How Age May Change This Common Online Dating Habit

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When it comes to online dating, everyone has a list of qualities that they're looking for in a potential partner's profile. Whether it's a specific age range, a certain look, or a shared love of a particular hobby, we all have things we desire and things we avoid in a significant other. But those dealbreakers may not be as definitive as you think. According to a new study, there's one factor that people become more willing to compromise on as they get older: education.

Researchers at Queensland University of Tech recently examined the interactions of over 41,000 participants in Australia between the ages of 18 and 80 during a four-month period in 2016. They discovered that while people generally tend to date those with similar educational levels, the importance of matching degrees changes with age. As daters got older, the study found that they were more likely to overlook whether or not someone had a certain amount of schooling.

According to the report, published in Personality and Individual Difference, older women in particular were willing to reach out to people who were less educated than themselves. Conversely, younger males with comparatively lower education levels became more interested in contacting dates with higher education levels.

That doesn't necessarily signify that we lower our standards as we get older. More likely, it's that age brings more perspective and tolerance, making us more open to dating people who have different experiences than we do. Plus, this obviously isn't the case for everyone — some people will always consider a certain level of education to be crucial in a partner. Still, it's interesting to see how we become less rigid about certain "dealbreakers," as we grow older and (hopefully) wiser.