When to Break Up With Your Deal Breakers

Everyone has a list of deal breakers. Whether you’re a Kelleher International matchmaking client or someone using dating apps, we think you’ve probably got a list of romantic deal makers and deal breakers jotted down somewhere.

Deal Makers are the most desirable traits you want in a partner. Successful entrepreneur. Great communicator. Family-oriented. Physically active. Loves to travel.

Deal Breakers are the set of constraints that will disqualify someone from your dating pool. Must be a dog person. Must be in a certain age bracket. Must have a Ph.D. Must practice my religious/political affiliation. Must have/not have children already. No redheads! No tattoos!

Deal breakers are subjective and sometimes extremely personal. But some are born of familial and social pressure, ego, or cultural ignorance.

As matchmakers, we’ve heard a lot of deal breakers over the years. Yet we make a lot of amazing matches when clients step away from some of their deal breakers and lean into the experience of meeting someone new.

How do you allow yourself to experience a deal breaker before letting it break the deal?

Openly discuss your deal breakers with your matchmaker – or your closest friends if you’re online dating. It’s important to discern which deal breakers are legitimate and which ones are potential roadblocks to your dating success.

It’s common for people to let deal breakers screen out someone who is otherwise an incredible fit.

Matchmaker Patty Russell says, “Openness is key to the matchmaking process and ultimate success in finding love. Developing a trusting relationship with your matchmaker will make it easier for you to flex a little on those deal breakers. And it might lead to the love of your life.”  

Getting over yourself and agreeing to an in-person meeting with a hand-selected, potential match allows you to explore the chemistry component.

“Chemistry is the trump card,” smiles Amber Kelleher-Andrews, Kelleher’s CEO. “You might not have envisioned yourself with a shorter guy or a woman your age. But connecting with someone in person with an open mind can often surprise you. You might find that the person checks all the boxes except for this one deal breaker they can’t control – like age or height. When sparks are flying, people realize the silliness of basing decisions on arbitrary numbers.”

What about deal breakers that aren’t based on the numbers?

Maybe your match has less than favorable table manners, or you find on the first sleepover that they are an extremely loud snorer. Perhaps geography is the issue, and you don’t think the logistics will work long-term. As you continue getting to know your potential match, explore how critical these deal breakers are in the grand scheme of things.

Use the early days as an opportunity to practice open communication. But remember that the subject matter of deal breakers can be sensitive so speak with loving kindness – and don’t actually call the thing a “deal breaker” in the moment.

In fact, get creative before you make it an issue!

Bring your earplugs to the next sleepover. Maybe the snoring won’t be a deal breaker after all. While at dinner, instead of telling your date to stop chewing with his/her mouth open, share show-and-tell-style stories of how your grandmother taught you the basics of dining etiquette. Maybe they’ll graciously pick-up the subtle suggestions.

If you feel sparks with someone and they have the majority of the qualities you’re looking for, it is possible to negotiate on lifestyle deal breakers – like a very restrictive diet or differing fitness interests or political affiliations. It’s important to realize that these sorts of negotiations are a mutual compromise in the relationship. The compromise should be made intentionally, so neither person feels judged or like they’re losing an essential piece of personal identity.

“Time and time again, clients come in with strict criteria and then shift when they connect with someone outside of those boundaries,” says Kelleher’s director of matchmaking, Kimberly Colgate. “I encourage you to evaluate your core values and get clear on the type of lifestyle and relationship you want. Clarity helps sift through wants versus needs in your future partner. Remember that no one will ever be perfect and check all the boxes. But the goal is to compromise not settle.”

If the deal breaker is something you can’t get over, it is kindest to end the relationship as quickly and cleanly as possible.

It’s best to spell it out and express what you’re ultimately looking for in a mate. As long as you’ve conducted yourself with love, kindness, and compassion, you have no reason to be ashamed. In fact, we think you will be an even better version of yourself for the next relationship that comes along.

There’s no specific road map to avoid the dating landmines. But openness and flexibility will give you the best chance of discovering more deal makers than deal breakers.

Wishing you luck in love,

Team KI Matchmakers

P.S. Share your deal makers and deal breakers with us in the comments section below.