The phrase “high maintenance” seems to come up a lot, and whenever it does, I cannot resist asking some basic follow up questions, such as:

1. Do you expect someone to provide for you financially, or can you hold your own?  Being self sufficient is a great sign that you are not high maintenance, at least from a materialistic point of view.  If you can’t carry your own weight, however, well that is a big problem, especially if you have champagne taste on a beer budget– and by that I am referring to working with your own sources of income.  The magic number seems to be an income of $70,000, at which point most professionals I know in the DC Area can live decently– a very attractive quality to those in the dating scene that aren’t interested in adding someone new to their payroll.

2. Do you do thoughtful things for others, or do you just expect others to cater to your every need?  If you are considerate of others, and do nice things for them on a regular basis to show that you care, then wanting someone to reciprocate is not high maintenance.  But if you just expect everyone around you to kiss your ass while you do nothing in return, that is just plain selfish.

3. Do you take care of yourself, or are you just holding others to an impossible standard?  If you stay in shape and eat healthy, dress nicely and put effort into your overall appearance, then you have every right to want a partner that shares in these values.  However, if you have let yourself go, you cannot expect to attract someone outside your league– let’s be real, 10s don’t marry 2s.

4. Do you know how to discipline your emotions and communicate effectively?  This one is a biggie– because we will all get upset at some point.  It is simply not possible for someone to meet all our expectations 100% of the time.  When this happens, can you have an honest discussion with your partner about the things that are bothering you without flying into a rage, completely shutting down or having a tantrum?  No one wants to deal with someone that is a total loose canon.

As long as you can hold your own financially, don’t hold others to a higher standard than yourself, and are not an emotional basket case, then I think chances are you are not high maintenance, although there will always be some insecure a-holes that will call you that because the fact is deep down inside they realize they can never live up to your standards for a partner.

The fact is the more self-sufficient and successful you are in your own right, the harder it will be to find someone that can keep up with you.  That doesn’t mean you should date down because the reality is that won’t work– deep down inside you will always know you deserve better.  You have every right to be picky about the people you choose to let into your life, so what this means is that you will have to be a bit more patient simply because quality people are hard to find.

There is nothing wrong with having high standards– as long as you are able to hold your own at that level.   To me, that is not high maintenance at all, and no matter what, just remember 10s don’t marry 2s!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.