I think itís definitely good to have dealbreakers for yourself, in your head, but I think putting them out there as an opening gambit might run the risk of backfiring on you though. You seem like someone that has figured out what they want and have a pretty good idea of who they are and who wants someone who is in the same place, totally understandable! The problem is that the kind of people you are trying to avoid may not have the self-awareness understand your deal breakers and realise they apply to them, so you may still end up having to reject them anyway. I think bottom line is there is no avoiding the risk of being rejected or having to reject and I think dating is about taking that mutual risk. Iím not sure how much a list dealbreakers up front straight away, communicates a desire to take a mutual risk. To my mind maybe doing it the other way round, ie saying what you do want in positive terms, might do that better.
Iím a long married lady now but what appealed to me on a profile, back in the day, was a picture of happy open looking person (you are right that picture is important but not for the obvious reason!) and an obvious absence of things like gripes, moans or demands. I met my wife on a dating site but after a long absence from them after having got thoroughly pissed off with them. What worked this time was that I precisely stopped trying to minimise risk by pouring over profiles or selecting only those whose interests definitely matched up and engaging in lots of conversation before risking meeting. Egged on by a friend who seemed better at the dating lark than I was, I now had a policy of chatting back at least once to anyone who chatted to me and going on a date if asked, as long as, a) they were local, b) as far as I could tell sane, and c) they werenít in a relationship with a man who ďdidnít mindĒ. Those were my sole criteria, totally terrifying for someone like me who struggles with not being in control.
I was asked out by a very sporty sounding woman who, according to our profile info, seemed to have very little in common with me and after, I think, two messages we went on a date (which neither of us were sure was a date). It was then that we discovered how much we had in common in terms of our values and how we wanted to live and weíve been together for nearly 7 years. Iím not sure it would have helped if weíd have managed to put those things in our profiles somewhere (even if we had found a way to express them, itís not simple!) meeting would still always have been a risk. I think these deep core values are best expressed by talking to the person, being with them and seeing how they behave.
I think it comes down to being like the kind of person you want to attract. I canít guarantee that if you take a risk and be brave and youíll get the same back and no timewasters but itís the most effective way I can think of maximising the chances. Good luck!!!!!