, 1 year etc.) at which you must discuss each other’s beliefs, politics and religion before getting totally committed to one another?
  4. How and when do you and that other person know you can announce that you are exclusively dating one another?
  5. So, what are the red flags that signal you to cut off the dating relationship?
  6. List the places, events, activities and venues where you have met the persons more in line with your expectations.
  7. Looking within, what needs, vulnerabilities and conditions existed that contributed to your past poor decisions in dating.
  8. What have you learned from the past? How will you adjust your attitude, expectations and behaviors moving forward?


“I’m just looking 1st for someone committed”, you exclaim! Ok. Start there. Perhaps that’s the toughest criteria in some circles and age ranges.  Do I need a “relationship counselor” as in the movie “Hitch”, you ask? Perhaps yes, if you have no friends or they are clueless as you. It’s nothing to be ashamed of today as dating norms are changing fast. The emphasis of social media, internet dating, “meet-up” groups and the ease of texting with its rules coupled with our busyness of life has changed the landscaping for dating today. And the mid-lifers and seniors are now realizing after divorce or death that starting over is a monumental challenge!

There are exceptions to every rule. Marrying quite young after high school or college is actually a plus if you share enough in common to serve each other’s needs/expectations while having the commitment, willingness and ability (IE adaptability/flexibility) to grow together. That topic is, however, left for another day and blog.

Happy dating!

By Wayne R. Faust, MA, SPE, HSP

Author of 300 Billion to One, Available at                           ;;;

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