I think we can all agree that there is a pretty definitive divide among 20somethings today.
On one side, we have the people who make every holiday, from Martin Luther King Day to Christmas, a pure, living hell for everyone who isn’t them by commandeering our Facebook feeds with endless engagement photos.
These people have somehow managed to score a ring, buy a house, be pregnant with triplets, save enough to retire by next year and then buy another house by age 26.
Meanwhile, on the other side, we have those of us who fell asleep before the XL Dominos pizza we drunkenly ordered arrived to our apartment (…again) and are unsure what it feels like to have more than $300 at any given time.
These days those are the only two options. There’s just no in between.
Those of you who fall in the second group have probably learned that modern dating is nothing but a minefield inherently designed for your failure. People ghost, cheat, harbor unsettling sexual fetishes — no doubt it’s a tough world out there.
In an attempt to make things just a little bit easier for you all, I took to the streets (and also Reddit) to find out what men consider the biggest deal breakers in an early relationship. I asked, “You’ve been on a few good dates, what’s going to cause you to say ‘peace’?”
Keep in mind, I’m not saying I agree with any of these deal breakers or promising you a SO. I’m simply paraphrasing the most common responses, while peppering in some helpful tips for pretending to do these things when you totally don’t believe in acting that way. Those parts are half jokes.
God knows you’ll run into countless other obstacles along the way, but at least this gives you something to help last the obligatory three-month period when you can finally stop pretending those are your natural eyebrows and you aren’t a total psycho.
1. Lack of an adventurous attitude
This was definitely the most common response I got from the dudes. This doesn’t mean you have to go skydiving on your second date (would be dope tho), but it’s just a reminder to stay open-minded.
Whether it’s the food, the date activity, his world views — give them a chance and try not to pass judgement too quickly. And if you can’t help it because what he’s saying is stupid or gross or weird, practice feigning interest and asking generic follow-up questions to trick him into thinking you’re open-minded and accepting.
As Redditor SilentOneBravo put it: “We don’t need to share every single issue, but they need to at least be open minded enough to give things a try… if they refuse, it’s a huge red flag about whatever else they might be inflexible on later down the line.”
2. Too self-centered
So you’re probably thinking, “I’m gorgeous, I have an awesome job, I’m fun to be around — why tf am I single?” Well, reminding him of all of that every few minutes is not the way to fix that.
Several men noted that women have a tendency to feel the date is totally about them. They want to make sure the man knows all of their winning qualities, but forget take interest in listening to what he has to say.
Dates should be about getting to know each other, so if you’ve been talking so long that he’s done eating and your salad is untouched, it may be time to turn the focus to him. Plus, you need to listen up and find the totally irrelevant and inconsequential thing you’ll use to justify blowing him off in a few weeks!
3. Holding back (yes, this is mostly sex related)
“Don’t text back for at least 2 hours so he thinks you’re busy!” “Don’t have sex on the first date!” Granted there are some little nuggets of value hidden in these “dating rules,” but they become completely useless when it’s obvious that you’re using them.
Men consider the lack of chemistry a deal breaker — and this includes sexually. Does this mean you need to make constant use of your “I swear I never do this!” line while carefully grooming your undercarriage for yet another sexual encounter with a stranger? Of course not (unless you want to, do you boo…slutty stages build character), but don’t hold yourself back if you’re feelin’ each other. It may make him think you’re just not attracted to him, which is a deal breaker for any (normal) person.
And if you do feel you should wait it out before he gets the goods, don’t make it so obvious with an abrupt and awkward departure. He’ll be able to see right through your “I’m a cool girl, I don’t even want a relationship” ploy and know you’re trying to trap him by making him wait a predetermined amount of time for it. It seems calculated and disingenuous. Either don’t get in that situation or let it progress naturally.
4. Unrealistic expectations
We are all 20somethings. Most of us live in a city that requires thousands of dollars and our first born child to secure an apartment — we all strugglin’. Of course you want a generous man who wants to treat you to everything, but be realistic. You can’t expect him to bank roll extravagant dates over and over, and an offer to pay goes a long way (like, don’t actually do it. Just offer). Be down to earth and focus on getting to know each other rather than harping on the fact that he didn’t order the $250 bottle of wine.
5. Being rude to other people (strangers, waitstaff, etc.)
This is really more of a general human rule, but put simply — don’t be a di*k. If you’re mean to servers who are genuinely trying their best, then you need to get a life. Your treatment of other people throughout your date speaks volumes about your character and he will notice, even if you’re just an absolute doll towards him. So just be a pleasant individual. Also, you never know who’s, like, secretly a prince trying to “fit in” or be “treated like a normal person” or something.
6. Unwilling to meet his friends
Showing interest in his life says a lot about your level of investment in him. I’m not saying try to immediately invade his space and meet his mom (see deal breaker below), but if he invites you to meet his friends, be open to it! It’s him showing you that he takes you seriously enough to enter into his world (and show you off to his friends, can you blame him?). If you’re unwilling or uninterested in his life, it will give him the idea that you’re not as invested in the relationship as he is.
7. Too clingy
You had to know this was coming. Honestly try your very best to not be clingy and weird. Just let things move at a natural pace and don’t make any sudden movements. (In other words, hide your crazy from him until he has invested enough time and effort in you that it’s just easier to just deal with it than find someone new.)
8. Not being comfortable being quiet together
This point is another crucial moment that decides whether the relationship moves forward or not apparently. Once you’ve been on a few dates and things are going well, you need to learn to reach that level of comfort where you can be quiet together. Don’t feel the need to fill every silent moment because you feel awkward, just be.
Y’all best believe there’s a part two to this coming your way soon. Stay tuned.