Modern dating is just like the job market: competitive, complicated, and cutthroat. And for both, we set parameters to thin the playing field while searching for the best match.
Where romance is involved, we'll use qualifiers like a person's past relationships, political leanings, or shallower traits like height or body type to weed out the dating duds. But we also totally judge people on their careers. And quite often, the jobs we keep are making -- or breaking -- a person's attraction. Here are careers that will ruin relationships, according to people who lived to tell the tale.
“I’d heard about accountants being cheap, but I never believed it. We’d go out with a group for the evening and the bill was always short and I’d end up putting in more than my share to cover the mysterious missing $20. He lived in a basement apartment with a roommate, despite making good money, and hinted about gas money constantly. He forgot his wallet at least twice, and I paid. It was always time to go home when his round came up at the bar. Instead of shelling out the cash and buying me a card for Valentine’s Day, he cut out letters from magazines (which he found in someone else’s recycling) to create something akin to a ransom note from some sort of serial killer.” -Ana, 25, administrator
“Everything is all about either getting the acting job, and once they get the job, the character they’re playing. It was a series of constant let-downs and me having to stroke her ego back to life. When she would play love scenes with other actors, I was never able to understand how she could separate from her real feelings. I was always really paranoid about that.” -Will, 33, carpenter
“He lied about everything. When I found out, he insisted he was practicing his craft and that I was overreacting.” -Marianne, 26, grad student
Animal control officer
“I love animals, but dating someone who works in animal care is overwhelming. My ex regularly came home smelling of skunk, and with wounds from being bitten by rabid animals. She was constantly bringing home sick animals to nurse back to health -- which was sweet, I guess, but how many cats should you really have in your apartment at one time?” –Nick, 36, human resources
“It’s ALL about the game, no matter what... having to either train for the game, or how the game affects his life. My problems were secondary to him and the sport. On top of it all, if he was playing poorly, his world would start to crumble because that was his livelihood and I had to be there to pick up the pieces. It was exhausting. The worst was when he would get minor physical injuries: I had to be there to mend it physically, and try to uplift him emotionally and mentally. Basically, if you are not the sport, you don’t exist.” -Kate, 30, law school student
“My fault for dating the bartender at my nearest, local bar. There were a lot of naps and burning the candle on both ends. On weekends I'd end up closing the bar down just to hang out, then she'd be all wired up after a long shift, and we'd end up hanging out until 4am just drinking... I can count the number of traditional dates we had on one hand.” -James, 32, director
“Being a 9-to-5 professional and dating a bartender is completely incompatible. On a typical weekday I’d work and then at around 8 I’d head to the bar and hang out with my girlfriend who was working. I’d go home around 11 and sleep, but wake up each night at 3am when she got home.” -Scott, 36, business analyst
"As a guy, particularly in early dating, it's expected for me to pick up the tab most of the time -- which is fine. However, in my experiences dating people who are career students, you end up paying a lot of the bills with little to no reciprocation. Because they are often not working, or only have part-time jobs and are in debt, you end up paying for absolutely everything. Sometimes it feels like you're getting used for a free concert ticket, drink, or meal instead of as an equal partnership... It takes a lot of the fun and romance out of it." -Jason, 28, office manager
“I can’t respect anyone who goes to school for a specific career and never really gives it a fair go. It’s one thing to choose a career, try it out, and change your mind; it’s another when they don’t even really try and then make no actual career decisions after their first failure to launch. Lack of career direction -- and a need to return back to school again and again -- seems to spill into other important areas, including lack of personal goals and inability to make important life decisions.” -Tara, 38, paralegal
“Working in TV and dating a stand-up comedian was like having twins: you've got two people needing your attention and praise 24/7. It’s exhausting!” -Kelly, 38, writer and producer
“I am definitely a one-and-done for magicians. My initial experience definitely demonstrated how self-centered and arrogant a person could be and maybe that says something about someone who is alone in the spotlight often. There's a reason magicians have assistants and not partners, for sure. At least he was honest (brutally), open and willing to communicate (about himself). He was an excellent magician though -- he made me disappear pretty quickly!” -Amy, 34, private investigator
“She used to collect dead animals to de-flesh and enhance for sale. Actually, her finished pieces are eerily beautiful -- and yes, there really is a market for this work. Time spent digging trenches in the yard and carrying home partially decomposed animals (ranging in size from as big as a deer to as small as a turtle) is a hard smell to physically stomach, and remove from your car, hair, and clothes. Nothing is more disturbing than figuring out that pot on the stove is actually raccoon pieces.” -Tim, 30, teacher
Vague subcontractor/entrepreneur = drug dealer
“If they really aren’t able to describe what their job is, they’re likely hiding something... warning signs include not being allowed to travel outside of the country for a reason that is somewhat illogical, pockets filled with random prescription analgesics and either a very large sum of money or literally no money at all. In the short amount of time it takes to recognize you are dating a career criminal, their deranged ex-lover will have already broken some of your property.” –Betty, 33, receptionist
“My drug dealer ex-boyfriend called me one morning at 8:30am and said he’d be over at 10, so I got up, got dressed and waited. When he showed up that night, just after 10pm, he reminded me that he never specified am or pm. Clearly, punctuality and my time were not important to him.” -Laura, 42, transcriptionist.
But really, just don't be unemployed
“Chronic unemployment is a dealbreaker. My ex was unemployed most of the time we were together. I’d also add anyone who has never had a real job without using a family connection or influence getting them there as undateable. They need to have paid their dues in some way to appreciate what they have, they need to earn it!” -Heather, 33, teaching assistant
*Some names have been changed
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