In October 2015, five researchers set off to discover the most common dating dealbreakers. (You know—the traits, habits, or flaws that’ll make you say a non-negotiable “no thanks” to a potential mate, or “I’m done” to a current one.) They asked college students, millennials, boomers, and, well, anyone they could, ages 18 to 68.
What did they find? Across the board, people disliked those with bad hygiene. They took issue with laziness, and those who were needy. They didn’t want to do long distance, they didn’t want people were bad in bed. And if you didn’t have a sense of humor—fuggedaboutit. Standard stuff.
But they also highlighted a breakout study of 295 college students. They asked them to indicate their top dealbreakers from a list of 49 options. Most of their choices were similar to those of the general population. In 10th place, however, something else snuck onto the list: “Is bigoted/racist.” In June, just a few months prior, Donald Trump had announced he was running for president. At the time, no one thought he’d win.
But of course, he did. Fast forward five years, and many of those co-eds are now twenty-something singles looking for their soulmates, and it seems that 10th place finisher is rising rapidly in the ranks.
Ask Lindsey Metselaar. Founder of the popular dating podcast and social media account, We Met At Acme, she’s known for her signature Instagram story polls, where you vote “yes” or “no”, “red flag” or “dealbreaker,” on a topical dating quandary. (Today’s example: Person you started talking to in quarantine doesn’t wear a mask—red flag or deal breaker?) Oftentimes, her followers will submit questions they want her audience to vote on. One that keeps popping up? “People have asked me more and more—when is it too soon to ask someone if they are a Trump supporter?” Metselaar says. And before you chalk that up to a niche sample size: According to an April 2020 Pew Research poll, 71 percent of Democratic daters wouldn’t consider being in a relationship with a Trump voter. That dropped to 47 percent for Republicans considering Hillary Clinton voters.
This extends beyond voting records, to many of today’s hot button issues. “People just can’t date someone with opposing views,” says Metselaar. For example: “If I was dating someone that had a platform on social media, or someone that posted stories regularly, and then all of a sudden they weren’t saying anything amid Black Lives Matter? That would be a dealbreaker.”