Dating Tradeoffs & Dealbreakers

Over drinks the other day, a friend mentioned that she would not waiver on her dating requirements.  They were, in her opinion, rather fair and generous.  She simply wanted someone who was as tall as her (she’s a leggy blonde towering over folks at 6’2), has his own car, and is available (read: completely unmarried).  However, upon further pressing, she admitted that she’d be willing to remove an inch from her height requirement if, say, the guy happened to make $50,000 more than her. In short, she’d trade 1 inch for $50,000.

Trading off one requirement for another is something we automatically do whether we like to admit to it or not.  How many times have we heard that we should consider dating someone who isn’t necessarily what we’re looking for because it’ll open up so many more possibilities?  Sure, we’re all willing to open up to those possibilities – but it won’t come free.  Something else is going to have to make up for that silly goatee or his weird fishing obsession.  After all, how can you feel like you’ve struck relationship gold when you feel like you’re taking home the booby prize?
The trade off scale, though, can only tip so far.  There’s always a limit to your tradeoff before you feel like you’ve compromised way too much and you’re getting nothing in return.  That’s when we enter dealbreaker territory (sorry vertically-challenged guys; raking in mountains of cash will only get you so far).

Not sure where that line is or if you’re getting precariously close to it?  Well, here’s a cheat sheet for you:

Trade Offs Dealbreakers
  • Height
  • Facial hair
  • Job (having one versus a dead-end one)
  • Money
  • Education
  • Physical fitness
  • Lives at home / with parents
  • Has no means of personal transportation
  • Married (unless you’re into that)
  • Smoking/Drugs (again, unless you’re into that)
  • Your age + or – 25 years
  • Recently released from jail
  • Way different ideas on religion, having kids, etc.
  • Relies on public assistance to get by

Of course, this is by no means the end all be all of tradeoffs and dealbreakers.  I’m sure a lot of you would argue that some of the items are categorized incorrectly or that the dealbreaker list isn’t long enough.  The fact of the matter is that we should all jot down what we’re willing to trade off and what isn’t going to cut it.  Once you get that list down, you’ll waste less time on bad dates and dead-end relationships.

Author Profile

Online Dating News & Advice Right in Your Inbox

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice and European users agree to the data transfer policy.

Thanks for subscribing.

Similar Posts


  1. Dealbreakers – definitely a hot topic when it comes to dating. Even recognizes the importance of dealbreakers – in the “About” section, you immediately see 2 columns – what HE is, and what he expects from HIS DATE. That leaves guessing out of the equation!

    I think it’s extremely important to know what you’re looking for in a partner – their values and beliefs, what they want out of life, their general lifestyle, whether or not they want kids… know, the important stuff. Pursuing a relationship knowing that there’s a dealbreaker can be tempting – especially when he/she is good-looking, charming, fun, exciting, or romantic – but it only leads to hurt and disappointment down the road. You listed “lives at home with parents” and “relies on public assistance to get by” as dealbreakers, and I agree. I don’t think this is shallow – I think this is a general testament to his character, and insight as to what you can expect in the future.

    That being said, I think it would behoove us all to be a little more lenient on the trade-offs. After all, none of us are perfect. That’s why I like your article – it clearly defines the difference between “dealbreakers” and “trade-offs,” and knowing the difference opens us up to a whole new segment of the population. I always had a height requirement until I met my current fella…..and to be honest, he was so wonderful from the very beginning, I didn’t even NOTICE he didn’t meet that prerequisite until about 2 months after we began dating. I let that go, and was overwhelmingly happy that I did. 🙂

    Great post – thanks so much for sharing!


    1. You know, having just gotten out of a relationship, the term “deal breakers” has taken on a new meaning for me… It’s important to discover what’s acceptable up front… Otherwise, you’re prolonging an inevitable heart ache.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *