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That first study generated a list of 49 possible deal breakers.
They were asked to rate how likely they would be to consider a purely sexual relationship; a short-term relationship; a committed long-term relationship; or a friendship with each of these four people.
After the participants made their ratings, they learned that each of the potential mates possessed a specific potential deal breaker (e.g., an unhealthy lifestyle, undesirable personality traits, interest only in a casual sexual relationship when you’re interested in a serious relationship, or vice-versa).
They tended to focus primarily on health (STDs, bad smells); dating behaviors (dating multiple partners, already in a relationship); and negative personality traits (untrustworthy, abusive, uncaring).
Of course, small samples of college students don’t represent most singles.
As a reasonably attractive single lesbian in a big city, I didn’t have too much trouble getting dates, just a lot of trouble finding anyone I was interested in seeing a second time.
I went to a Valentine’s Day dance for youngish queers with some friends.
What are the most common deal breakers for men and women?
In the first study, the researchers just wanted to get a general sense of what traits people were likely to see as deal breakers.
The table below shows the percentage of participants who chose each of the 17 traits, broken down by gender.
Participants chose an average of six deal breakers, with women choosing slightly more than men. The researchers also wanted to understand how these deal breakers affect our dating decisions.
In general, women were more likely than men to identify these traits as deal breakers.