Home Dating Behaviour Break Those Deal-breakers

Break Those Deal-breakers

written by Mel Schilling, Psychologist

My clients often talk about their ‘Ideal Partner Lists’ which include all sorts of physical and materialistic characteristics. From ‘tall, dark and handsome’ (yes, really!) to ‘6 foot 3 inches, blonde, muscular and left-handed’. Some people become extremely focused on the exterior of the person they desire without paying due attention to the more important internal features. I find this often leads to inappropriate matches, poor compatibility and sometimes, a waste of valuable dating time.

I advise my clients to create a new list with 80% internal characteristics and 20% external, give or take. By applying this technique, you’ll find that you start to meet people who are more closely aligned with your values, personality and interests. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how flexible you are on your previously held deal-breakers

A word on deal-breakers

Deal-breakers should be important characteristics that are linked to your deepest values or beliefs. You should be so committed to deal-breakers that if a date showed up with one of them you would walk away. Yes, it’s that serious! 

Things like ‘no white shoes’ or ‘no hairy digits’ are not really deal-breakers, they are preferences and if accompanied by some great internal factors, can often be overlooked. Genuine deal-breakers are things like a different religion, opinions about having children, health beliefs or addictions.

Rachel

I’d like you to meet Rachel.

Rachel had a rather rigid set of so-called deal-breakers on her list. The majority of her previous partners had been tall men (she is only 5 foot tall) and she had built-up an aversion to anyone over 5 foot 6!  Any vertically gifted blokes who crossed her path were instantly dismissed, in fact she got to the point that despite their size, she didn’t even notice them. Over the past couple of years she probably missed the opportunity to connect with a range of great potential partners, due to her self-imposed embargo on big fellas.

I challenged her on her height discrimination and when she really thought about it, Rachel admitted that it wasn’t the height that her previous partners had in common, but aggression. She had unconsciously linked height and aggression and this was holding her back. Once we worked through this together Rachel started to open her eyes to a wider range of men, in all shapes and sizes.

What do you really want?

  • What does your current ‘ideal partner list’ look like?
  • Is it realistic?
  • Are your deal-breakers genuine? Or are they actually just preferences?

Happy Dating!

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