Have you developed deal-breaker habits?

by Dating Goddess on March 31, 2010

I once read a study’s findings that men who were married/partnered in midlife and older lived longer than men who weren’t. The researchers explanation? That if a man has a physical ailment, he’ll let it go, not wanting to see a doctor, thinking it will clear up on it’s own. If he lives with a woman who knows about the malady, she insists (nags?) him to see the doctor. Thus, ailments that would get worse in time are nipped in the bud and healed.

As we get older, many of us develop bad habits (like thinking something will clear up on its own). If we live by ourselves, or with a non-friend or non-relative roommate, or have friends that aren’t very forthcoming to give us feedback, it’s easy to start doing things that are unacceptable to others but we think are normal.

This is why some people are in the “undateable” category, no matter how smart or nice they may be.

For example, an older friend has decided she no longer needs to wear deodorant since she mostly just watches TV all day. However, her relatives say being cooped up in a car with her for even short trips requires they roll down the windows because of her BO. Others decide they no longer need to shower every day, or they wear their clothes a day or two longer than they would if someone were around to point out the smell.

It’s not just personal hygiene that can fall prey to bad habits. It can be talking to oneself, which isn’t a problem when one is alone. But when in the presence of another, constant chattering can cause the other to continually ask you to repeat or speak up, when you were really only thinking aloud. This can be annoying to both of you, yet you’re not conscious that you’re babbling semi-audibly.

Or perhaps your housekeeping has been lax since it’s just you at home now. But when your sweetie visits, he has to step gingerly around the dog food you spilled days ago and haven’t gotten around to sweeping up. Or he has to wash a glass for water because all the glassware is in the sink/dishwasher. Or your beloved dog’s hair has matted on the couch so he has to endure fur on his black slacks or cover the couch with a dog-smelling throw.

Maybe your habits have spilled over into your table manners. Since you’re used to eating alone, you’ve become oblivious to your chewing with your mouth open, slurping your drink, smacking your lips, or wiping your nose with the cloth napkin. Or since no one checks your tip, you’ve begun to leave less and less and now think 5% is acceptable.

The list could go on. None of these on their own are deal breakers, but the cumulative affect is that you are unconscious of how your behaviors appear to others.

The cure? I wish adults would more easily enroll in charm or etiquette school, but once one is past school age, few find that acceptable. And it wouldn’t address some of the issues listed above.

So how do you know if you have a habit that could be off putting? My suggestion is to seek input from those you trust to tell you the truth and who have some savvy about these things. I wouldn’t ask a pal who sees nothing wrong with a sinkload of dishes and rampant dust bunnies to assess your housekeeping habits.

What bad habits have you identified in yourself that needed fixing? Or have you had to tell a sweetheart s/he needs to become aware of a habit that has passed the acceptable range?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

kitty moore April 1, 2010 at 3:20 am

I think my worst fault is probably my lack of willingness to compromise. I am divorced, I have a child and a career. I don’t need to be in a relationship therefore my standards are very high (almost unattainable) which could be self-sabotage. Oh dear. I’m going to go into analysis mode (another bad habit) – time for a lie down methinks!

Amanda Goldsmith April 1, 2010 at 6:08 am

This made me chuckle as having lived on my own for so long, during my time of attracting a mate in the past months, I have become aware of how I hog the bed, how I eat in bed and how sometimes at the weekend I dont shower til late as there is no one around to notice.

I too have been with men who have let things slide and they then become deal breakers for me… great to think about these.

Gratitude in heaps to you as always – Amanda

Mitsy April 1, 2010 at 9:02 am

I take a shower every single night and can’t go to bed without one. A guy who didn’t shower daily would be a problem for me. I also cannot tolerate someone who smokes. After having a guy who drank heavily and also smoked, my hope is that my next guy (if there ever is one) will not be a smoker at all. I don’t care if a guy has a beer once in a while, but I can’t tolerate drunkenness again. Men who are in their 40′s and have any kind of substance addiction problems would not work for me. By the time a person is 40, they really need to re-assess their lives and try to make positive changes for their future. While most Americans are living well into their 80′s nowadays, why not try to make the next 40 years even better than the first?

Sadly, many people are content with the status quo in their lives and don’t want to change or improve themselves. I think when a person quits having aspirations or goals for their future, they become too lazy to care what other people think, let alone worry about how that might impact a future relationship.

Cathy J April 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm

When we live on our own, we do what we want, when we want and it is just automatic.

I find children are great… “Why do you say ‘um’ all the time?” or “why do you cough?” or “Why does your bum wiggle when you write on the whiteboard?” Out of the mouths of babes – gotta love it.

When we are in close relationship with others, we are required to gel, et out of it. Thankfully after a time of prickles if both of you have been single for a while, there is a softening of both.

When we live out of love, we are better people and attract wonderful things – could be career opportunities, new relationship, all kinds of blessings.
To love and be loved is to know the heart of God.

karen April 2, 2010 at 7:18 am

A timely post! After being divorced and alone for 4 years, I’m finally in a very good relationship with a man who seems to be a real winner. And yes, I’m realizing that I have developed some habits that I’m going to have to change.

Number one–I also hog the bed. I just LOVE sleeping in the exact middle and sprawling out like a starfish. Fortunately, my adorable BF says he doesn’t mind even though he’s at least twice my size and could legitimately claim he needs more room. *sigh* I guess I need to move over (or maybe get a king size bed?) I have given him permission to just lift me up and move me to the side if he needs to, but I’m not sure that’s enough…

My other “habit” that I indulge in–is eating whatever the heck I feel like for dinner. Especially if I went out to lunch, I tend to eat very lightly for dinner (cheese & crackers, baked potato, or a small salad). It’s a great way to balance the calories and nice if I don’t feel like cooking or having to clean up the kitchen every night! But a man always seems to need something more substantial for dinner. My BF doesn’t cook, but he does help with the cleanup, and he’s also very willing to pick up takeout often, but I still sometimes miss my “lazy evenings” munching crackers in front of the TV.

UniqueDater April 8, 2010 at 4:11 am

Hi there! Great to find your site!

I just set up my own dating blog, since after three years of soul searching and only allowing the love of close friends and family to influence my life after divorcing, I’m finally starting back into the dating scene.

It shall be interesting what I determine to be “deal breakers” or not, after immersing myself in Law of Attraction / Law of Allowing materials and then adding Cindy Lu’s Four Man Plan book on top of it – both of which say a bunch of the “deal breakers” you list above “shouldn’t” (love that word) even be considered.

Of course, going from the theory of these things not being considered to the practice of them not being considered will be an interesting journey – especially since most guys aren’t going to be schooled in the same thought pattern I am.

Great to have found your site – is there any way I can affiliate-resell your ebooks on my site too?

Mike Lowrey April 9, 2010 at 5:14 am

I once dating a woman and I couldn’t stand her apt.
Dishes were always in the sink even though I don’t think she cooked.
She worked two jobs and didn’t have lots of time.
Her living room was a mess and you couldn’t even walk into it.
She had good personal hygiene and was pretty hot so I put the rest to the side. But it is true that her apt was a turnoff and if she had better habits things may have worked out.

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