What Are Your Dating Deal Breakers?

Speaking of dating, do you guys have any dating deal breakers? :) My friend recently went out with a guy who wouldn’t stop biting her while they kissed, and she woke up with bruises the next day! Isn’t that straight out of Sex & the City?

Back in my mid twenties, when I was single and searching in Manhattan, I was riding the subway with a guy I was dating, and we were having a nice night, and all of a sudden he said, “You have the cutest little moustache.” What?!?!? I tried to play it cool, but I was mortified. I laughed and asked him if he was serious, and he said, “Yeah, you have blonde hairs so it’s hard to see, but you have a little moustache.” I was so traumatized that I went home that night and shaved. Like a dude.

What are your dating deal breakers?

P.S. On a happier note, my first date with Alex.

(Photo by Corey Arnold)

  1. A boy once told me it was weird kissing me because of my mustache. Needless to say, we are not together. I have a theory that I love that my husband has facial hair so he can’t feel my “mustache” when we kiss.

    Also, I wax now.

  2. Anonymous says...

    If you think you want children later on, try to establish his fertility before things get too serious. How to approach that subject?!

    This leads me to a funny experience. A guy I had been dating told me that he had been in an accident and had had to have his testicles removed. I hadn’t realized this because he had prosthetic ones. I am grateful that he had the “balls” to tell me early on! ;)

    Up until that, I didn’t even know that guys whose balls have been cut off could even have sex!

  3. Excellent post! I loved all the posts. My deal breakers would be: into falconry, (what year are we in ! :P) no sense of humor and of course smoking. My current bf was worth the wait! :)

  4. I could never date a guy with a high pitched speaking voice. Thankfully I’m married now and the dating days are behind me. Yay!

  5. I think my biggest turn off on a date is negativity. I have been on so many terrible dates lately with guys who spend the whole time talking about things they don’t like or things they don’t do. Life is too short for that!

  6. That was great! Ha. I’m at work and nearly spit out my water all over my keyboard. The final “like a dude” comment had me in stitches. =D

  7. Before I married my husband I decided to try I went on a HORRIBLE date with a guy who asked to move tables twice after we were seated! The first time, the neon from some sign outside the window “bothered his eyes” and the second time he wanted to sit closer to the front of the restaurant. We ended up at some horrible table and he sat on the same side of it as I did. Ugh. After we ordered, he decided that they were taking too long to deliver our food, so he left the table and walked over to the kitchen area to complain about it. I was absolutely mortified. I started dating my husband a few weeks later. :)

  8. I think reading all these comments is just as entertaining, if not better than the original post, haha.

    As for my turn offs/dealbreakers, I probably have a lot of them. I’m pretty pick but I genuinely wish I was more open minded about certain things… it would make dating a whole lot easier.

    The big ones for me — inconsiderate behavior (ESPECIALLY to service people of any kind), addictive behavior to any substance (drugs, alcohol, food, etc.), messy appearance (if women take so much time out of their lives to look beautiful, men should take time to groom themselves at a very basic level), being boring/uninteresting/not creative, not being a gentleman/chivalrous, and finally, not being curious enough. So many men are too self-involved or narcissistic to be curious about someone else and therefore, are much less engaging to converse with.

  9. must ride a bike for transportation.

  10. Aurora A says...

    the only dealbreaker for me is lack of attraction. Otherwise I feel like people are pretty fascinating with all their crazy quirks. I can’t imagine how many incredibly dopey things I’ve done on dates over the years. Though I suppose awful human things take a person straight off the table (racist, misogynist, war criminal etc).

  11. I dated a guy who told me he had a foot fetish and wanted to touch my very dirty flip-flopped feet. And he really killed it for me because he was cheap. While out with a friend of mine, he bought our beers but not hers.

  12. Anonymous says...

    i went on a date with a guy who once told me it was my turn to buy drinks because he likes a modern woman. i bought the next round and then went home soon after that.

  13. Gina says...

    Oh how I have enjoyed reading these great comments! What is WRONG with people?! Yes, I have quite a few dealbreakers: smoking, bad grammar, CHEAPNESS, critical and condescending, negative, doesn’t like animals, arrogant, BAD BREATH, long fingernails. Really, is it too much just to ask for a nice, clean, intelligent, well-raised guy?

  14. Anonymous says...

    deal breaker – smoking!!!!

  15. Callista says...

    You are so funny! I love that you’re not ashamed to share your embarrassing moments with us. I love swapping mortifying stories with my friends. I think that there is a certain amount of strength that comes from it.

  16. Anonymous says...

    One guy said he wanted to go to the drugstore (while on a date) and get some hair dye so we could color my hair that night (???) I was blond and he wanted it to be brunette (???) Same guy said he wanted me to take improv lessons cause I wasn’t funny enough. Explains why the man is now 40 and has never married.

  17. Anonymous says...

    you shaved?! oh no joanna!
    now do you have to shave it all the time to keep from having darker hairs?? or do you wax?

  18. Sarah Jean says...

    I went out with a guy who on the first date asked, “Have you ever read the book ‘Finding the Love of Your Life’?”

    No. I have not. Talk about coming on a little strong for a first date.

  19. Bunnun says...

    Oh my goodness. That is a great date disaster story!

    I once went on a date with a guy who was incredibly good-looking and charming, but halfway through the evening he started spewing all this anti-immigrant crap. I pointed out that as a foreigner in his country, I was technically an immigrant too. At which point he said I was OK, because I brought “added value” – read, I am white.

    The guy later sent me an incoherent e-mail saying he wanted to kill himself. When I questioned him about it, he said he routinely sends e-mails in his sleep and has no memory of them when he wakes up. Needless to say, there was no second date.

  20. I am happily married now with a sweet baby boy, but before I met my hubs–I had so many horrible dating experiences that I started to write a book about it (or a dating journal at least).

    Worst was a teacher that I met. We met up at a restaurant at 6 and he told me he’d only pay for an appetizer on first date (ok, fine). Then he told me he first wanted to ask out my friend, but learned she had a boyfriend, then my other friend, but when we walked up he realized she was too heavy. So he asked me out instead.

    Then, he told me that he fantasied about one of his students and needs to wait until she is 18 and out of HS to ask her out–what?!

    Then, he told me he fantasied about his friend’s wife, but that couldn’t ever happen. What? What?!

    Weirdo! I was so creeped out. First time I have ever just left in the middle of a date and didn’t even tell him. I just left.

    So glad I am where I am in life.

  21. I keep an actual list of my deal breakers and red flags. I check in with my list often because I find that the fantasy of early love can cloud my judgement and make me forget the lessons I’ve already learned.

    My deal breakers include: “Doesn’t think it’s bad when his friends cheat on their girlfriends” to “Wears diamond earrings.” LOL Live and learn.

  22. Lol, that is mortifying. What is wrong with some guys, for real?!

  23. dating deal breaker? Probably when the guy actively does not care about the things you are most invested in…Not just your little hobbies and interests, but career plans, and the things you spend the most time pursuing.

  24. My most recent deal breaker was the guy who asked me what I wanted to drink and when I said a glass of red wine please, said, “that’s so bourgeois” (that was strike one – we had just met so I thought maaaaybe he was deadpan joking. Unfortunately he wasn’t.)

    Next date: he agrees to order a bottle of wine, then when I offer to pay half scolds me in front of the bar staff shouting, “you just have to make a feminist statement don’t you”, finishing his rant with “End of discussion.”

    I’m blissfully single now. :))

  25. i’ve also shaved my mustache in a moment of weakness. ugh!one of my biggest turn offs: long fingernails, EW!

    but for real, not asking enough questions. thats a deal breaker for me.

  26. Alas, I have a slight mustache as all. You can barely see it, but I know it’s there. I have shaved it, and in fact, I still do. I tried Nair but it has the same exact effect; plus you have to wait for it to grow in a bit before you can use the smelly stuff. Better just to shave.

  27. these are so funny, i love all these comments!! xo

  28. anonymous, that is HILARIOUS about the washcloth!!! omg, i’m laughing out loud :)

  29. Wow, I can’t believe someone said that to you! You are beautiful!

    I’m happily married now, but back in the day: smoking, poor grammar and taking yourself too seriously were dealbreakers.

  30. Major deal-breaker: Back when I lived in NYC I was on a second date with a guy I had worked with briefly. Before dinner we were talking about my starting to eat meat again after 15+ years as a vegetarian. I said, the only meat I could never ever eat would be veal. What did he order for dinner? Veal osso buco. And then he proceeded to scrape the marrow out of the bones telling me it was his favorite part. Needless to say, this was our last date.

  31. I met up this guy twice for a walk and a bbq and then told him that if he wants to see me again he should take me on a real date. He asked what that meant! Pffff… I told him if I have to explain to a thirty-one-year old what a real first date is I don’t think I want to do this. We did. It was terrible. We’re done.

    Non readers – definitely a turn off.

    What else…

    Men who brag about money.
    There’s probably more, but can’t think of any now.

  32. Ack! Too funny about the mustache comment. I’ve been shaving my peach fuzz daily for years (like a dude) too. It’s blonde, but I’m not taking any chances.

    As for deal breakers, I’m married now but definitely agree with a lot of the above generally-not-a-good person ones (mean, disrespectful, etc.). One of my most memorable deal breakers is from a guy I dated who I was kind of on the fence about anyway. He was really sweet, but the chemistry wasn’t 100% there. At one point he told me he had 2 paintings of dogs above his bed that his mom had painted. He said that he would always have these above his bed no matter where he lived in the future. I was thinking that dog paintings probably wouldn’t be my first choice, but it was kind of sweet that he was so sentimental about something his mom had painted for him. That was until I saw them. They weren’t just dog paintings, they were really ugly puppy paintings that had obviously been done for a child’s room in the 1970s (very cartoonish). I’m pretty sure they were paint by number (remember those?). Things weren’t clicking with us anyway, but I’m pretty sure that was the beginning of the end. My friends now refer to him as The Puppy Painting Guy. I’m happy to say he found someone who could deal with the puppy paintings and is now happily married, which only goes to show that the more superficial deal breakers go out the window when you’re in love.

  33. Tracy says...

    I also have a guy friend who breaks up with his girlfriends if they weigh more then 110 pounds. He only dates young girls. Who seem to not care about this. Awful, right?

  34. Tracy says...

    I hate these. All are from first date experience. Some men were double offenders
    1.guys don’t tip, unless it is horrible service.
    2.Talk on their cell phone too much.
    3.Shell necklaces.
    4.State they are only interested in a sexual relationship…?really?
    5.One guy was secretly doing coke in the BR and then offered some to my friend.(We were at a concert I left, he walked me home and then I went back to the show :).
    6. Talks about the ‘ex’ a lot.
    7. Mention future plans that may include you and the state “If you play your cards right”

  35. That’s awful!

    I haven’t dated in a long time – we just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago – but I can tell you two things I wouldn’t be able to handle:
    1. guys who are full of themselves
    2. guys who’d make me feel bad about myself

    Those would definitely be deal breakers!

  36. haah. an x boyfriend of mine said the same thing about my mustache. only i have black hair and his comment wasn’t nearly as sweet. :)

  37. Anonymous says...

    I once dated a guy who had to keep a washcloth over his face while in the shower to keep from “drowning”, a habit he’d kept since childhood….

  38. i never dated much; married my first and only love…but i think a guy who eats a salad for dinner would do me in. i want my guy eating steaks and manly things. not salads:)

  39. Lydia says...

    Deal breaker: When a guy calls a girl a slut, especially if the girl in question is me. In my early college years, I had a passionate, yet fraught relationship with a boy with whom I shared a strong emotional connection, but no real interests or hobbies. I warred it out with him until the night he drunkenly called me a slut, and I said, “no you didn’t.” That was that! I love my hubby (although he is a bruiser), but I sometimes catch him saying something (never some one) looks slutty, e.g. a sequined dress, a patent leather boot. I raise an eyebrow and he corrects himself post-haste… “I meant trashy!”

  40. Anonymous says...

    Jo, just be excited that no women will ever be saying these things about Toby! He’s going to be a great catch ;)

    Anddd bravo to the ladies above for knowing who you are and accepting those who love you for who you are!

  41. Gemma says...

    According to 3 different guys I’ve dated, body hair on women- be it nipples, toe, finger, upper lip is flippin’ unacceptable! I’m irish, so I have a peach fuzz situation going on and have been repeatedly asked by above guys to “do something about” the light smattering of pale hairs on my upper lip or other areas.

    Several of them also thought it would be cute to regale me with stories about how other girls’ body hair had turned them off in the past (Like, OMG, she had nipple hairs, I broke up with her the next day!)

    One of the above also told me that he would dump me if I gained 10 pounds. (I was 5″5, 115lbs at the time) this was after dating for a YEAR.

    and on and on…

    Having married a European man and gotten to know lots of european men as friends through him, I’ve got to say, that is the way to go. So many men I’ve dated in several different areas of the US all had the same standards for their girlfriends, essentially expecting perfection. Their ideal woman likes all of the same books, music, movies, food that they do, cooks, cleans, stays uber thin, fit and sexy.

    The british, italian, french and irish guys that we’ve become friends with since we moved abroad are the opposite- no nit-picking minutiae. You’re a vegetarian and I’m not? Who cares! You love rock and roll and I’m a Beethoven fan? Who cares! Any of the men I have met over here would never remark on a womans body hair, age or weight…you respect the person as they are.

  42. I love the responses here…I wonder what guys would say?? Deal breaker for me…close minded, and if he acts like he knows it all. Oh…or doesn’t like korean food…Can’t do it….

  43. I went out with a guy at University the one time. Tall, intelligent, talented…a real catch. He had a bit of bad skin on his forehead which I didn’t mind one little bit! He used to cover it a bit with makeup, whatever. I could get past that.

    On our first date, he must have had a particularly bad skin day as he came out with a pretty big band-aid across his forehead claiming he’d walked into an open kitchen cabinet. Um, ok.

    Whilst dessert was being served he slyly asked if I wanted an ‘Expresso’. I said ‘No, thanks – I don’t drink those’. He then ensued to wink and lift his eyebrows in a highly comedic way. What he meant by Espresso was a quickie in the bathroom. This was our first date.

    Needless to say, there was no second one.

    Maria xx

  44. That is hilarious (though I’m sure it didn’t seem so at the time)! I was once in a nail salon getting my eyebrows done when the waxer lady asked me if I wanted my mustache waxed as well. Um, I wasn’t aware that I had a mustache, so no thanks

  45. gosh! maybe he thought that was counted as a sweet-talk… lol

  46. This was such a fun post and the comments are cracking me up! Love your blog and the smile it brings me. Unfortunately, i am notorious for being a serial dater…please mister right, I’m ready already!! That being said, I do have some hilarious stories and now have a list of deal breakers. Besides the obvious ones, he has to like dogs, there is just some sort of innocence in a guy who likes dogs :).

  47. oh my word, that IS mortifying! I would have been appalled that someone I was *dating* would say that to me, ew!

  48. To answer this question, I could probably list a bunch of negative characteristics that I would not be able to tolerate. . .
    1. Someone who sees the cup as always half empty
    2. Someone who has no ambition
    3. Someone who is a control-freak
    4. Someone who has dangerous addictions
    5. Someone who is self-absorbed
    6. Someone who is downright mean and angry
    7. A mama’s boy
    8. Someone who has no boundaries
    9. Someone who is arrogant and cheap
    10. Someone who is narrow-minded

    Come to think of it, writing this was helpful!

  49. married. but no bad spellers and no tasseled loafers.

  50. Anonymous says...

    Deal Breaker: Bad kisser!

  51. OMG, Joanna! You just made me laugh all by myself in my apartment. I think my dog Zoey probably thinks I’m nuts. Too funny… and yes, that would definitely be a deal breaker for me as well. Ha.

  52. Smoking. Not necessarily a makeout deal-breaker… but definitely a dating deal-breaker… though I’m married now so just sayin’

  53. aahh! you crack me up! that is totally something that would happen to me! one of my biggest deal breakers is someone who talks over me while on a date. so obnoxious!

  54. Omg… I had something like tha happen to me and did the same exact thing (wax now because whiskers are icky, lol). Dating deal breaker: No sparks.

  55. I have lots, many of them I discovered when dating ex #2. If he smokes. Is too rough when making out. Puts me down because of something I like ex: I like reading and because he didn’t he would put me down for it. Immature. Has no compassion, or understanding for others. Only cares about himself…. I could go on all day

  56. My deal breaker is… his mom. I work with youth and kids which means I don’t meet too many guys my age. Just recently a guy started volunteering. People have been asking if I might be interested in him. Problem is – I already know his mom and there is NO WAY I could be her daughter in law. She’s mean… So I’m not even interested in the son – it’s totally turned me off to him. We can be friends, but definitely nothing more.

    My boss, who has a 2 year old son, said, “That’s a scary thought! I could have an effect on whether my son would have a wonderful relationship or not.” Fortunately, she’s a nice loving person. Her son will be fine and find someone awesome.

  57. oh my gosh, that is too funny. way to be charming! my dealbreaker is bad manners. if a guy isn’t well mannered & considerate, forget it! luckily i’m in a serious long-term relationship with the kindest and most polite boy i’ve ever met :)

  58. bahahhaah that would be my reaction too.. man oh man

  59. If he has bad teeth or bad breath, or is a bad kisser – deal breaker!

    That mustache comment is HORRIBLE! Did he really think you’d want to hear that??

  60. Nooooo that’s horrifying! Shame on him!

    My first bf was beautiful… but soon dawned on me that he was seriously dumb. I couldn’t have meaningful conversations with him about books, music, etc, and that made me really sad. So I decided that the men I dated from then on had to be intelligent, and if they were easy on the eyes, that’s a bonus. Thank goodness my husband meets both requirements! :)

  61. i went on a blind date once- i suggested we go to the book store. when we got there i asked him what types of books he liked to read and he said, “oh, i don’t really read…”
    WHAT?! i mean, i don’t care if he said sports biographies or tom clancy novels (two things i have no interest in reading :) ) but come ON, you don’t read?!?! ANYTHING?!?!
    the other problem was that his dad was italian (like, from italy, grew up there until university) and he didn’t know A SINGLE WORD of italian! i love languages, and i always wished that my parents spoke a second language and had taught it to me growing up. the fact that he had that opportunity and took no advantage of it made me realize i could never respect him.
    (guys i’ll never go out with- ones who expect sex/anything other than a hug, on the first date)

  62. That is awful! I had a first date pick up a roll off of my plate, lick it, and put it back on my plate. His only explanation was that he wanted it. Needless to say, that was our last date.

  63. A guy who tells me I need to hurry up & get married because I’m getting older. I’m 29. I’m fully aware.
    A guy who pushes too hard, too fast & borderline sexually assaults me.
    A guy who will pay for nothing. NOTHING. Yes, this happened to me once. And shame on me for going back for more.
    A guy who is clearly trying to get you wasted.
    A guy who is cheating on someone else by going out with you.
    A guy who is using you.
    A guy who is bi-sexual.
    A guy who is gay.
    A guy who is rude to my mom or my friends.
    A guy who hits, yells at, scares, overly criticizes, or tries to control me.
    A guy who doesn’t like animals. Or at least can’t understand why I love them. YOU don’t have to love them, but please let me enjoy my puppy, ok?
    A guy with bad table manners, who uses his hands to eat, & doesn’t even put the napkin on his lap.
    A guy with crud in his teeth.
    A guy who has slept with a prostitute.
    A guy who prefers to watch porn instead of make out with me.
    Not a total deal breaker (I understand there is context) but a guy who has left his wife, that’s a serious red flag.
    A guy who fights his ex-wife in front of me. A guy who screams at his ex-wife in front of me (um, hello? Raga-a-holic???)
    A guy who has ever gotten a girl pregnant.
    A guy who has had/currently has an STD.
    Any guy who makes me feel worthless.

    Is that so much to ask for? I think not. Sadly, I have dated every single one of these guys. I think I’m due for a good one soon :)

  64. Anonymous says...

    Deal breaker: Endless stories about his “hilarious” assault and battery and indecent exposure charges…. Check please!

  65. I agree about non-readers being a turnoff and a guy needs to be chivalrous – at least to the extent that he is courteous and kind. I went out with a guy who was doing a fellowship in DC for a summer. The first time we went out he kissed me and he licked my teeth. Yes, really… I thought “maybe he missed” or it was an accident. The second time we went out and he kissed me, he did it again. I never saw him again. SO GROSS!

  66. That is hilarious. An ex boyfriend of mine once told me I had “peach fuzz” on my face. I was totally self conscious about it after that!

  67. Deal breaker: Rude to the waiter.
    Sooner or later, I’ll be the waiter.