What’s the greatest deal breaker when it comes to seeking a partner?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the biggest turn off for both women and men was “disheveled or unclean” followed closely by “lazy” and “too needy.”

A recent series of studies cited in the WSJ opens our eyes to what is happening in the minds of men and women as they contemplate possible relationships. People give more consideration to what’s wrong in a partner than to what is right. Granting more weight to deal breakers pushes people away from focusing on the positive qualities that they are hoping to find in a person.

Here is a list of other top deal breakers: no sense of humor, lacks confidence, talks too much or too little, and watches too much t.v./videogames. Women had more nonstarters and a sense of humor was more crucial. Men found “talks too much” to be a deal breaker and they preferred not to date a woman smarter than they are.

Where Do We Draw The Line?

How do you know if you’re being overly picky or not picky enough? Many singles are faced with these questions.

Of course we need to feel attraction. Relationships cannot be built while feeling repulsed. But I wonder how many singles are zeroing in on a negative, feeling overwhelmed, and not allowing themselves to see the positive in a future partner. This nature of directing our gaze to that which bothers us often blurs our vision. A wonderful person is struck from the list because we were not able to look past the way he dresses or how she does her hair. While people can update their clothing and redo their hair style, it is much more difficult to reshape character.

What have you learned about his temper, his compassion and ability to listen when you speak?

It is necessary to think about what really matters in life. What kind of person is this? What have you learned about his temper, his patience, her compassion and ability to listen when you speak? Is he able to turn off his iPhone and make time for you? Are they kind or judgmental to the people in their lives? Can they commit and be trusted when they take on a job or responsibility?

For husbands and wives reading this article, it is important to recognize that we, too, can get stuck on negatives like ‘a few extra pounds’ or ‘balding’ as years pass. Forgetting the positive qualities that brought us to love in the first place removes the appreciation we thought we would forever hold sacred within our hearts. Instead, we gripe, even look down with disdain, at our partners. The path to taking each other for granted is now cultivated. We begin to grow apart.

What Can You Do?

Those seeking a relationship should take notice of the little things that may be preventing them from creating a lasting relationship. Too many of these ‘deal breakers’ are ridiculously easy to remedy. There is no reason to go out being disheveled and unclean. Poor hygiene, stained clothing, and looking outdated can easily be focused on and fixed. Constantly checking your phone or sitting with a computer game instead of sharing thoughts does not nourish seeds of companionship that make romance grow. Why impede yourself from discovering your life partner because of lack of attention to how you present to others?

The same goes for husbands and wives. As years pass we begin to let ourselves go. Getting dressed up only for others, being personable for company, engaging friends while ignoring our partners are signs that we have begun to disconnect. Spouses need to feel that they are priority. Take a few moments and put yourself together. Brush your hair. Smile. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Get rid of the shabby and stained clothing you wear only in the house. Get off your laptop while speaking. We give messages of love by showing that we are interested in being here and that we want to give our best to our partners.

A Bunch of Zeroes

When asked “What are you looking for?” many people would give the same basic reply: “Good looking, very successful, smart, super sense of humor, loves to travel, and athletic.” My mother, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, would give the following advice:

Character is the deal breaker.

“You have your list of six things you are looking for. Think of it as a bunch of zeroes. Now in front of those zeroes if you add a 1 you’ve got yourself 1,000,000. What’s the 1? It’s character. Kindness. Sensitivity. Good-heartedness. Without that, all you’re left with is a bunch of zeroes that equal nothing in life. After a while, a cruel person doesn’t look attractive to you, their sense of humor hurts you, their success breeds arrogance, you don’t care to travel with them because you feel miserable and so what that they’re athletic? Bottom line is good character. That’s number 1.”

Character is the deal breaker.

Let’s keep this in mind while looking for our soul mate. And if you are blessed to have found your match, be sure to take the time and revisit the goodness that brought you together in the first place. Your love is priceless.