Are These Dating Deal Breakers?

In Dating by Debra Fileta23 Comments

What makes something significant enough to be a deal breaker when you’re dating someone? I compiled a list of 10 Dating Deal-Breakers that I highly suggest you listen to, from my perspective as a professional counselor.

But like I talk about in True Love Dates, there are Red, Green, and Yellow traits in every relationship, and sometimes it’s not so cut-and-dry categorizing whether or not something is a deal breaker for you!

So I’m taking a poll of some of the categories that people have asked me about over the past couple of years, and I’m wondering whether or not these are dating deal breakers for you? Fill out the survey below answering YES or NO regarding your dating deal-breakers, and then check out the results of what people in this culture think. Then comment below, do you agree or disagree with the consensus? Why or why not?

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 06:27:55
End date 06:27:55
Poll Results:
Drinking Alcohol
Using Profane Language
Pushing Physical Boundaries
Always Late
Someone you are not physically attracted to
Someone you are somewhat physically attracted to
Someone currently jobless
Someone who lives with their parents
New Christian
Christian from a different denomination than you
Totally different career path than you
Long Distance
Someone your family doesn't like
Someone your friends don't like
Someone who doesn't attend church

tld-3d-book cover

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!


  1. WOW….I’m a little surprised at some of numbers regarding drinking, always late, jobless and lives with parents.

    I’m not sure I would put up with any of those things no matter what my age. I am a bit older (52) and I would not put up with someone always being late…’s disrespectful and tells me that whatever is keeping him from being on time is more important than me. Drinking…..I would not have an issue if this is maybe a glass of wine with dinner, but beyond that no. JOBLESS….you’ve got to be kidding…..this would be a big NO. I have seen women who started a relationship with men who were “in between” and ended up supporting them. Lives with parents……if he’s over 30 he should be on his own even if that means having a roommate. The bad language was kind of close, so it seems to some this is not much of a deal breaker, but as a Christian would you want to be around someone who would take the Lords name and/or drop the F word? The only time I want to hear Jesus Christ come out of someone’s mouth is to glorify Him.

    1. I am so with you on the lateness thing; it’s a respect issue!

      You made an important distinction with the drinking question – there’s enjoying a glass of wine, getting drunk on weekends, full on alcoholism, so determining what “drinks alcohol” means is important in defining deal breakers.

      I was part of a Southern Baptist church that associated ANY consumption of alcoholic beverages with binge drinking and were very open in their disapproval of drinkers. For me, “DOESN’T drink alcohol” is a dealbreaker; I don’t want to be with someone who views taking a sip of wine and/or ordering a beer with dinner as sinful acts.

    2. Dee, I am 25, and I completely agree with what you said. I guess I would have liked clarification (in the question) regarding drinking alcohol.

      I’m more “OK” with the living with parents thing, because just because a person lives with his or her parents doesn’t necessarily mean they are living there freely. The job market has been especially bad, and I personally have only been able to obtain part-time positions upon graduation. I’ve been working my butt off at the different jobs in my field of study (teaching/education), but I contribute to household expenses. At first the goal was for me to pay off my student loans, and once I did that, I started saving for a car (both are hard to do when you are working part time with no benefits, and on my own health insurance)! I contributed less to the household expenses than I do now, but for things like groceries, and my name has been on my family’s phone bill since I graduated, and I have to manage that. I am still part-time teaching and subbing and am now saving for graduate school/down payment of a house (whichever comes first). I have better part time hours than before, and now I have benefits. I also now contribute to other household expenses (my parents’ mortgage, electricity, internet, and cable). I guess what I’m trying to say is that if a person is 30 and still at home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s by choice. I do know someone who recently got married (at 28) and he was still working at home; however, he was working full time, dad had passed away due to cancer, so he is the only man of the house. He was supporting his mother and his older sister (self-employed). Now that he is married, his older sister is helping to support mom. I think it’s not fair to assume that someone living with his/her parents means that he/she isn’t responsible or a freeloader. My dad lives overseas and my older sister (preparing for vet school) help with the finances and other functions at home and I have been doing this since I was 20 and graduated from college. I have peers who are living on their own who don’t even know how to do much of what I do–I’ve had to teach them how to calculate and come up with a budget! I guess what I’m trying to say is that it really depends on the situation, and on the culture and country. The country that I’m originally from has such a high expense of living that majority of 20-30 year olds still live with parents, and that’s the norm there. 🙂

  2. I was a bit surprised by the consensus for “New Christian” and long distance. Not exactly sure what is defined as a “new Christian?” Is that born again Christian, someone that just recently accepted Jesus Christ and started going to church?” And how long exactly constitutes as “new?” There are people whose were born into a totally different religion, or whose parents were not religious so they didn’t grow up in the church. They can’t control their childhood. My cousin married a man who was born into a muslim family. His dad was muslim, and required his family to be muslim, so he was born with a muslim name. He converted when he was a teenager when his mom left his dad and divorced him and they converted to Christianity. Would he, or his siblings be considered a “new Christian?” Some of the older ones were grown by the time their mother converted to Christianity. I was also surprised by the consensus for long distance, beings that long distance relationships are so very difficult to maintain, not to mention you have to address the issue of who is going to do the moving, when your in different states that are several hours away, and when the move is going to happen? If your dating as Christians, not having sex before marriage, and not living together either until marriage, how do you decide when you’re moving? Moving from one state to another can be a long and tedious process in and of itself. I’ve done it before so I know from personal experience. Of course you can just wait until after your married to begin the moving process, but I would think that most people would want to be living together and be able to live under the same roof, immediately after the nuptials, and honeymoon? I think many people don’t answer these surveys completely honestly, and even if they do, if they’ve never been in those situations described to know what it’s like from personal experience, and they later find themselves meeting and contemplating dating someone that lives in another state, or maybe another country, somebody who is a different denomination, someone who friends and family don’t like, and/or someone who is considered a “new Christian” those answers may be very different. I think these answers are relative to the personality types and characters of the people that are answering them. For instance, I can honestly say that I would marry the man I wanted despite whether or not my friends, and/or family accepted and liked them or not. However my life is a bit unique, both of my parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and some cousins, and friends of the family are all deceased. The only family I have living are a few cousins, and one uncle and a few great aunts and uncles. All of the people whose opinions matter the most to me, like my parents and grandparents and great grandparents too, they’re all dead and gone. So for me it’s irrelevant. For someone who has all of their immediate family alive and well, and they’re very close to them, this would be different and they probably would care much more what their family thought. Also, if they were of a different nationality where they would be excommunicated if they even dated outside of their race, nationality, and cast then that would be different as well. So there are other factors that could play a part in these answers, depending on the people asked, and at what point in their lives they’re asked.

  3. I also think the one question that people are the least likely to be completely 100% honest about is choosing to date someone that they’re not physically attracted to at all, and only attracted to their personality, heart, and their character, and how they treat them. Based on what I’ve seen and heard in my lifetime, men (even “Christian” men are just highly unlikely to even approach women they aren’t attracted to, much less seriously date them. Of course their are exceptions to this that I have seen, however most all men are visual, and driven by their flesh. Even “Christian” men are still human men. Women may be more likely to be with men who they aren’t attracted to, but the flip side of that is the reasons why. Women seek a man to protect and provide. So regardless of what a man looks like, if he can do these 2 things very well, and he’s financially very well off, and he spoils the woman and treats her like a queen, they she will be with him and marry him, regardless of his looks. Even with some men dating older women, it’s still not to the same degree, and extreme as women do this. Like Donald Trumps wife, and Hughe Hefners wives, and girlfriends, and Anna Nicole Smith. Typically when men date older women, they are attractive and in great shape, and can easily pass for a woman 10 or maybe 20 years younger. So that question I think will always be skewed because of peoples dishonesty. If you saw their dating history, and actually saw the people they actually choose to date, and be with, and marry in real life, it’s highly unlikely to reflect their answers to the question regarding physical attraction on the poll.

    1. Author

      Great conversations happening here! Thank you for your input 🙂

    2. Author

      The attraction question is definitely interesting….people are more likely to date someone they are “somewhat” attracted to, vs. someone they have no physical attraction to whatsoever, which does make sense. Either way, I think attraction in both categories (none or somewhat) can grow (or decrease) depending on the other factors such as mental, emotional, and spiritual connection.

      I think it’s a good sign though that the “somewhat attracted to” answer is the majority, because that means that even when there’s a small physical attraction, people are generally willing to see if that attraction grows with other factors. At the end of the day, attraction is multifaceted anyway, so it’s important to leave room for people who don’t totally match our typical “type” when it comes to physical appearance.

  4. I think these answers can be very influenced by age – jobless, lives with parents, etc. is much less of a deal-breaker at 22 than 42.

  5. I am up towards 60 and I am finding that I am much less tolerant in the dating world than I was in early life. I don’t want a smoker around my kids and grand daughter who have asthma and allergies. I wouldn’t mind someone who has a glass of wine, but not the entire bottle as long as they don’t mind that I have iced tea. My family is scattered all over the country so they really wouldn’t get a vote. I don’t want to listen to any one’s foul mouth or using my Savior’s name in any way disrespectful. Constantly being late is disrespectful. If a person doesn’t attend church there could be good reason. There is a lot of abuse in the church and finding one that doesn’t re-victimize victim is very hard. I would need to know why and make a determination later. There are so many other red flags having to do with abuse of any kind.

  6. First, l think l must accept the fact that l didn’t get home with today’s post. But from the background, l will not ( as a man ) accept any woman who smokes , drinks alcohol,is messy, and worst still uses profane language. But, l can. Be drawn by character, pulled by grace . And attraction is normal, who says good thing is not good. But without that character, everything falls.

  7. I hope this is not a trap. And secondly, Please let’s respect the person of Jesus.

  8. I agree with life circumstances being quite different from 22 to 42 by comparison so it would skew results in the poll based on who was answering. However, something to think about is if a young man at 22 is in school and working or on his own and working a good job or jobs it’s a great indication of his motivation, drive and who he will be in providing for his family at 42.
    (Hint: always marry a hard worker who loves Jesus… you will never go hungry physically or spiritually)

  9. A lot of these depend upon the back story as well. Is the jobless guy in between jobs and actively looking for a new job? Or is he just hanging around being a slacker?

    What is the reason the guy is living at home? Is it because his family needs assistance? Is it because rent is so stupidly high that he’d rather contribute to his family’s income than a random landlord? Is it because he’s trying to work his way out of debt?

    I said no to those as deal breakers because there are situations that so many of us young adults find ourselves in that result in joblessness or living at home where the person would still be marriage material.

    1. Marriage is difficult enough with 2 very different people getting used to each other’s differences, adding joblessness to that list would make it even more difficult. One of the number one reason a marriage does not survive is due to money. Strife in a marriage over money is caused by several things, who is earning more/less, how you each spend and how you each save. If someone is jobless….he/she is not ready for marriage. Second, if he is still living with parents…..again….not ready for marriage unless you are willing to live with them after you are married and trust me…..THAT DOES NOT WORK!

      1. The living at home thing also depends on culture. Americans think it’s wrong to live at home after graduation, but go outside of the US and it’s expected in many places, regardless of income. Even within the US, you’ll find a number of ethnic groups who still expect their grown son or daughter to live at home – married or not.

        1. Author

          I agree with you on that, T…I actually moved and lived at home for a year during the end of graduate school 😉 I saw it as a much-needed opportunity to spend time with my parents while I had the chance. And thankful to say I’m happily married, LOL.

        2. Maybe living at home (as an adult) single would be more tolerable for me than a ‘married’ couple living at home. I’m sorry but I am of a different generation and if I had a young daughter getting married, he would need to be able to support them in their own home. That is why the Bible clearly says “a man shall LEAVE his mother and father and join his wife”. As a newly married couple I would think you would not want to live with your parents as I’m sure they would have some ‘rules’ as they should, after all….it is their home you are living in. The problems I see with this is unwanted advice and interference and I’m sure at some point there would be some resentment. A newly married couple does not need their parents interfering in their relationship or it can and will cause strife. I could see this if and only if you had separate quarters with your own entrance and not in the same space as the parents.

          1. Author

            I agree with you, Dee….if possible, a married couple should avoid living with parents. Sometimes a situation will call for it out of need or desperation, and there are always exceptions to the rules, but if it can be avoided I think it’s of benefit as it’s definitely something that can cause stress and conflict. Our first years of marriage we actually lived half way across the country from family and I really believe it helped us create our own family unit. We didn’t have much, but we made it work and grew closer to one another in the process.

  10. Hej Dee,
    I just wanted to say, some people are often late without the intention of being disrespectful.
    Like me, I have ADD and I have problems with time.
    I wish I didn’t, but it’s really not that easy for me to change.
    Next to that, I think I’m a really sweet person 🙂

  11. Another deal breaker is if my date is liked and respected by strangers, homeless, and service people. I want someone who is generous, kind, and respectful to people he doesn’t know, especially restaurant staff.
    Church isn’t a deal breaker because I can’t stand going to church 90% of the time. I want someone who participates as a member of the body of Christ in every facet of life.
    Health is huge, which goes with smoking, alcohol, and finances. I want someone who takes care of his body and appearance, wanting to live well and take care of his family.
    Pushing physical boundaries. Christian men seem afraid of their desire to be physical, so it’s kind of nice to know that he is interested in physical intimacy. However, if he disrespects my level of comfort or does not ask permission, he’s out.

  12. I appreciated this survey. I basically knew my answers, but it was a nice exercise. As some have indicated above, my answers have changed as I’ve aged. Some things used to be deal breakers but aren’t now and others that weren’t years ago are now.

    If my friends and family didn’t like him, it would depend on why. Do they think he’s of bad character, do they find him annoying or do they have a different set of deal breakers for me than I do for myself?

    On a different subject, I’m curious to know more about how age and experience impact dating and entering into marriage. Sometimes the advice I get from people who have been married a long time tends to be the same advice I used to read about in Seventeen Magazine, like “be yourself on a date.” 25 years later…I already know how to act on a date and what type of person I’m looking for. Maybe you could do a series on decades – people who married in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond and what their experience was like – what they learned over time and what the transition into marriage was like for them. What is it like for the person who already has an established career and a house? What is it like for the senior citizen who now has a lot of widowed friends or a will that reflects their adult children from a previous marriage?

  13. I’m just curious about what everyone thinks about a man who is 32 and lives with his parents? My boyfriend’s parents are poor and lost their home to foreclosure a few years ago and he has been supporting them financially since his early 20s. He has contributed a lot of money towards rent all of these years, which he could have put towards a down payment on a house. He no longer supports them financially so that he can save money for our future.

  14. Reading this, I removed myself from all dating websites and most social interaction with singles until I get a reliable job and get my life together. It was a difficult decision, but it’s reality: a woman will generally only accept a man who is ready for marriage, even for dating. Proof, not potential, is what is required, for a man to date, and eventually, marry…

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