Is Pickiness Ruining Your Dating Life? A Psychiatrist Weighs In

Kelsey Clark

After years of searching for your true heart's desire, it's normal for your dating life to become plagued by pickiness. If anything, this is a sign that you've dated around enough to know what you want and refuse to settle for anything less. But as psychiatrist, television commentator, and Becoming Real author Gail Saltz points out, pickiness can just be a fear of commitment masqueraded as prudent selectivity.

"Are you genuinely being selective, or is it something else?" she writes in a recent article for Health. Ruling people out before you even get to know them, she says, "can be commitment phobia in disguise. If you have a 38-point checklist … (green eyes, full head of brown hair, likes dogs but not cats), you should ask yourself if you're scared of becoming close to someone."

Saltz recommends reflecting on past relationships, both yours and the couples you grew up around, in an effort to suss out where this anxiety stems from. Making a pros-and-cons list can also be a helpful exercise in changing your perspective. She suggests writing down what you risk by committing to someone and what you risk by never fully opening up to someone. "This exercise puts things into perspective, revealing what you're currently afraid of, plus the consequences of letting that fear dictate your life," she concludes.

What tools have you used to move past commitment phobia? Share your advice below!

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