You've got dealbreakers. We all do. But what should be just a few hard-and-fast, values-driven rules about who you will and will not associate with, let alone date, has gotten a little out of hand. Curly hair? Dealbreaker. Have kids? Dealbreaker. Don't have kids? Dealbreaker. Glasses, a few credits shy of a bachelors degree, a previous marriage? Dealbreaker. Seriously?
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You want to know why you "can't meet anyone?" Take a look at your dealbreakers. They're getting in your way.
Dealbreakers masquerade as conviction, but also handily counter your fear of rejection (I reject you first). They also make you feel in control in an area where you feel greatly out of control. If you spend a ton of time worrying about what you WON'T do or refuse to meet, well, you're busy putting limits on your learning and your loving.
How do you know your dealbreakers are running amok? Ask yourself this: Does a new one rear its head every time you meet someone you could potentially date, maybe someone who has an interest in you? Do you find yourself bragging about who you would not, could not, will not ever consider? Your white-knuckled grip on your dealbreakers makes you seem smart and tough, but really, it's you being judgy and scared and anything but open. It's easy to have rules. It's not easy to take risks.
What astonishes me is that the people with 101 dealbreaker clauses are the same ones who bemoan the loss of romance and spontaneity in dating. Where do you think that spontaneity comes from? Being open to things that surprise you.
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How many times have you heard someone say that, "Well, Hank didn't seem like the kinda guy I'd fall in love with, but here we are 10 years later!" Or, "Sally wasn't really my type, but I was drawn to her and couldn't explain why." I know why: Because neither love nor chemistry keeps a to-do or a to-don't list. But you do.
Keep Dealbreakers in Check
It's worth saying that there ARE such things as real dealbreakers, but for them to matter, they have to stand for something. I'm not saying you should throw all caution to the wind and date willy nilly. I know: You have goals. Maybe you want to be married, have kids, or get out of Delaware. OK, fine. But again, are you a romcom screenwriter or are you a real person in real life? You're not casting a role; you're looking for a person with whom you can connect and share. And if you're ruling everyone out because of what you THINK that person would do, when you have no way of knowing, you're part of the problem.