05/05/2014 07:49 am ET Updated Jul 05, 2014

What Are Your Dating Deal Breakers After Age 50?

What exactly is a dating deal breaker? These are the qualities a date either has or comes with that you can't tolerate in your life. Or conversely, they are qualities a person must have in order to date you, such as the same religion or culture.

Men and women both have deal breakers when it comes to dating. The difference between the sexes is that men honor their deal breakers. You'll see this when a man is in a relationship with a woman for years and years, and yet he won't marry her. In his mind, she has a deal breaker that isn't suitable for marriage.

Women, conversely, have a tendency not to honor our deal breakers when it comes to men. We think with a little work and a lot of love, we can change him and all will be well in our world. This just isn't true. Men don't change unless they want to change.

I've had clients say to me, "But I love him so much." If this is the case, and he has one of her deal breakers, she isn't honoring herself and she will be settling.

So many women choose to settle... They're afraid no one out there is as good as this man -- a man who has one of their deal breakers going on in his life. This is an illusion.

All it does is take you to a place of scarcity when it comes to men. And with our age group leading the pack with the highest divorce rate of any generation these days, there is actually an abundance of people out there for you to date.

Now, let's take a moment and talk about some common deal breakers worth your consideration.

  • Pets -- If you have a beloved pet in your life, then you'll want to date someone who will treasure your puppy or kitten as much as you do.
  • Children -- With adult children or minors, where will you fit in the family equation? And if they are minor children, are you willing to deal with the teenage years again, especially if your kids are now adults?
  • Smokers -- I once had a boyfriend who'd take himself outside in all kinds of weather for a smoke. He'd stand outside my garage door and puff away, then he'd come in and wash his face before getting near me. That was love to him. For me, it became a major deal breaker for future relationships. Regardless of what he did, he still smelled like smoke and I can't seem to tolerate that smell.
  • Religion -- Do you need a man in your life who can share your religious beliefs, going to church or temple with you on a regular basis?
  • Alcohol use -- Are members of Alcohol Anonymous okay for you to date? Or do you want someone you can share a glass of wine with at the end of the day?
  • Differences in sexual behavior -- Whether it's a full-blown Fifty Shades of Grey relationship you desire, or sex once a year on your birthday.
  • Money issues and differences -- Do you want him to pay for everything? Or can he be financially responsible for just his share?
Take some time to clear your head and really think about the specifics of your deal breakers and what each one really means to you. I guarantee whatever deal breakers you skip over now... will become major conflicts in your relationship at a later date. It's better to know what your deal breakers are and whether a date has them before you get too far into a new relationship. While you're thinking about it, why don't you take a few moments and write your own deal breaker list. As you get to know someone, refer back to this list to see if he or she has the qualities it takes to be with you. Remember, if a healthy long-term relationship is what you really desire in your life, then you'll want to choose a person who doesn't have the deal breakers you've put on your list. I would love to read your deal breakers in the comments.

Lisa Copeland is the Dating Coach who makes over 50's dating fun and easy. Learn more about mature dating at

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