If you’re single, you most definitely have your wish list of what you’re looking for in a mate. A personalized, itemized outline of things you will and will not accept in a partner. Deal breakers. There’s value in knowing what you want and don’t want. What are yours? No smoking? No drugs? Legitimate concerns can quickly swell to ridiculous requirements if left unrestrained. Today, these lists keep growing longer and longer. Why is that? You can thank your phone and your dating apps for that. The more options we have, the more (we believe) we can be picky; but there’s a big difference between being selective and being neurotic.
What are your deal breakers?
Imagine having to sit there and swipe away into the evening hours looking for love. Finally, you find someone you’re attracted to. A few grammatical mistakes on his profile (first deal breaker, anyone?) and you swipe right. The initial swipe. Immediately, you become a calculated detective. Message too soon, deal breaker. Message too late, deal breaker. Message a quick “Hey, how are you?” and you guessed it, deal breaker.
We put people in such tight little boxes of what they’re allowed to do and not do. They should be honored we swiped on them! And if you’re paying for a dating app, then the world should shake on the first exchange, right? They should be showering us with prose and poetry. In fact, some of us are so deranged (yes, I’m talking about a few of my single gal pals out there) that we will unmatch, block, whatever, after the slightest of annoyances. But here’s a truth that’s tough to swallow…
No one wants to date a mean girl.
So how do you temper your overzealous and highly calculated list of Mr. Perfection in a bottle? First of all, realize that the man (or woman) you want is a fantasy in your mind. He must be this. She must look like this. Could you imagine someone putting a list together about you? I caution you not to lose your humanity when you’re out there dating. Similar lifestyles and values are very important, of course. In fact, a person’s goals, passions and philosophies on life are all things that you should discuss when getting to know a person. Here are a few less-than-critical deal breakers that many people harbor. And if you agree with these, we need to talk.
They must have perfect grammar in their profile summary. They must immediately message me as soon as we match. They must provide a thoughtful introduction along with intriguing questions about me. They must ask me out on a date within X number of days in order for me to say yes. They must intuitively know when and where to text me thoughtful messages. They must be at least 6’ tall. They must have a six-pack. They must have a full head of hair. They must live within 15 minutes of my home (or a similarly narrow distance). They must be between age X and Y. No exceptions. They must not have any shirtless selfie pictures.
Do you see a trend here? Musts. I hate musts. Humans are not perfect. In fact, we screw up all the time. We are not a checklist of pros and cons. If you so tightly narrow what you’re looking for and, more importantly, erroneously focus on the wrong stuff, you’ll still be single a year from now. Professional matchmakers and dating coaches help singles with finding out what’s really important to them. Let me help you better clarify the deal breakers that will truly make you unhappy if you allow them into your life.
Here’s where I school you.
Real Deal Breakers…
This is just a starting point for you. But can you see the difference between the two lists? One focuses on the outside and how your partner can serve your ego. The other is focused on the inside, the long term. It baffles me how often smart people make stupid choices when it comes to romance. Far too many of us put the majority of our focus on the outside instead of what actually matters.
Look, you can keep doing things yourself. Dishing about the latest and most gruesome first date has its place. But when you’ve had enough, you should consider working with a professional to help you identify the real list that will lead to your happily ever after. So give us a call. We’re always here to help.
Aimee Burke has over a decade of experience as a relationship coaching professional. She is an avid writer and researcher for the Boston dating scene. She’s also the main contributor to LunchDates’ dating advice blog.
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