What are your relationship deal-breakers?

I read an online profile for a guy recently who very conveniently listed his deal-breakers in the first paragraph of his narrative. Hey, nothing like cutting to the chase, I guess? Anyway, included on his list of deal-breakers: smoking, bad teeth, obesity and unhealthy eating. OK, fine, a health nut looking for another health nut- that’s fair, right? Wrong. I was laughing out loud when the list of things he “cannot live without” included Velveeta Mac-n-Cheese, hamburgers and pizza “with a variety of crust and topping choices,” and Dr. Pepper. You know, all the great health foods. So, this guy wants me to make him fried chicken while I eat kale chips? That hardly seems fair.

Most of us have a list of desired qualities in a mate. I’ve shared mine here. But what about the qualities that you absolutely won’t accept? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. A lot of “experts” say that women get too caught up in planning for the future and don’t enjoy the present, thereby turning off the men they are trying to attract. I understand that, but…while you may be able to overlook your partner’s annoying yet harmless habits over time, shouldn’t we be conscious enough of major personality traits that we simply don’t want or aren’t willing to deal with forever to weed those folks out as incompatible early on? And ya’ll already know about my Three Strikes policy. But lately it’s been hard for me to differentiate between “deal-breakers” and “red flags.”

For example, I thought Mr. April-2‘s Wisconsin accent was super-annoying, but I was still willing to give him a chance because we seemed to have a lot in common. However, the fact that he found jokes about rape and violence against women totally funny, well, that was more than just a little red flag. It was a deal-breaker, because I knew ultimately our values- not to mention our senses of humor- weren’t going to be compatible.

When I was seeing Mr. February, one of the things that concerned me was that he didn’t seem to have many friends. One Friday evening, after we’d been dating for a couple of weeks, I had planned a Girl’s Night mani-pedi party at my house. Since he wasn’t going out with me that Friday night, I asked him if he’d be having “guy’s night.” He defensively said no, you’d have to have guy friends for that. The remainder of the conversation about this obviously sore subject, ended with the always lovely, “I didn’t expect you to understand.” (Um, that’s why we’re talking, so I can try to understand you.) We were able to talk about it again later, and he discussed how a lot of his friends had been “couple friends” from when he was married and things were just different after his divorce. Fair enough. He works in a similar field to me, so I know that if I don’t meet many men at work, he probably doesn’t either; and he didn’t grow up here, so it made some sense that he didn’t have a lot of old buddies around town, like I do. At the time, it was a little red flag to me. Now, I am not saying I need to date Mr. Popularity. But I’m really independent, and I am pretty sure I’ll never be the type of girl who wants to do everything with her man. I like my space, I like hanging out with the girls, and I don’t want anyone to make me feel bad about that (not that Mr. February did). I wasn’t willing to put it into deal-breaker territory, but I did worry that it might become an issue the longer we dated. The more time he wanted to spend with me, would he become resentful of my “girl time” if he felt I wasn’t spending enough time with him? Obviously, I didn’t have to worry about that. But if I date another guy in the future who isn’t very social, I will likely be concerned; I am definitely wary of becoming the center of someone’s whole world in a short amount of time. And remember what happened when I felt like Mr. April-3 might be a little too shy for me- I fairly quickly dismissed him, which some of you didn’t think was very fair.

So how do you divide your red flags from your deal-breakers? Are there certain little things that might be greater indicators of long-term incompatibility (or maybe just drama)? I read an article recently about knowing when to be open-minded in dating. Since you are highly unlikely to find someone you share everything in common with, if you are too restrictive the chances are higher that you won’t find what you are looking for (i.e.- end up sad and alone). But, if you are not similar enough, the relationship probably won’t last (and again, you end up sad and alone). So basically, prepare for the worst and hope for the best! That’s reassuring. No one’s perfect, and I do try to keep my list of deal-breakers to an absolute minimum. No smokers, drug-users, racists, animal-haters, or Republicans need to apply for the keys to my heart. It’s the red flags I have trouble with- the things that aren’t an automatic out, but make me worry long-term. Do I need to just stop worrying about the future so much, or is it OK to trust my gut on these things? What do you think?

One thought on “Deal-breakers

  1. I need you to be working full-time, have a valid drivers license, and a car. Those are my deal breakers because I need to be with someone who can do more than just sit in the house. Money makes your world go round.

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