What's your deal breaker?

What’s your deal-breaker?

Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times column. Happy first of July, friends. Scary how fast this year is flying.



When it comes to dating, we all have our deal-breakers. Those habits, quirks or circumstances that you absolutely refuse to put up with in a relationship. The deal-breaker is like a hair-line fracture, it seems innocent enough, but it can cause major damage to the foundations.

Some deal-breakers are inherent, in that we know at our core what we’re willing to put up with and what we aren’t. Then there are those others that we learn the hard way, picking them up as we go along.

Deal-breakers can range from big things, like dating someone who doesn’t tell you they’re already married, to small things, like someone who sniffs or sighs constantly, or clips their toenails in bed.

It’s a good thing that we all have different tolerance levels for certain behaviour. If we didn’t, some people would never find anyone who would have them.

After dating online for the last couple of years, I’ve managed to get a pretty good sense of what my own deal-breakers are. Guys who put ‘ask me later’ as their response to age, occupation, or marital status in their online dating profiles are immediately stepping into deal-breaker territory for me. The way I see it, you’re either employed, single, and thirty nine years old, or you’re not! There’s very little to ‘ask you later’ about there.

So, curious to find out if I was the only one who won’t date anyone with a mullet, nicer legs than mine, or a gun room and an arsenal of weapons, I decided to ask around my group of friends to find out what their deal-breakers are.

One girlfriend won’t even consider going on a date with any guy who doesn’t like reading, and another once broke up with a long-term boyfriend because he always balled up his socks before tossing them into the hamper, so she had to shove her fingers into their manky depths to unravel them for the wash.

Another guy I know was dating a woman he was absolutely crazy about, but whenever he was taking a bath she would come into the bathroom and use the loo. He told her he had two reasons for breaking up with her, a number one reason and a number two reason.

And a Twitter friend says she used to date a guy who would call his mom every night before bed to say goodnight. For her it didn’t make for very sexy bedroom times. But I bet there are other women out there who might quite like the idea of that, you know what they say about men who treat their mothers well.

But the best deal-breaker I’ve ever heard of came via a friend of a friend, who is an uber-trendy designer type. She met this guy, and they went on a couple of dates. He was a DJ with a gorgeous loft apartment in the city. He was smart, funny, funky and smoking hot too, and they seemed to get along well. So much so that the uber-trendy designer started to think that maybe she’d hooked a winner.

After an appropriate number of dates, they finally slept together, and she woke up the next morning, awash with the glow of great sex and the possibilities of a budding relationship. But as he got out of bed to put on some coffee, she noticed for the first time that his entire back was covered with an enormous tattoo of his own face, with his DJ name scrawled along the bottom of it. No loft apartment or hip play list could convince her to stick around after that.

So, what’s your deal breaker? The girl who uses your razor to shave her pubes? A man in a toupee? Or a brown patchwork leather jacket not worn ironically? Or what about a middle-of-the-tube toothpaste squeezer?

Once you’ve finished compiling your list, and if you’re not too busy tweezing your chin, or listening to Michael Bubble, you could always think about all the things you do that are deal-breakers for the people dating you.

Come back tomorrow to see some of the letters I recieved from readers about this column.


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