I was watching The Bachelor the other week and my friend commented how she wasn’t sure if the current Bachelor had ever been to college. She couldn’t date him she said, because she thought it might be weird if their educational background was different. Which got me to thinking about all the big “deal breakers” and which ones would make or break a relationship for me. After all, it’s better to know before you start dating than when you’re already on the road to heartbreak.
Potential Deal Breaker: Would I date someone who makes less money than me?
Response: It would be hard to find someone who makes less money than me because I work in public service, but, yes, I would. It certainly wouldn’t make my life easier, but if my partner was really passionate about their work then it wouldn’t matter to me that they didn’t bring home six figures. I could not, however, date someone who was unemployed. Unless they lived off passive income (like investments) and just volunteered all their time. That might be ok. I just can’t stand the idea of someone sitting around all day doing nothing. I get stir crazy just thinking about it.
Potential Deal Breaker: Would I date someone who is less educated than me?
Response: I truly believe that intelligence comes in many forms. We’re all good at different things and learn in different ways, so while I might have a Bachelor’s degree, I also have no idea how to fix a car or build a house, etc. I don’t think I could ever date someone who wasn’t intelligent, but I could absolutely date someone who wasn’t as “on paper” educated as I am. In fact, I already do, if only because I have an extra certification on top of my undergraduate degree.
Potential Deal Breaker: Would I date someone who didn’t share my religion?
Response: This one gets a bit tricky. At the moment I don’t practice the religion I was raised in (or any other religion) because I have some personal qualms I’m working out in that department. I’m not put off by people who do practice their faith though, as long as they don’t mind that I abstain from mine. I just think, depending on exactly how observant they are, that it could become a strain on the relationship. If one party is an active, goes-to-service-regularly-level believer, they might want their partner to share that experience with them more than they initially realize and over time it could pull the relationship apart. Certainly more so than if they were a more casual observer, anyway.
Potential Deal Breaker: Would I date someone who didn’t want to get married?
Response: Yes, absolutely. I’m not as opposed to the idea of marriage now as I used to be, but I’m still not seeking it out as an end goal to dating. I’m actively searching for a loving, lifelong, monogamous relationship, but marriage, without religion, can just as easily be substituted for a domestic partnership in the legal world. I would get married if my life partner felt strongly about it and be happy to do it, but I wouldn’t demand it from an otherwise happy, stable, lifelong relationship where my partner specifically didn’t want to get married.
Potential Deal Breaker: Would I date someone who didn’t want children?
Response: Probably. I used to be an absolute yes for this one, but I’ve become increasingly interested in fostering or adopting an older child. I still have no desire to become a natural mother and I still have zero infant instincts, but I’m not 100% sure that I could entirely walk away from the fostering/adopting idea. It might depend on whether I could find a way to make family a part of my life in another way. Conversely though, I would have to think very carefully about dating someone who specifically wanted children of their own, and not adopted ones.
Potential Deal Breaker: Would I date someone who was geographically undesirable? (i.e. deployed, traveled a lot for work, etc.)
Response: I’m an extremely independent person and an introvert so my first instinct is to say yes. However, it would probably depend on what’s otherwise going on in my life and whether or not we’ve brought children into the mix. I could be a successful single parent, but if I wasn’t technically a single parent and was left to do all the childcare on my own, I would resent the hell out of my partner for not being there to help. So this is going to depend on some outside factors, more than on the initial question itself. I’d be ok with long distance for set periods of time because I do know how to do stuff on my own (like call someone for house maintenance), but people also enter relationships with emotional expectations like, “when I get sick, someone will be there to take care of me” and “my partner will bake me a birthday cake” which could be hard to get past depending on the type of separation. So I honestly don’t know how I would react to this one, having never been in a position to need to decide.