9 Women On The Relationship Deal Breakers They Let Go Of

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
Many of us have traits, quirks, and idiosyncrasies that we consider "deal breakers" when searching for a potential partner. Sometimes, you can tell when you're head-on with one of your deal breakers, like if someone has offensive language on their dating profile. Other deal breakers lay dormant and don't come out until an inopportune moment, like when you start to actually like the person — but in that case, it may just be a blessing in disguise.
Deal breakers can be pragmatic, because they help you narrow down what it is you find important in a partner, but they can also be a complete waste of time. If you have a growing laundry list of things that you consider unacceptable in a partner, eventually it's going to be too much to retrofit all of those traits into a human being.
Being stringent about your deal breakers also closes you off to the possibility that your future partner could be — wait for it — different than what you crafted in your head. Even if your next relationship doesn't end up being The One, having at least one experience in which you break away from your "type" can help inform who you decide to date in the future, as sexologist Michelle Hope recently told R29. "Every now and then, you might be missing out because you're not stepping out of your comfort zone," Hope said.
So, we asked real women in the R29 community about the things that they used to consider deal breakers that they no longer GAF about.
1 of 9

Pursuing higher education.

"Not going to school or pursuing some kind of degree or certificate [used to be a deal breaker for me]. I work so hard to get the best life for myself and my future family, and I won't be with someone who isn't working just as hard. My current boyfriend of three and a half years took a few semesters off. It was worth it, because he is still figuring out what he wants to do; and when he took the time off from school, he got a new job and then a nice promotion and pay raise." – Kayleigh
2 of 9

Having blonde hair.

"I used to say I would only date someone with blonde hair who surfed. That's just the type of person I'm really into. I am currently with a partner who 'breaks' my deal breaker. It is definitely worth it, because my deal breaker is so superficial, and I've realized that it matters more to be with someone who genuinely cares about you." – Elizabeth
3 of 9

Being manly.

"In high school and college, my requirement for dating a guy was that he was really 'manly' and traditionally masculine. I really preferred men who liked to do traditionally masculine things and was embarrassed to admit I liked anyone who might have some not-so-macho qualities. It made me self-reflect about why I gravitated toward 'masculine' men, what this said about my perceptions of people, and challenged me to rethink how I've been affected by the notion of toxic masculinity. And how I, too, have fallen prey to the idea that I was fed from 8th grade that your boyfriend should be a football quarterback with a muscle car. I realized how close-minded my thinking was." – Madeline
4 of 9

Having similar interests.

"My thing used to be saying that I would never date another dancer, because it was too close to home and I was worried that if they knew the intricacies of what I'm interested in they would judge my own abilities. Even though that's still never happened, I have found that dating other creative people is really refreshing because there's a mutual understanding." – Rebecca
5 of 9

When someone came out.

"I used to think it was a big deal if someone had recently come out of the closet. I had a relationship with a recently-out person who wasn't really ready to commit and wanted to just hook up deep down. It taught me to be outspoken about what I want in a relationship before it's too late, and that goes for everyone, regardless of when they came out." – Annie
6 of 9

Having a career.

"I still hold onto my 'deal breakers' for the most part, because they are limited and very important to me. Something I no longer care about as much is the kind of job someone has. I used to qualify people based on their job or career, but the older I get, I realize that isn't what makes a person. A person can have much more ambition without a steady, boring job. Once I realized 'ambition' is what I needed in another person, I changed my deal breaker. I'm currently seeing someone who doesn't fit that original deal breaker. I guess I can't say for sure whether it's worth it just yet, but I am not regretting anything, and am very much enjoying myself. So for that I would say, yes it's worth it!" – Christina
7 of 9

Having a salacious past.

"I used to consider a more, shall we say, salacious past a deal breaker, along with crazy stuff that I had no business imposing on someone — how many friends they still had from college, how well they knew the difference between you're and your (the writer in me!), their taste in television. It got to the point where it was simply ridiculous. I honestly think it stemmed more from wanting to find reasons to not 'like' someone or find something wrong with them before they could do the same for me. My current boyfriend broke pretty much every 'deal breaker' I had and then some. It's totally worth it. At the end of the day, all those things I considered deal breakers were actually just trivial nonsense. The real deal breakers for me — kindness, respect, drive, a good heart — those things existed ten-fold in him, and were far more important than the fact that he loves Family Guy ever could be." – Alyssa
8 of 9

Going to an elite college.

"Elite colleges [were my deal breaker], because I'm a snob. I think it's mostly because my college experience really shaped how I think and how I view the world. I would want to date someone who thinks as critically as I do. I sort of saw someone who broke this deal breaker, because he was in med school, but he went to an average school for undergrad. We didn't date for very long, and our conversations never got too deep. I don't know if that was because of our education or just because we didn't click." – Raquel
9 of 9

Working for a bank.

"I used to write off finance guys, because I decided they were all money-hungry jerks and lacked passion. I was so sure that I didn't share any common values with someone who worked on Wall Street. But I was with someone who proved that wrong, so it really did shift my perspective." – Liz