What qualities in men are “deal breakers” for women considering a relationship? Conversely, what are on men’s lists?
In every relationship there are limits or “deal breakers” if you will. Everyone has got them—spoken or unspoken—and most guys only find them out after they have crossed one of these undeclared boundaries. A lot of women feel like they are no-brainers and shouldn’t even have to be uttered but, for argument sake, let’s lay them out on the table anyway.
I polled 20 women and certain themes emerged:
- Stealing (you would be surprised how many women told me this has happened to them)
- If he EVER hits, shoves or in any way raises his hands to you in anger
- Already has kids that he doesn’t take care of or see
- Doesn’t want kids and you do or vice versa
- Workaholic or unemployed (equally undesirable apparently)
- Never wants to go anywhere with you
- Never pays for anything/cheap
- Cries too much
- Bad in bed/no chemistry
- Inability to communicate
- Does not have a mind of their own/not passionate about anything/doesn’t have their own opinions
- Negative attitude
- Lives with parents
- Not close to family
I have to say, I was a little surprised by some of the responses but I respect that everybody has their individual limits. It is important to know what they are when you enter into a relationship because you can’t expect someone else to respect your boundaries if you don’t even know what they are. You also can’t expect anyone to read your mind. If you don’t let your partner know what the lines are, they may inadvertently cross them.
There were a few things that I found extremely interesting in my research. I actually eliminated a few women from the poll because they had no deal breakers. This was tragic in my mind because it means that they will tolerate anything just to be in a relationship. Sadly, some people would rather put up with just about anything than be alone.
The other thing that both fascinated and disturbed me was how contradictory women’s own responses were. They want a man who is a hard worker but has enough time to be with them (and potentially a family). He can’t be lazy but can’t be a workaholic, either. They want someone who is close to his family but not too close (no mama’s boys). They want someone who communicates and is in touch with his feelings but he can’t cry too much.
This took me off in a whole other direction! I started asking men the same questions and here is what they had to say were their deal breakers:
- Too independent
- Always fussing and primping/pays too much attention to their looks
- Out of shape/doesn’t take care of themselves
- Know it all
- Can’t support themselves/contribute financially to the relationship or marriage (but the same man confessed to me that he also feels emasculated when his partner makes more than he does)
- Not saying what they want/mean and expecting us to figure it out
- Bad teeth
So, men wanted their partners to be independent but not too independent. They want them to be attractive but not so attractive that it is costly or time consuming. Smart but not smarter than they are and they want her to make a nice living (but preferably not more than he makes). Although these disparities existed among both sexes, they were significantly less common among men.
This started me thinking that we really don’t know what we want and we are imposing an awful lot of “rules” on each other for people who don’t know our own rules. When I began writing this article, I intended it to be sort of fun, goofy, and full of fluff. I was expecting the responses to be more reasonable. It wasn’t until I noticed the patterns that it became so much more. It turned into a revelation about our expectations in relationships, my own included. My deal breakers have always been lying and cheating but once I heard some of the other responses, I realized I contradict myself, too. For example, I have always respected a man who works hard because I work hard. However, it is really important to me to be with a man who makes time for his family. It is pretty difficult to find a balance in those two traits—even in my own life. I’m not suggesting it’s impossible but it can be challenging.
Is it really any wonder our divorce rates are so high? If we don’t know what we want when we enter into these relationships, how can we really expect them to succeed? Are we setting ourselves up to fail? How reasonable are your deal breakers?
Read more: Stop Lying in Your Personal Ads
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