Deal-Breakers Need To Be Realistic Before Imposing Them On A New Partner. Here's Why

Dating involves a lot more than getting dolled up for a date and impressing a complete stranger with your charm — of which you, obviously, have so much. Being out there in the dating world also means having rules, boundaries, and deal-breakers as a means to not just protect yourself from the dregs of the earth, but as a nod to your integrity. No self-respecting person would date someone who wears cargo shorts on a first date — or would they?

But as much as these criteria are essential, if you go into a first date with a laundry list of needs and wants that, deep down, you know that no one can live up to, then you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

"Going overboard with deal-breakers can actually make it much harder to find love that lasts," social psychologist at The Kinsey Institute Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D. tells Self. "People who take what psychologists call the 'shopping list' approach to love struggle a lot more because they're trying to find someone who checks a million boxes."

Having deal-breakers is great. In fact, everyone should have deal-breakers and stick to them. However, it's paramount that they're realistic. Here's why.

Because unfair expectations never got anyone anywhere

Having expectations for others and ourselves is a good thing. We want people to respect and love us, and expecting that is necessary to weed out the good from the bad out there. But as much as expectations are, in some ways, necessary, having unfair expectations – as in unrealistic expectations — is either going to backfire or never get you anywhere in your dating journey.

Unfair expectations ask for too much of people. Expecting your partner to read your mind, know what you're thinking, always put you first, or support you when you're clearly in the wrong isn't right. It's taking what you've decided they should be to fit your needs and wants at all times, then forcing it on them. When we demand people to pretty much bow down (read: cower) to us, we're stripping them of their dignity and autonomy. If someone cares for you and loves you, they will do their best to be there for you whenever you need them. But expecting them to turn water into wine at the drop of a hat all for your convenience and comfort is wrong. If your deal-breaker is someone whom you expect miracles from, then you better adjust what you want from potential partners or resign to a future of being single for the rest of your days.

Because perfection simply doesn't exist

There is absolutely, positively a 100% chance that you will live your whole life and never meet a perfect human being. You just won't. The reason for this is simple and something we all know, even if we chose to ignore it: perfection doesn't exist. Dogs, cherry trees in full bloom, pizza, songs that make us cry — that's where you'll find perfection. You won't find it in a person. Having unrealistic deal-breakers is essentially looking for something you'll never find. 

True perfection is actually imperfection. It's the person who maybe isn't your ideal height, who doesn't make a few million a year, who perhaps doesn't dress like they were plucked from a J.Crew catalog, and — wait for it — doesn't look like Pedro Pascal. That's where you'll find "perfection." But you'll only find that person when you open up your mind and heart to possibilities and amend your deal-breakers. If your name was Belle and you lived in a little village in France, then unrealistic expectations and deal-breakers would be fine. But even if you were, your fantastical list would probably keep you from falling in love with the Beast — and he's a prince IRL. Talk about blowing your chance at being the next Meghan Markle.