How “Deal Breakers” Are Keeping You From Finding Love

A deal breaker is like the pro and con list of the dating world. It weeds out potential boyfriends from the pack and gives you clarity about who and what you’re looking for. Some make sense – you don’t want to be saddled with someone who has a kid already, or date someone who has a crazy temper. Others are way too specific and picky, like never looking twice at a guy with orange hair. But there comes a time when having too many rules backfires. It’s official: thanks to deal breakers, the end of dating is near.

There aren’t actually that many fish in the sea. It may seem super easy to get a date these days – all you have to do is swipe. But how many quality matches have you actually had? Probably not all that many. So when you have a crazy list of deal breakers that are way too rigid and don’t even always make sense, you’re slamming the door on something that could actually work out. Don’t disregard someone because they’re a bit shorter than you would want or because they have an unconventional career. You’re severely cutting down an already small pool of eligible men.

You’ve definitely fallen for the “wrong” person. It would be impossible for every single one of your ex-boyfriends to have met all of your dating criteria. There was that guy in college who smoked a lot of pot, which you wouldn’t typically be into but he won you over, so you spent a few months with him, anyway. Or a fellow counselor at summer camp who you made out with for all of July and August while knowing it would never last because he lived in a different city. Sure, those relationships didn’t work out, but they wouldn’t have happened at all if you’d stuck to your deal breaker list. And who wants to live like that?

With too many rules, you’ll be solo forever. The art of texting? You need to follow the rules. Dating? Not so much. You’ll always have an excuse ready to say no to that cute guy’s drinks invite and you won’t move things forward when you’re already coupled up. Love doesn’t follow a timeline, and you’ll find yourself doing insane things and maybe even moving super fast if it feels right.

You’re getting way too picky. I blame online dating. In the good old days, when you could actually meet someone in real life (shocking, I know), you would talk to a cute guy at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. All you knew was that you were into him and he was fun to talk to. You didn’t hem and haw over whether he had the right job or seemed relationship-worthy. Today, you read a guy’s profile or Tinder bio and say no way based on almost nothing at all.

You can’t be logical about what’s ultimately crazy. Love is a lot of things, but rational and practical? Definitely not. Deal breakers are like deciding your vacation is going to suck before you’ve even boarded the plane. You have no way of knowing if a relationship is actually going to work out or go the way of a Taylor Swift song. Thinking that someone will be your one and only because he’s a blue-eyed lawyer makes zero sense.

People change. It’s not ideal to date a guy who lives at home, and yet guess what? A year from now, he could have his own place. We all grow and change, and just because you meet someone at a certain stage in his life doesn’t mean he won’t be different in just a few months.

The clichés are clichés for a reason. People who are in long-term relationships often say cliché things, like that they would never have gone for their partner but their sense of humor/insert trait here won them over. If they had let their deal breakers get in the way, they would have missed out on true love.

Your priorities won’t always be the same. Think how much you’ve changed since your college days. You were content to stay up until 3am every night and miss out on sleep. Now you’d take going to bed early over a hangover any day – and when you drink too much it takes forever to get over it. As we get older, our priorities shift, and that goes for what we want in a significant other. Sticking to the same old deal breaker list is only going to disappoint you later, when you realize that the things that seemed so important in a prospective partner at 25 are now not important at all at 30.

It would suck if you got rejected based on a deal breaker. So, you’ve met a seemingly perfect guy. The sparks are flying as much as the witty banter and then he tells you that he can’t date you because you don’t like to cook or you’re not into sports. Seems crazy, right? By turning the situation around, you can see how silly a list of likes and dislikes and personality traits seems, when the only thing that should matter is that there’s a mutual connection.

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