The Non-Negotiables

I make incredible demands on myself.

Some may call me a perfectionist, others may coin the term “over-achiever”, and I can’t even begin to count the amount of times someone has told me they envy my bravery. But to me, none of these titles really fit who I am because I’ve never thought twice about pushing myself to the extreme or shooting for my dreams – no matter how unattainable they may seem. To me, the most terrifying risk is not giving the things that matter the most, my everything. I’d rather fail a thousand times than to never try once. My expectations are undeniably high for what I hope to achieve and where I want to go in life.

And the same level of elevated standards applies in my relationships, too.

In the past, as I would go on and on to my friends about a date gone awry, a relationship that fizzled quicker than it boiled, and how for whatever reason, it was impossible for me to find someone who wanted to stay on the same page as me – most of them, either out of frustration, wisdom, or from what they thought was the right thing to say, advised: “Well maybe you shouldn’t expect so much.”

Is going into a dating situation or even the start of an official relationship without any expectations the best solution? They say if we don’t really anticipate much, we’ll be happy and pleasantly surprised with anything we get…right?

Well, I don’t know about you – but I can’t seem to wrap my head around this idea. If we don’t have standards, if we don’t insist upon certain qualities or things that are absolutely non-negotiable, wouldn’t we only attract men who are completely wrong for us? Or even worse, end up with someone who isn’t right for us, but could be perfect for someone else? Or vice versa? Wouldn’t we miss out on someone who we don’t feel the need to change?

I believe there is this thin line between having unrealistic images and hopes for what a relationship or person will be, and demanding what you will and will not settle for. That regardless of how wonderful someone looks on paper or in person, if they don’t meet what we know we need to be fulfilled and happy, then entertaining a love affair is wasteful of our energy, heart, and time. Sure, men are people too, but so are we – and we have personal standards that we shouldn’t (and probably can’t) shake.

So yes, I have expectations, and no, I’m not willing to lower them just to be deemed someone’s girlfriend, have someone give me a Valentine’s Day card, or find my match that I’ve always been told I can’t live without. (Though, I’m pretty positive I can).

My ten non-negotiables are actually quite simple, in my opinion, anyways:

Ya gotta be employed

And legally, for the record. You could be a millionaire or make what I make, as long as you have a job and you’re not sleeping on your mother’s couch or in your childhood bedroom. If I’m going to be an adult, I want to date one, too.

Ya gotta be taller than me

I’ve only dated guys over six-foot, but I’m not opposed to seeing if a 5’10 man would fit my fancy. The only thing is I love high heels and always will; so if I can’t wear my highest ones and be at least a little shorter than you, I’m not interested. May be superficial, but absolutely true.

Ya gotta be self-sufficient

As in, it is not my responsibility to transform you. That’s up to you, bud. I don’t want to fix you, I don’t want to mend your every worry, your every self-defeating prophecy, or your every case of blue balls. I also don’t want to control every conversation or lead you through discussions – you should have opinions and charisma inside of you already, that are not because of me. Life is full of bumps and I’ll sit in the passenger seat, but you’re in the driver’s.

Ya gotta want to have sex (and it has to work)

Think all men are sex-crazed maniacs? They really aren’t, and I’ve dealt with the ones who never want to do the deed, who can’t seem to make it rise to the occasion, and who just don’t have a clue what they’re doing. At our age, we should know better. And if we don’t, we should make an effort to learn.

Ya gotta be honest

Being charming and funny are also recommended, but above all other things – you have to be genuine. A big part of my job is searching and revealing the truth, so I value it. Even if it hurts me, even if it isn’t pretty, even if it changes my mind about you – just tell me. I’d rather know than to be fooled or oblivious. And you should remember the one person you should never get on the bad side of…is a journalist.

Ya gotta have your own world

I’m not one of those ladies who wants to be the center of her man’s universe. Sure, I like to be doted on, admired, and reminded that I’m beautiful (who doesn’t?) – but I’m also very independent. Even when I’m married, I’m going to need some nights with the girls and nights just by myself. You gotta have buddies and interests and hobbies that have nothing to do with me, please.

Ya gotta have energy

I’m a fast walker, a fast talker, and always a gal on the go. While I enjoy a lazy  Sunday afternoon and will gladly sit through sports with you (as long as you’ll return the favor by going to a show), I mostly want to be doing something. And whoever I’m with, should challenge me mentally along the way. So if you’re going to date me, you’re going to have to keep up with me – this may mean you’ll need to have Red Bull within reach.

Ya gotta let yourself go

I don’t think I’m God’s gift to men – and I know you’re not God’s gift to women. But, we could be sent from the heavens to meet one another. So please, don’t take yourself too seriously. You don’t have to be the best dancer and you don’t have to sing on key – but if you can’t have fun in our living room or at a concert – I’m not going to crave having fun in other parts of the house.

Ya gotta be open-minded

Yes, I want you to have your own opinions, but I also hope you are tolerant of those things you don’t believe in, don’t like, and of those who are different from you. Brownie points if you’re addicted to community service and volunteering as much as I am.

Ya gotta like NYC, the kiddies, and the puppies

Sure – I’m not at the point where I’m ready for children, but I can’t be with someone who doesn’t want them…ever. Also, I can’t rationalize picking a mate who hates the city I adore. As for the puppies – who doesn’t love them? I mean really?

Maybe I’m being too stubborn and overly ruthless – though those qualities have served me well in my career – but when it comes to finding love, I choose to believe that I’m worthy of the best. And when or if I meet Mr. Right, he’ll know that he has someone who is more than precious – but irreplaceable, because I hold myself, him, and our love to great expectations.

And that will never be open to negotiation.

PS: I’m curious to what your non-negotiable list. Comment below or email me and I’ll tweet them!

19 thoughts on “The Non-Negotiables

  1. Pingback: The Non-Negotiables (via Confessions of a Love Addict) « Shay Rae's Diary

  2. Ya gotta smell good!

    It’s a given, really. lol

    Love it! I just wrote a post kind of like this at my blog. It was nice to read yours as well! Your non-negotiables a lot more… concrete than mine. :)

    • I totally agree with this entire post. I’m engaged to an absolutely wonderful guy. My roommate Curly has been dating/not dating this not so great guy– he cheats and she knows it, but it’s “part of who he is.” Ugh.

      Expectations are so huge. I expect that my Superman will never cheat on me. I expect that he will take good care of me. I expect that he will show affection. I expect that he will be a good fiance by first making sure that he’s a good man. I expect that he will show kindness to me. These things are what I went into the relationship expecting- I won’t accept less from him. And yes, sometimes things need to be addressed (he’s not always one for having long conversations, which is something that I need), but he always meets my expectations, and I meet his.

      Lowering your standards means lowering the quality of guy you find acceptable for yourself. All of you lovely ladies are way too good to allow a so-so guy into your hearts.

  3. Pingback: The Non-Negotiables (via Confessions of a Love Addict) « Pernelson

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  5. I think having standards is fine. You need them so you don’t settle. It’s good to know what you want. You just need to realize when your expectations are too high. Like… you want Prince Phillip from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Sorry, Disney characters aren’t realistic. But I don’t think your standards are ridiculous, they are just fine!

    Some of mine…
    Needs to be a Christian. And I’m not saying this in that “you aren’t good enough for me if you don’t love Jesus.” It’s not that. I’m a youth minister, I work at a church. My faith is a HUGE part of my life, and if that’s something I can’t share with my husband… it’s just not going to work.

    Can tolerate a musical and a Disney movie on occasion. He doesn’t have to watch every episode of Glee, every Disney movie, or go see musicals with me EVERY SINGLE DAY. But sometimes you just have to. I mean, I randomly burst into show tunes sometimes. If you can’t handle that…. it’s just not gonna work.

    Must like kids. Again… even if we don’t have kids, I WORK with teenagers. If you can’t handle them coming over to the house sometimes or me hanging out with them because it’s my job… it’s just not gonna work.

    Hmmmm…. maybe I should write a blog about this too. LOL

  6. This is a great post. Most women now have no standards and they settle for almost nothing just to have a man in their life. And they wonder why they are so miserable or why they’re heading toward a divorce. While I believe it is important to compromise, it’s also important to be with someone you are compatible with. You have to be realistic with your standards but the truth is some things are simply non-negotiable and don’t push it you will regret it in the long run.

  7. i’ve never understood why people insist they’ll only date guys who are taller than them..i think it’s nicer, but if i really like a guy i don’t let it stop me

    my non negotiables: he has to be an atheist and he can’t have kids.

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  15. I only have a couple of non negiotiables really, firstly the guy has to have good teeth-theres nothing more off putting than a hot guy who has terrible teeth. second, mummys boys are a absolute no no, they gotta be independent and third, vanity is also a complete turn off.

  16. I used to have a list of non-negotiables…but each time I break up with someone, I realize I have to add to the list. My list is getting long…way too long for this comment. Lol. But yes, I have non-negotiables. No smoking. No temper. Job. Passions. Kind heart. Etc, etc. So on and so forth.

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