Deal Breakers in a Dating Relationship

Everyone seems to have their deal-breakers. I never really thought about mine until the term “deal-breakers” became popular a few years ago. Typically I stay away from trendy words or phrases because they annoy me. Anyone remember the book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye“? When I was in college that book had it’s fifteen minutes of fame, but not with me. I always joked about it, something like this, “Oh, you kissed dating goodbye? Well, I kissed dating!” Ok, it’s probably a good book with valuable information that will keep the reader from heartache and miscommunication with the opposite sex, but as 1990s rock group DC Talk sang, “Some people gotta learn the hard way.” To be clear about what image I’m projecting of myself in college, I didn’t date much at all. Mainly because I did stuff like this:

wanted to date and learn the hard way, and sadly, in some cases I did. However, with the experiences and failed attempts at long relationships, I learned what I liked. I also learned what I didn’t like, which would later become my deal-breakers. Early on in college I created of list of things I wanted (deal-makers, perhaps?) in an ideal mate. Things like a goofy sense of humor, enjoying but not understanding sports,a dog lover, a healthy disregard for cats and the Florida Gators, on and on the list went. I was very specific in what I was looking for and what I knew I wanted. Probably too specific because now, as a thirty-one year old adult male, my list has shrunk to a few general yet more absolute characteristics. It’s also easier now to narrow down the potential field using the list of deal-breakers rather than the deal-makers. What I mean is this: instead of finding what I want to live with, it’s easier to eliminate the ones who have what I cannot live with.

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Will You Accept This Prose?

If dating were only as easy as The Bachelor makes it seem! The show is more of a scientific experiment than it is a true attempt at finding love. That’s why when you include the unknown variable, the X factor called “life,” the experiment most often blows up.

Jake Pavelka

If you can prove the success rate of that show is higher than the number of Yanni discs you have in your collection, then I will be a little more optimystique (optimism + still a little confused on where they mysteriously find the contestants for The Bachelor). Until then, I will have the sincerest devotion to the old-fashioned romantic moments I hear about when my parents or grandparents tell me how their stories began.

In my time, though, dating is a little different from theirs. Only slightly different because although the form or fashion in which relationships happen has changed dramatically (with the onslaught of social sites on the internet, ability to travel great distances quickly, revolution in sound technology, and, oh yeah, the internet!), the fundamentals of solid dating relationships remain the same: communication, common interests, mutual friends, keys to imagination and similar world views. The Bachelor includes one, maybe two of these fundamentals, and therefore, is starting behind the eight ball from the very beginning. The reason the success rate’s extremely low is because the relationships are formed in a controlled environment, just like an experiment. Once the show is over and the elements are introduced into the “real world,” the variables can no longer be controlled. Variables like career goals, family, location, ethnicity, and many more. To further my argument that dating is much harder than The Bachelor reveals, I give you… exhibit A: High School Ben Wilder.

My dating life got off to a slow start and to be perfectly honest, my first real kiss was in 10th grade. If I could tell you that secret with little to no embarrassment, then I’ve made progress in the 15 years gone by since. I often refer to my high school love life as “the private years” but again, to be perfectly honest, shrouding those years in privacy makes my love life sound so much more mysterious and exciting than it actually was. Tracy the softball player*. That’s who I kissed. Out of silence my love life burst into song!

Whether we were listening to “Sukiyaki” by 4 P.M. or the best of Yanni at the time, I can’t say. I was just happy it happened. A quick encouragement to readers patiently awaiting their first kiss: Hang in there and dare to dream!

To sum up, I hope these personal reflections of passion (I wouldn’t call my example of dating passionate, actually) help to prove the point that in dating, as in real life, sometimes you got to learn the hard way, not the live-on-television way. And yes I’m talking to you, too, Jake Pavelka. Vienna? Really? Reconsider Sheila Lidner (or return to suprise Ali Fedotowsky this season) before you tell Vienna, in one of your best Yanni voices, “niki nana.” However, if you end up marrying Vienna I’ll make a toast in celebration of life… and I’ll look up and whistle while I’m walking.

*I refer to Tracy’s love life in high school as “the chameleon days,” because I later found out she is now a lesbian. Hope it wasn’t because of me!