There's been a lot of talk about settling for Mr. Good Enough, due to Lori Gottlieb's book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Despite the book's provocative subtitle, however, Gottlieb's latest opus isn't really about settling. Rather, it's a case for maintaining an open mind when considering new men, instead of nitpicking over inconsequential surface details. Because, sometimes, the man we overlooked may be the only one who can make us happy. She has a point. Which is why we put together a list of the 10 dating deal breakers that ... well ... shouldn't really be considered deal breakers.
1. He's considerably older or younger. A lot of people pass judgment when they see a May-December couple, muttering things about gold digging and cougars and dirty old men. And, in some cases, they're right. It can be difficult to have a partnership of equals when both halves of a couple are at different places in their lives. Still, if the relationship works, you can overcome an age difference. Just make sure you've thought about the pros and cons of the gap.
2. He's balding. Shame on you! While it's important to be attracted to the one you're with (without physical chemistry good sex is pretty tough), it doesn't make sense to arbitrarily rule out an entire segment of the population just because they sport a soul patch, or have a few extra pounds, or are balding. Have you seen how sexy Taye Diggs looks without hair?
3. He's lives far away from you. Long-distance relationships (LDRs) can be rough. They can be lonely. They can be expensive. They can be frustrating on both emotional and sexual levels. But they can also be worth it. Several YourTango staffers have rocked the LDR, proving that — despite the agita — it can be done.
4. He doesn't have a college degree. A lack of formal education does not necessarily mean he lacks ambition, smarts or chances for career success. Think real estate broker. Plumber. Ultrasound technologist. Lobster fisherman. All of these jobs require a hard work, a good brain and can net big bucks, yet none of them require higher education. If he spends his days on the couch, wearing nothing but his tightie-whities and expects you to foot all the bills, however, we'll forgive you for dropping that dead weight.
5. He's divorced. Okay. Stop hyperventilating. While a previous marriage can leave one with serious emotional baggage, a divorce does not mean there's something wrong with the person who went through it. In fact, the experience may have left him with a better perspective on what he wants (or doesn't want) in a partner, and what works when it comes to negotiating the rough spots. Over time, he may open up about the specifics of his divorce. In the meantime, concentrate on who he is as a person, not who he is as a divorced person.
6. He has kids. Seriously, guys. Stop. hyperventilating. And then, once you've calmed down a bit, observe. The way a man acts with (or talks about) his children can be a great indicator of how well he'll end up treating you, or even what type of father he'll be to your kids.
7. He comes from a wildly different background. Are you nervous about what people will say if you date someone outside of your race? Afraid your parents will go berserk if you end up with someone of a different faith? If you're confident enough to shrug off their judgments you may find such relationships extra-rewarding; working through your differences will result in greater understanding of each other and another culture. And, hopefully this goes without saying, but the color of his skin does not affect his ability to love the heck out of you.
8. You're a Democrat; he's a Republican. So long as neither one of you is an extremist, you should be capable of keeping things civil. If nothing else, your differences will make for some rousing political debates and, if you're extra open-minded, it could be fun having a window into the innermost thoughts of someone whose political values are so different from your own.
9. You have different interests. Your diet consists of pasta and veggies, he's a major meat eater. He loves smash-'em-up adventure flicks, you're a fan of the artsy fartsy. You still have Debbie Gibson in your iTunes music library, he...well, he'd rather not comment on your musical tastes, because it might hurt your feelings. While it's nice to share some interests with your significant other, you don't want your partner to be a carbon copy of you. If you don't give someone slightly different from you a chance, you may never realize how totally awesome horror flicks are, or how exhilarating rock climbing can be, or how perfect Pulp's "Common People" sounds when it pops up on your playlist directly after Debbie Gibson's "Electric Youth."
10. His last name is Hymen, Wertzberger, or Hogge. Don't fret. You could always keep your maiden name.