We’ve all got dating deal-breakers, be it bad shoes, bad manners, bad breath, or even someone who enjoys a hobby that hints at a lifestyle you can't bear.
It might sound shallow, but dating is based on shallow attributes, which accounts for the success of apps like Tinder, Happn and Bumble, which base themselves purely on the aesthetics of the two parties.
However, it might come as a surprise that people actually place more importance upon negative qualities than positive ones (nice personality, intelligence, sense of humour), when it comes to looking for the perfect partner.
In a series of studies conducted by several universities including Western Sydney University and the University of Florida and published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that people record the most number of these so-called ‘deal breakers’ when it comes to considering people for a long-term relationship, rather than a quick fling or holiday romance.
They also revealed that women have more deal breakers than men, and that those who consider themselves a great catch also have more deal breakers than others.
One of the six studies involved 92 participants who were asked to list their biggest deal-breakers when it came to seeking both long and short-term partners.
The study revealed the two are viewed quite differently, with the top deal- breakers for long-term partners were “anger issues” or someone who is considered “untrustworthy” or someone who is dating more than one person at once.
Deal breakers in short term partners focused more on the superficial, such as “smells bad”, “has an STD” or “has poor hygiene”.
Gregory Webster, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Florida (one of the six universities involved in the studies) told the Wall Street Journal that:
“Basically, for short-term partners, if they have a toothbrush, they’re good to go.”
Some sound advice.
Another of the studies involved giving 5,541 single adults a list of 17 personality traits that are commonly regarded as being negative, and asked the participants if the traits would be considered deal breakers when seeking a long-term relationship.
The results showed both sexes to have similar responses and the biggest deal breaker recorded by both was “dishevelled or unclean”. Following closely were “lazy” and “too needy”.
Women placed a sense of humour on a higher pedestal than men, with more finding a lack of it to be a deal breaker.
Men reported a “low sex drive” as high-up on their deal-breaker lists, whereas women cited being “bad at sex” as something more likely to put them off.
Men also cited someone who “talks too much” as being high on their list of non-negotiable negative traits.
The biggest turn-offs for women when looking for a long-term partner
- Too needy
- Lack of sense of humour
- Being bad at sex
The biggest turn-offs for men when looking for a long-term partner
- Low sex drive
- Talks too much
Researchers have stated that “mate preference research has focused on traits people desire in partners (i.e.,dealmakers) rather than what traits they avoid”.
So, basically, we’ve all been trying to brush-up on our positive attributes when really, we should be assessing our negative attributes.
Pass the toothpaste…