Are You Seeking Perfection or Just a Good Fit?

Illustration for article titled Are You Seeking Perfection or Just a Good Fit?
Photo: iStock

In the dating world, we all start out with some idea of what we want and are looking for in a prospective partner or love interest. As we meet people who we think have potential, we tally up and score them based on our set of criteria.


We’ve spoken about preferences before, and we’ve established that there is nothing wrong with having them. Whether based on our own experiences or things we have adopted and adapted from other people, our personal preferences and scoring systems tell us whether or not we want to continue entertaining or pursuing the people we meet.

But as we add up these scores, are we looking for perfection or a good fit? If someone has only three of the five qualities we say we want, do we dismiss them or do we give them a chance? How do we make that determination? What if perfection really is just a good fit?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in my own dating life.

Meeting someone new and learning all the things about them that make me like them has given me a chance to sit back and consider which of my preferences are absolutes and which would be nice additions to an already good package.

And this isn’t about settling. This is about figuring out which things are worth accepting and which are worth holding out for.


I’m still not dating “potential.” That is an absolute, as is a man who matches me in confidence and self-assuredness. Financial stability is also an absolute. There is just no going backward on these.

So what if he is a handsome, confident, financially stable man who is established in his career—but he doesn’t fully understand how nonmonogamy works? Do I pass on him? What if he is willing to learn? Should I give him a shot?


The point is, even though we go into these things with a list of all the qualities we want, there are times when we have to make adjustments. Just what we are willing to compromise on depends on the value we place on our preferences.

When we understand our preferences and know the most important things we want in a partner, the other things just sometimes fall into place.


While creating a successful match is the goal, it is important to remember that none of us is perfect. If we go out into the world with blinders on waiting for what we think is perfection, we may end up missing out on just that in the form of a good fit.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.



That is an absolute, as is a man who matches me in confidence and self-assuredness. 

I continue to assert that this is misguided. Show me 100 people who project confidence and self-assuredness, and I’ll identify 90 who are liars and 9 who are delusional (with some possible overlap between the two). Only one of them will be validly confident and self-assured—but will he (she) have other worthwhile characteristics?

Perfection does not exist. One can strive for perfection, but never achieve it.

The question then becomes: at what point does one settle?

That can change with the person, with time, with attitude, with circumstance, etc.

For example: I do not want to date a smoker (tobacco or other substances). I hate the smell. I hate the mess. I hate the lung cancer and emphysema and other health effects of smoking. It is a major turn-off. But what if I met a woman who otherwise checked off all the boxes of someone who appeals to me?