We think it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to dating, most people have a list of dealbreakers that they’re totally unwilling to compromise on. While some are pretty obvious (like, oh, say, cheating), others are more minute; maybe we don’t want to deal with a partner who’s messy, or one that isn’t taller than us when we’re wearing our fave heels.

Yet, as we age and learn more about ourselves and what we want from life, our dealbreakers tend to change in some pretty major ways, especially with regard to online dating (which, BTdubs, is in peak season).

Woman using laptop at night

As researchers at Queensland University of Tech discovered with a new study in Personality and Individual Differences, there’s one thing in particular that becomes far less of a pre-req when it comes to virtual dating, and it’s not related to looks, age or even similar interests: It’s education.

After studying 41,936 members of the Australian dating site RSVP between 18 and 80 over four months, researchers found that as online daters got older, they were more likely to overlook whether or not someone had a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree to match their own.

Stephen Whyte, one of the study’s authors explained, “Older women in particular have a greater likelihood of contacting potential partners who are less educated than themselves. Younger males fall into this category as well,” he said.

So what gives? Are older daters getting desperate? Not necessarily: As Refinery 29 pointed out, this more experienced group may simply be more open-minded.

Woman looking for love online

Of course, it may also simply be due to the nature of online dating in and of itself, which exposes people to a whole new range of people they might never have otherwise encountered.

“Cyber dating permits multiple partner choices in real time, which allows for a significantly greater available choice of potential mates,” Stephen said. “This increased pool means greater opportunity for selection of partners with lower, similar or even higher levels of certain characteristics,” such as education.

Huh! Very interesting indeed, no?

Is education level something you’re willing to compromise on when it comes to love? Let us know over @BritandCo.

(h/t Refinery29, photos via Tim Robberts + Peter Dazeley/Getty)