Unwashed, disinterested, clingy: there are quirks that nip any romance in the bud. A team led by Zsófia Csajbók from Charles University in Prague has now compiled a ranking of such “deal breakers”. As the group describes in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, women and men largely agree on when they would rather not be in a relationship — whether it’s just for adventure or finding love.
The ranking is based on information from almost 300 US students, who were on average 22 years old, 95 percent heterosexual and half in a stable partnership. In a questionnaire, they were asked to rate their reaction to around 50 possible deal breakers: Given this information, would they lose interest in her as a potential partner?
According to this, there are six types of behavior that have a deterrent effect on both sexes. The number one deal breaker when looking for a long-term partner was a lack of interest and attention. Almost as bad: an unkempt appearance. Parentheses followed in third place. Addiction, passivity and frequently changing sexual contacts were not well received. Men and women agreed on the order of priority.
When it came to relationships with a short-term perspective, the students also judged similarly. They found the most unattractive, in that order, to be unkempt, clingy, and indifferent. This was followed by lack of motivation and sexual promiscuity, but in reverse order for men. However, on average, women rated the deal breakers even more negatively than men. In addition, unkemptness and lack of motivation in women became more and more negative as they got older.
Other studies have already shown that older people are less willing to compromise in the face of such quirks. The same goes for people who think they are attractive as a partner. In contrast, promiscuous people hold lower standards, especially for short-term relationships.
According to the researchers, deal breakers serve to avoid mistakes when choosing a partner, because there is a risk of disadvantages if the wrong choice is made. That explains the higher standards of women: Pregnancy is usually more expensive for them.
However, it is unclear how valid the self-assessments of the respondents are: perhaps they behave differently in real life. In addition, only students from the USA were interviewed here. Other studies had identified additional exclusion criteria, such as hostility, vulgarity, stinginess, and narcissism. Such traits aren’t always apparent on first contact, as most people try to look their best first. But the list can help to consciously pay attention to the first alarm signals.
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The original to this article “Six quirks that quickly make interest disappear” comes from Spektrum.de.