Modern men are infamous for holding women to impossible standards. Take the guys who sincerely believe they are destined to marry a supermodel (sigh, yes men are susceptible to the media's narrow standard of beauty, too) for example, or the guys who want a partner who is smart and can hold her own but balk at the idea that she might spar with him and win (sorry dude, that comes with the package). Sure, they've got their "Supermodel Complex" and their "Miss Independent Complex," but women have their little dating pathologies, too.
The "Mr. Darcy Complex" is a term I heard from my mom, who heard it from a friend who had been observing her daughter's dating habits with a keen eye, and I think there is a lot of wisdom in it. Her observations are that women these days tend to hold men up to the romantic standards set by fictional literary flames such as Mr. Darcy and, by doing so, set every man they meet up to be a disappointment.
Sure, high standards are important, but expecting every man who woos us to resemble the Mr. Darcy at Pemberly (emerging from the lake in that white shirt out of nowhere) transformed—the doting brother and patient lover is unfair. What we forget is that our beloved Mr. Darcy was super insecure, suffered from what seemed like a mild form of Tourette's Syndrome, and most of the time came off as a total A-hole. Hardly our standard of the perfect gentleman—but he came around.
I think more often than not we are prone to "write off" the guys who flounder at first rather than afford them the opportunity to become the adoring gentleman we have always dreamed of. I'm talking about the guys who don't pay on the first date, who forget to ask you questions, who say things that hurt you, insult, and annoy you. It's not to say you should ignore or excuse these ungentlemanly behaviors, but if asked for the chance, men should be given another go at becoming your Mr. Darcy.
I'll never forget my brother-in-law's advice to me when I was dealing with a guy who was blundering around with my feelings. He told me, "Monica, men are idiots and they are going to make mistakes, but if you hold it against them nobody is ever going to be good enough." I took what he said to heart, and I'm happy I did, because when I met my Mr. Darcy, I knew how to act.
Our early courtship was no walk on the grounds of Pemberly I can assure you. It was filled with miscommunication, unfair assumptions, pride and prejudice on both sides. But I didn't expect him to be perfect, and I was relieved that he didn't expect me to be perfect either. If he expected me to be the more humble and wise version of Miss Bennet, transformed by love towards the end, I would have been totally screwed.
It's up to each woman to decide her threshold for patience. Refusing a second date with a guy you were absolutely not attracted to is not necessarily a symptom of the Mr. Darcy Complex. Ending a relationship because trust has been broken certainly is not. But a pattern of never giving men whose first impressions you are dubious about the benefit of the doubt could be. Always citing flaws as a reason to end things, rather than an opportunity for you both to grow could be.
It's true that properly diagnosing the Mr. Darcy Complex is difficult. There is a fine line between keeping healthy standards and being picky. But I think it would be wise to examine your list of deal breakers and ask yourself is whether or not you are allowing room for your dream guy to be human, to grow in the virtues you admire or whether you are holding him to impossible standards.