By Jessica Reynolds
Imagine your ideal mate. What would he or she look like? Do for a living? Be passionate about?
Now imagine who that person wouldn’t be. What characteristics would immediately shoot up a red flag and have you hightailing it in the other direction?
In relationships, our reactions to deal breakers can be just as strong, sometimes stronger, than our reactions to the romantic moments that pepper the honeymoon phase, said April Masini, a relationship expert who writes at AskApril.com.
One minute, you’re dining at an Italian restaurant, sipping a pricey montepulciano that he ordered and bonding over your mutual love of Amy Schumer, then you’re calling it an early night because he said he hates cats.
Dana Michel, founder of dating site MarriageMaterial.co, says that her clients are asked to list their top five must-haves, nice-to-haves and cannot-haves when they complete their profile pages. The most common deal breakers people cite include smoking, drug use, financial troubles, infidelity and not wanting children.
While those traits relate to major lifestyle choices, other deal breakers could seem trivial to some, such as hair color or taste in films, but be critical to the individual.
“Deal breakers are unique to every individual and you should be honest, even if one appears superficial,” Michel said. To each his own, sure, but deal breakers should also be reassessed from time to time, she said, because they can change as you mature and learn from previous dating experiences.
“What was a deal breaker in my 20s, like having no hair, was no longer an issue by my 30s,” Michel said. “It became more important to find a man who was able to communicate well and willing to invest in a healthy relationship.”
Figuring out how to distinguish between an annoying quirk and a deal breaker can be challenging, especially if, at first, the many pros seem to overshadow the major con.