I’ve seen a lot of stuff recently around dealbreakers. Tweets, blogs, general discussions. Everyone has them it seems. People are looking for that gold standard person, the one that ticks every box. The one that has the perfect profile, the one that fits the given criteria.
I’ve had dealbreakers for as long as I’ve been dating (an inordinate amount of time!). They’ve changed as I’ve matured, they’ve evolved as my priorities have changed, they’ve been added to and subtracted from more times than I can count. Past experiences have dictated new dealbreakers being added to the list, as if categorising all people with a similar trait in the exact same way. I’ve ignored them and could blame that as the reason a relationship has failed. Now I only have one dealbreaker and it’s been liberating.
Let’s start with the dating profile assassinations we see on the daily. A long list of things we won’t swipe on. Sunglasses, group photos, no full body shots, no holding fish (these poor guys who like to fish get a rough deal, you would think there were worse hobbies to have …..!), no football shirts, no holding babies that aren’t their own. The list seems endless. We talk more about what we don’t want than what we do when it comes to dating profiles it seems. Then there’s the bio. If there is one. That used to be one of my dealbreakers, but as I’ve said in an earlier blog, I can say I don’t swipe on a profile with no bio, but then if Idris Elba pops up with nothing written you can get to fuck if you think I’m swiping left! No smokers, no one with kids, no one with an ex spouse. Own house, own car, no tattoos etc etc etc. It’s a never ending list of do nots.
In the good old days, when we used to ask people out at discos and in the pub, did we see a floating bio above their head that listed their worst character traits? Or did we take a chance based on the fact that we liked the look of them? They may even have been stood with a group of mates, or had some sunglasses on their face. But we still plucked up the courage and went over to say hi, based on nothing more than initial attraction. Many of us lament those days now, and yet we act completely differently in an online capacity. Is it because there’s more choice? More to whittle down? Got to have some criteria else we would be swiping one everyone?
Are we narrowing down our criteria too far and missing out on potentially great people? When I think back to some of my previous flings on dating apps, almost all of the best ones were when I flexed my rules slightly. Lowered the age limit, let a mate do my swiping, overlooked the incorrect use of there and their. I’ve had some amazing dates with people shorter than me, older than me, younger than me, still married but separated, with multiple kids from multiple women. The list is endless.
Don’t we fall in love with the person, not their circumstances? So do we have to look beyond the details to begin with and get to know them? On paper/screen they may look like a bunch of red flags flying in the wind, but after two dates and endless chat we could discover that the reason they are holding a fish in their photo is that their hobby is fishing as opposed to gambling and strip clubs. Are we ruling out whole swathes of people based on a set of self given rules that we don’t even know why we have them?
Hold a mirror up to your own profile. How many boxes are you ticking for the other person? How many people have you been ruled out by because you like Love Island, or are obsessed with true crime? Imagine only ever speaking to people with the same interests as you, and how boring that would become. How closed and narrow minded our opinions would be. How small the world would feel.
My ‘list’ is now only based on how the other person makes me feel. Not about their profile, or their photos, but their communication. Do they ask questions? Are they respectful of opinions? Are they kind? Once I ditched all of the other countless dos and don’ts and based things more around my values, things definitely became easier. I was having far more matches, far more chats, far more potential to date. The more open I was to things, the more open they were to me. Behaviours were what I allowed to dictate my interactions as opposed to any of the other usual stuff.
So maybe give it a chance? Relax a little, take some pressure off, reduce the list of dealbreakers down? It could open up a whole new world of possibilities in this brave new world of ours.
Oh, and my one remaining dealbreaker. It leads perfectly on to my next blog and an old dating story.
Don’t vote fucking Tory.