What Is a Dealbreaker—And What Isn’t

Published On: May 2, 2024|Categories: Dating Tips|5 min read|

As matchmakers, we regularly talk with clients about what they’re looking for in a partner. These conversations guide us in our matchmaking process. With every client, it’s important for us to understand what a dealbreaker is, and where we might have some room to get creative with our introductions.

The goal of matchmaking is to introduce two people who are compatible and have the potential to build a long-term relationship. Unlike apps that want to keep you swiping, we want to help our clients find a deep, meaningful connection.

Identifying the factors that determine true compatibility isn’t a straightforward process for everyone. While we try to honor all our clients’ preferences, this is an area where we often see clients standing in the way of their own relationship goals.

So, what is a dealbreaker? Let’s take a closer look at the things that matter when choosing a partner—and the things that aren’t worth worrying too much about.

Know the Difference: Preferences vs Dealbreakers

When it comes to relationships, your dating preferences and dealbreakers will be your guiding compass on your dating journey. Today’s dating scene is confusing and ever-evolving, so this self-knowledge is critical when looking for a compatible partner.

It’s important to recognize the difference between preferences and dealbreakers. This will help to give you clarity about what your own are. In turn, this can help you to avoid wasting time on people who aren’t a good fit, as well as recognize when you’ve found someone worth pursuing a serious relationship with.

Here are some key points to consider when thinking about your dating preferences and dealbreakers:

  • Preferences are the qualities or traits that you find attractive in a potential partner. These can include physical attributes, such as height or body type, as well as personality traits, such as humor or intelligence.
  • Dealbreakers, on the other hand, are the qualities or traits that would make you unwilling to pursue a relationship with someone, no matter how attractive or compatible you might otherwise be. These can include things like smoking, drug use, or incompatible political beliefs.
  • Your preferences and dealbreakers can change over time, as you gain new experiences and perspectives. For example, you might previously have preferred a non-smoking partner, but after seeing the negative effects it has on your health, you now consider smoking cigarettes a dealbreaker.
  • It’s okay if you change your mind about something that used to be a dealbreaker, too. For example, you might have previously only considered partners with an advanced degree like yourself. However, recognizing that life is complicated and there are many paths to success, you now simply prefer partners who are open-minded and enjoy learning.
  • It’s important to be open-minded when it comes to preferences. Recognize that not everyone will share your tastes and that people can be attractive in many different ways. However, when it comes to dealbreakers, it’s important to stick to your principles, and not compromise on things that are important to you.
  • Still, it’s important to recognize that preferences and dealbreakers are often influenced by societal norms and expectations. When considering a potential romantic connection, ask yourself if you’re writing them off because of something like their race, social status, or body type.
  • Finally, it’s important to recognize that preferences and dealbreakers are not the same as judgments or prejudices. It’s okay to have preferences and dealbreakers, but it’s not okay to judge or discriminate against people based on factors like race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Core Values: The Glue That Holds It All Together

The biggest indicator of a compatible introduction is shared core values. These are the things that are most important to you. Your core values help to define your personal identity and your relationships with others. They help you to decide what’s right or wrong, and they shape how you behave in life.

While there is often overlap between individuals, each person’s set of values is unique to their experience. For example, being honest and treating people with kindness are values you might hold. Discussing your core values with any potential partners can help you determine your compatibility.

We all have unique backgrounds and opinions shaping our core values. It’s unrealistic to think that our values will be perfectly aligned with your partner’s. However, if there are large differences in your beliefs and worldviews, this could cause issues later in your relationship.

Talking About Dealbreakers

It’s important to communicate your preferences and dealbreakers with potential partners early on in the relationship. This can help avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings down the line.

Keep in mind that everyone has their own preferences and dealbreakers, and it’s important to respect those of your partner. If there are differences, it’s best to have open and honest communication about them somewhat early, rather than waiting until after a moment of conflict or misunderstanding.

Be mindful of the language you use when discussing what is a preference and what is a dealbreaker. While something might seem obviously negative to you, this may not be the case for all potential partners. Using language that is derogatory or offensive can be hurtful and damaging to others.

Try to be open to growth and change in both yourself and in your partner. Your opinions and preferences might change over time, as may theirs. What’s important is finding someone who shares similar values and goals for the relationship.

Talk about dealbreakers and your relationship goals throughout the relationship. This can be an opportunity for growth and deeper connection in the relationship.

In summary, dating preferences and dealbreakers are important factors to consider when looking for a partner. By being clear about your own preferences and dealbreakers, and recognizing that they can change over time, you can increase your chances of finding a happy and fulfilling relationship.

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