One of the easiest ways to slide back into the driver’s seat of your love life is downloading a dating app. There are dozens of them, all catering to different interests, relationship goals and locations. The sheer amount of options out there in terms of apps and matches can be overwhelming, which makes it that much more important to figure out your deal breakers before you set sail in hopes of reeling in a catch.
“One of the great things about dating apps is they provide you with the opportunity to meet hundreds of potential partners, often within minutes of signing up,” explains dating expert and chief branding officer Lori Vajda. “However, if you don’t have a clear method for quickly narrowing down your options, you’ll find yourself wasting valuable time meeting more undesirable, than desirable, prospects.”
We all have a general idea of the type of people we’re attracted to, as well as an image of the dreamboat we’d be amazed if we happened to meet. These thoughts are a smart starting point, but if you truly are seeking a meaningful and potentially, forever type of relationship, you’ll need to dig a deeper.
Here, the pros help you determine what the biggest dating app deal breakers are—and how to navigate them effectively.
Your lifestyles don’t mix.
Soft, white linen tablecloths, a bottle of red wine and a flickering candle can put nearly anyone in the mood for romance. Those beginning stages of dating are exciting, as you feel swept away by another person—but they don’t exactly give a rosy picture to what a committed duo will be like. Love expert Coach Cass explains the happiest of couples with compatible lifestyles and tend to be fulfilled by the same activities and routines. When you’re chatting with a potential partner, it’s important to understand how they approach life—and if it meshes with yours. “Are you a health conscious person that goes to sleep and 8 p.m. and wakes up at 5 a.m.? Then you may stray away from the person with all club photos,” she explains. “Think about what you love doing—and then what is the antonym of those desires and likes. When you find a profiles that showcase the things you wouldn't be caught dead—or alive—doing, those are perfect to add to your deal breakers”
Your values are not a match.
While some people don’t relate to a specific religion or belief system, nearly everyone has a certain way of looking at the world, and what might be beyond it. Those with a strong Christian, Jewish or other faith will likely be more satisfied with people who share these sentiments, especially if they would like to have a family one day. But Vajda says our values extend far past if we pray or not, and include education, financial position, family status, pets and beyond. “While the saying goes, ‘opposites attract’, in truth, partners who are most aligned in their values and commonalities tend to have more successful relationships,” she explains. Of course, there might be areas that don’t mean as much to you—but when you picture yourself in a partnership five or ten years from now, it’s mandatory that you see the person as a good fit, through the thick and the thin. Often times, our values and our beliefs is what gets us through that muck, after all.
You’re just not attracted to him or her.
Even if your best friend reminds you time and time again that height doesn’t matter or perhaps, hair isn’t a necessary requirement for your future husband—there is no discounting how important chemistry is. Vajda explains women, more so than men, find it difficult to eliminate a prospective partner based on a checklist that includes looks because they fear it’s somehow superficial. Think again, she says. “In reality, attraction plays an important role in chemistry and goes beyond weight, height and age. It includes those qualities and characteristic which closely match our own and includes things like hygiene, health/self-care, eating habits, physical activity, sexual activity, alcohol and/or recreational drug use and beyond,” continues. It doesn’t make you too picky, too self-centered or too anything to seek someone who you want to get naked with, but you definitely would be kicking yourself if you settled for someone you quite simply aren’t into physically.
But—what can you compromise on?
...and what you want. Now that you have a blueprint of what matters to you, Vajda says it’s time to create a new ‘nice to have’ list in terms of your deal breakers. “While the items on your sacred and won’t tolerate deal breaker lists are uncompromising, the deal breakers on your compromise list are your trade-offs,” she explains. As an example, Vajda says you might wish to date a man with a full head of hair, or a woman with blue eyes, or a person in a certain income bracket, but should a prospective date not have the qualities on this list, you wouldn’t rule them out, either. Remember, these characteristic will vary by person, so keep ‘em personal and don’t feel guilty for what you scribble down. You’re looking for a partner—not a perfect person—but you still want to feel gaga over them. Right?