Are your deal breakers really deal breakers?

Are your deal breakers really deal breakers?

I haven’t done a lot of dating in the past year, but decided to give it a shot last week.

This guy I went out with was pretty posh! Tall, physically fit, very handsome (a full head of dark hair, with just the right amount of salt and pepper, bright blue eyes, a slight 5 o’clock shadow), 6 years younger, no children, a military general…wait for it, the British military, so a super sexy British accent.

What’s the problem, right?!?! I know! Hear me out.

The date actually went very well, there was an obvious physical attraction, the conversation was a good mix of serious and flirty, we were discovering compatibilities…and then he asks, “you don’t smoke, do you?” I shook my head no. He says, “I do, is that going to be a problem?” I’m like, “yeah, probably.” He proceeds to excuse himself to go outside for a smoke, leaving me to ponder my “deal breakers”.

He returns and the date continues, in a very pleasant manner for another hour or so. Nearing the end of the evening, I excuse myself to use the ladies room and when I return, the cheque is sitting on the table, in front of my seat. Peculiar, I think. I ponder to myself, did the server place it there (which would be out of character for most establishments), or did he move it there? Let me digress for a moment, we each had one beverage, he a beer and me a glass of wine, so we’re talking a $25 cheque. Anyway, he rises and helps me with my coat. We both stand slightly awkwardly beside the table for a moment, until he says, “I guess I should give her $10 for my beer.”

Yeah, I know, I had the same reaction!

I pay my share and we proceed to the parking lot, we are parked beside one another, he asks if he can kiss me, I agree. It’s a perfectly lovely kiss. We say good night and go our separate ways.

An hour or so later…

Him: I had a really great time tonight, Temple, thank you. You’re an interesting person and very pretty. I hope we can see each other again.
Me: I had a lovey time too, but I have to be honest, I was disappointed you didn’t pick up the cheque. I don’t expect that all the time, but on the first date…?
Him: I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that would bother you. Let me make it up to you. I would be gutted if I didn’t see you again. (Direct quote)
Me: …

Next morning…

Him: Good morning, Temple. I hope you have a great day!
Me: …

Later that day…

Him: So, are we ever going to see each other again, Temple?
Me: …

No, I’m kidding, I responded.

Long story short, he asked if he could take me for dinner and drinks the next night, I initially agreed, but a few hours before the date, I backed out.

I had spent the following day attempting to convince myself to give him another chance, but as the day when on, I realized I just wasn’t that motivated to see him again. He ‘looked good on paper’, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Why? Because he smoked? Because he didn’t pick up the cheque? Because he lived in a different city?

I asked myself, are these deal breakers for me? They appear to be, because I seem to be turned off by them, at least with this guy. This guy who, save those few minor things, could hardly be any more appealing…on paper.

Then I thought about another guy I met about 3 years ago and dated for a while. Also tall, physically fit, very handsome, with a great profession. However, he had 10 year old twins, he smoked when he drank, and he lived in a city an hour and a half away. Now, having said that, I felt such a strong connection with this guy (on an emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual level), I was more than willing to overlook those things. Conclusion, they obviously weren’t deal breakers for me, not with him, anyway.

So, I reiterate, “are your deal breakers, really deal breakers?” Or are they strong preferences? Which are certainly important, but should we be placing less stock in these seemingly superficial matters and more emphasis on the overall compatibility and connection we feel with someone?

Disclaimer: There are blatantly obvious deal breakers, like violence, toward you or your children; criminal behavior; and debilitating addiction, to name a few. At least, if they’re not deal breakers for you, they should be! And that’s a whole other topic I am not equipped to address.

But, I digress, I’m simply referring to the subjective things we judge one another on, like height; body type; profession; or any number of other superficial matters. Recognizing, of course, these things can certainly impact our compatibility with someone, but are they in perspective?

I mean, ideally, I hope to meet a rock star of a guy, who checks off all my “strong preference” boxes (and none of my ‘for real’ deal breakers) AND who I feel an undeniable emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual connection with. And a sexy accent wouldn’t hurt, either. Just sayin’…

But my point is this, as I move forward, I am determined to spend less time evaluating a guy on the superficial qualities I may have placed too much emphasis on in the past, and more time focusing on our overall compatibility and connection.

Would you date yourself?

Would you date yourself?

We all have standards we expect a potential partner to meet and subjective measures of the qualities we look for in a mate, based on our personal preferences and beliefs.

Perhaps a general checklist of age, height, fitness level, attractiveness, education, professional success, financial health, talent, pedigree, social status, geography, etc. to more substantial qualities like skilled communicator, respectful, respected, loyal, honest, responsible, ambitious, has children, wants children, parenting style, spiritual beliefs, etc.

Have you ever measured yourself against those standards? Are you the person you want your potential partner to be? Would you date yourself?

If we’re honest with ourselves and the answer is no, then the chances of us measuring up to that person’s standards and desired qualities aren’t great.

If the goal is to attract that ideal partner into our lives, we should first do the work to be the person we’d like to date.

The end result will be a much healthier and happier us, accomplishing two things: 1. we will be much more content and complete on our own and won’t be as desperate to be partnered; and 2. we will be much more likely to attract our ideal mate into our life, because we will be the person they want to date.

So, I ask again, would you date yourself? It’s certainly a question I’ve been asking myself lately and I’m not afraid to admit that the answer isn’t always a resounding yes. I’ve got some work to do.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and experience with me in the comments or by email at

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