How many deal breakers are you willing to allow?

As we date, we begin to define our deal breakers. Some are solid — no way would you date a cheater, domestic abuser, drug user or felon. But some, you learn, are more malleable. What you thought was a deal breaker, when attached to the right guy, isn’t any more.

On my list of deal breakers/must haves are height, education, income, locale and age appropriateness. I’ve been pretty staunch in rejecting nearly all who didn’t meet my criteria. On rare occasion, I’ve dated men who were an inch shorter, even though I really love taller men. For a short while, I dated a man who I eventually learned had just filed for bankruptcy, although I really prefer men who are financially secure.

So how do you know if something is really a deal breaker or not? And under what circumstances might you modify what you thought were stoppers?

For me, I ignore a deal breaker when his other qualities are rare enough to override other preferences. When I’ve found a loving, fun, intelligent, thoughtful, giving man, it matters little that he’s a little younger than me.

However, it takes a very rare man for me to ignore several of my deal breakers to explore a relationship. I’m noticing my feelings now about possibly getting involved with a special man who is making wooing overtures, but he has three strikes against him: He lives a plane ride away, he’s 3″ shorter than me, and he’s 19 years younger. I tried to dismiss him when he initially contacted me on the dating site, but he came back with a compelling enough communication for me to be interested in getting to know him. I know the situation is far from optimal. But I’m not willing to cut it off until we at least meet and see if there’s a spark. Then a more informed decision can be made.

When you’ve modified your deal breakers in the past, what did you modify and were you glad you did? Or did you later realize why it was a deal breaker and resolve not to budge in the future?

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7 responses to “How many deal breakers are you willing to allow?”

  1. Dawn Avatar

    My deal breakers are spelling/grammar, use of “text speech” like LOL or things like shud instead of should, and men whose whole life seems to revolve around hunting & fishing. The first two deal breakers indicate laziness and a lack of concern for appearing like an articulate adult. The last is a personal preference. If the only photos you have of yourself is with something you’ve killed, it’s time for new photos!

  2. OnlineDatingGirl Avatar

    I’m still trying to work out what my deal breakers are, as I reckon I’m being too picky! I agree with Dawn on the grammar thing though.

  3. Liz Avatar

    My deal breaker was not meeting anyone with any type of of sexual innuendo in their profile. I made an exception, though, with one man 4 years ago, mainly out of curiosity and he seemed to be a fascinating man. On his profile he said one of his favorite things was “making love in the rain and I like massages.” I went out on 2 dates with him but realized that I was not attracted to him. He was actually a perfect gentleman on those 2 dates. We ended up being friends only for almost 4 years now. Oh, and I found out he lied about his age by 10 years. He was actually 65 years old when I met him, although he said he was 55 on his profile. What is fascinating, though, is a lot of his talk now with us friends is sexual, sometimes extremely gross, and I let him know what a turnoff it is. He calls me a “prude and nun.” I called his bluff a couple of times when he made sexual remarks as blunt as “let’s go to bed” and I said yes. Guess what? He totally back pedaled. So now, it’s almost a joke, his sex talk. In fact, he dated a woman for 3 years in this time period while we were friends and he told me they never had sex or any type of intimacy beyond kissing and he spent a lot of money taking her on several cruises, buying her jewelry, anything she wanted. He is in his late 60s now, quite overweight and on medication for high blood pressure. So what I am convinced now is he CANNOT PERFORM. That is why he never had sex in his 3-year relationship with a woman. Does it mean all men who talk sex have ED? Of course not, but it was an interesting experience for me nonetheless.

  4. Lisa Shield Avatar
    Lisa Shield

    I would think that deal breakers are non-negotiable. For me they are things like having a good paying job or having his actions align with his words. Other things like height, weight, education, etc. are preferences, but they aren’t deal breakers. A deal breaker is something you can’t negotiate.

  5. Miss A Avatar
    Miss A

    I’m working through this very thing right now.

    My deal-breakers were always age related. I’m in my late 40s. I’ve had a challenging time finding nice single men close to my age (or a little younger) who had their act together in a way to make them qualify as relationship material. There are a lot of players out there!

    I also used to be really hung up on the whole “must share common interests” thing, and my common interests laundry list was long and fairly obscure. What happened was that I would wind up with sketchy ne’er-do-well types who were more interested in a “casual encounter”, were broke, broken, or still hung up on some mythical ex.

    I was limiting my pool of men to choose from.

    I started to realize that a difference in age could be overlooked if the man had other nice qualities – manners, kindness, a good sense of humor, comfortable in social settings without being an arrogant jerk, and shared some common interests (but not necessarily ticking all the boxes).

    I’m just starting to “date” again after adjusting my deal-breaker list and am finding that there are nice men out there that are at least suitable to go out on a few dates with to see what they’re like – they just don’t automatically ring my chimes from across a crowded room.
    There will always be deal-breakers for me that are non-negotiable such as still married, does not clean up – ever (i.e., lives in ratty jeans and stained t-shirts), lives like a college student, has substance abuse or psychological problems, etc. However, I found that some of the more superficial deal-breakers can be negotiable – at least long enough for me to get to know the guy a bit better.

  6. Johnny Boy Avatar
    Johnny Boy

    To me deal breakers are those who don’t follow any sort of courtesy or etiquette. Y’know, if they don’t have it “now”, they won’t have it “later” in a relationship.

  7. Janet Avatar

    When I read this comment above, “I also used to be really hung up on the whole “must share common interests” thing..” it reminded me of a Paul Newman quote when asked about his relationship with his wife, Joanne Woodward. I looked it up just now. This is part of what he said.

    Paul Newman on marriage: “I’ve repeatedly said that for people who have as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors. We make pictures and that’s about all we have in common. Maybe that’s enough. We are very, very different people and yet somehow we fed off those varied differences and instead of separating us, it has made the whole bond a lot stronger.”