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Top 7 Deal Breakers in Love, According to Research

Try as you may, you’ll be hard pressed to find the Universal Guide to Finding Love. That’s because (as we’re sure you know already), it doesn’t exist. Love is complicated. There is no magic solution to figuring it out and no one-size-fits-all formula. And while not everyone wants the same thing in a partner, there are some qualities we can all agree are important…according to science.

In a new study published in Personalty and Social Psychology Bulletin journal, researchers from the University of Florida analyzed the impact certain deal breakers had on the formation of romantic or sexual relationships in comparison to deal makers. One thing we know for sure: People tend to be somewhat glass-half-empty when it comes to love. But it’s not totally our fault.

“We have a general tendency to attend more closely to negative information than we do to positive information,” says Gregory Webster, associate professor of psychology at the University of Florida, in a Futurity.org article.

The researchers used information from six independent studies to find out what people’s top deal breakers were when making decisions about potential romantic partners. Here are the top seven characteristics research counts as deal breakers in the pursuit of love, listed in no particular order:

  1. Unattractiveness
  2. Unhealthy lifestyle
  3. Undesirable personality traits
  4. Differing religious beliefs
  5. Limited social status
  6. Different mating strategies
  7. Different relationship goals

The impact of deal breakers is stronger for women and people in committed relationships, according to the study. For some active daters, the thought of having deal breakers in love is frustrating, but just another challenge in the pursuit of love. It’s not all that superficial, researchers say. The research supports adaptive attentional biases in human social cognition, which suggests that paying attention to the negative is actually a form of survival.

“Things that can harm are generally more important [to pay attention to] than things that can help you,” says Webster.

With that said, the researchers point out, one person’s deal breaker can be another’s deal maker, as one person’s trash is another’s treasure. That is, that quality you don’t love, someone else will. So we stand firm that there’s someone (or many) out there for everyone, deal breakers or not.

What’s important to you in a relationship? Tell us your deal breakers and deal makers in the comments below!

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