Top Relationship Deal Breakers

At the start of every relationship, both people put forth every effort to present the best version of themselves

What are the deal breakers you keep an eye out for in a relationship? Stubborn? Disheveled? Weird feet? New research shows that people give more weight to the deal breakers, the negative personality qualities, than they do the deal makers, or positive traits.

In six studies published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers from several different universities discovered that, when it comes to relationships, especially long-term relationships, people seeking a mate have a longer list of poor qualities to avoid than they do good qualities to cherish.

Additionally, men and women have surprising differences in their opinions of relationship deal breakers, and women usually have a longer list than men do. Scientists say this difference may be biological, however, because women hold the responsibility of bearing children, and “it is crucial that they are picky enough to choose a mate who is capable of helping them successfully raise that child.” The studies also revealed that people who “consider themselves a good catch” report more relationship deal breakers than those with lower self-esteem.

More women than men find “lack of sense of humor” to be a deal breaker, while more men prefer not to date a partner who is smarter than they are. The issue of sex also had an interesting disparity in the deal-breaker studies—“low sex drive” is a deal breaker for men, but women list “bad sex” as a big enough problem to reconsider the relationship.

There’s one thing both men and women seem to agree upon, however. If you look like a mess… that’s a deal breaker! Coming in at the number one deal breaker is “disheveled,” followed shortly by “lazy.” The issues of cleanliness and laziness seem to be huge problems across the board: for both men and women, and for both long-term and short-term relationships.

When they weren’t choosing deal breakers from a list provided, most participants, both men and women, recorded similar issues that could break a relationship. Most said they draw the line at “a partner who smokes, drinks excessively, lies, talks too loud, or doesn’t know how to communicate.” Of course, communication is key in a good relationship, but what if you feel like you may be too picky with your must-haves and have-nots?

Psychologists say that, while it’s extremely important to pay attention to the bad qualities you wish to avoid in a partner, if you’re too picky, you may be missing out on a good mate. Michael Bowman, a licensed clinical social worker who counsels many dating couples, suggests reflecting on your deal breakers to decide whether they are ridiculous or reasonable. His suggestion? “Ask yourself what your best friend would say. It helps you to become objective.”

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At James Stanfield, We Think You Should Know:

Teaching students with special needs the social skills of dating is a great way to help your students realize the qualities to look for in a loving partner. Helping these individuals determine their own social boundaries ensures that they will only allow behavior that is loving and consensual. Our DateSmart curriculum promotes responsible dating, social skills, setting boundaries, and using clear communication to consider and question their own dating standards, as well as to examine their values about love and sex.



Source: The Wall Street Journal
Image Source: The Chicago Tribune

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