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Swimming with sharks: Why it’s smart to limit your dating pool

Are you single and ready to mingle? It’s tempting to leave your dating options wide open. After all, we all have that friend of a friend who met the love of her life while waiting for takeout. While staying open to all love opportunities is a great perspective toward dating, looking pretty much everywhere for a match has some potential problems. Though it seems counterintuitive, limiting your dating pool can actually lead to a higher degree of success in the dating world.

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No deal

We all have specific traits that are important to us when searching for a potential mate. But besides our preferences, maybe “brown hair” or “guitar player,” we all have more serious deal breakers in relationships. It’s important that we recognize and identify what they are before jumping into the dating pool.

For many, things like marriage, children, religious affiliation and money are points not to be compromised. When or if they’re compromised in a relationship, it leads to a lot of conflict. Minimize conflict by narrowing your dating pool and searching for a mate based on your values, automatically avoiding your deal breakers. As an example, imagine you intend to raise your future children in the Jewish or Christian faith. You should make this clear from the beginning, and perhaps use a Jewish or Christian dating service to find a partner with similar intentions.

Hey, I just met you…

As humans, it’s in our nature to have preferences and opinions that drive our choices. The earlier we realize what our deal breakers are, the better able we are to build relationships that are made to last. So, don’t consider it limiting to limit your dating pool: Think of it as defining your preferences.

This is where there’s some really good news: When you do define your preferences (rather than limit your options), you are now set to meet people who share your core values. You’re more likely to meet people with whom you’re really compatible. Greater compatibility equals less rejection and more meaningful relationships. Your relationships, no matter the ultimate outcome, will be more positive.

When you and your potential mate’s deal breakers are the same, it allows you to approach things as a couple from a similar perspective, something vital to avoiding conflict. For example, say both you and your partner entered into your relationship with the goal of someday being married. When the subject of marriage comes up in your relationship, whether to get married or not is no longer a question: It’s a matter of where and when, the fun part!

Make a list and check it twice

It can be difficult to decide how, exactly, you should limit your dating choices. The first step is starting with you. Sit down, have a long talk with yourself (even out loud if you have to), and determine what your deal breakers are.

Which points are negotiable? Which are most definitely not? A big factor could be something like your career goals: If you’re not willing to budge on the path you’ve set for yourself, realize you’ll need to look for a partner truly supportive of your ambitions. Ask yourself questions involving your opinions on marriage and children, religion, financial plans and career ambitions. Give yourself honest answers.

Don’t be another divorce statistic. Let your goals and values drive your selection process. You, your potential suitors and your relationships will be better off in the long run!

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