Many of us have traits, quirks, and idiosyncrasies that we consider “deal breakers” when searching for a potential partner. Sometimes, you can tell when you’re head-on with one of your deal breakers, like if someone has offensive language on their dating profile. Other deal breakers lay dormant and don’t come out until an inopportune moment, like when you start to actually like the person — but in that case, it may just be a blessing in disguise.
Deal breakers can be pragmatic, because they help you narrow down what it is you find important in a partner, but they can also be a complete waste of time. If you have a growing laundry list of things that you consider unacceptable in a partner, eventually it’s going to be too much to retrofit all of those traits into a human being.
Being stringent about your deal breakers also closes you off to the possibility that your future partner could be — wait for it — different than what you crafted in your head. Even if your next relationship doesn’t end up being The One, having at least one experience in which you break away from your “type” can help inform who you decide to date in the future, as sexologist Michelle Hope recently told R29. “Every now and then, you might be missing out because you’re not stepping out of your comfort zone,” Hope said.
So, we asked real women in the R29 community about the things that they used to consider deal breakers that they no longer GAF about.
“Not going to school or pursuing some kind of degree or certificate [used to be a deal breaker for me]. I work so hard to get the best life for myself and my future family, and I won’t be with someone who isn’t working just as hard. My current boyfriend of three and a half years took a few semesters off. It was worth it, because he is still figuring out what he wants to do; and when he took the time off from school, he got a new job and then a nice promotion and pay raise.” – Kayleigh
“I used to say I would only date someone with blonde hair who surfed. That’s just the type of person I’m really into. I am currently with a partner who ‘breaks’ my deal breaker. It is definitely worth it, because my deal breaker is so superficial, and I’ve realized that it matters more to be with someone who genuinely cares about you.” – Elizabeth
“In high school and college, my requirement for dating a guy was that he was really ‘manly’ and traditionally masculine. I really preferred men who liked to do traditionally masculine things and was embarrassed to admit I liked anyone who might have some not-so-macho qualities. It made me self-reflect about why I gravitated toward ‘masculine’ men, what this said about my perceptions of people, and challenged me to rethink how I’ve been affected by the notion of toxic …