We’ve all had that early romantic relationship where we realize something about the other person is not sitting well with us.
Has this happened to you?
You may put up with it for a while, but it keeps bothering you until you know you just can’t live with it.
You’ve encountered a relationship deal-breaker.
What are deal-breakers, you ask?
- What Are Personal Deal-Breakers?
- What Should Be Deal-Breakers in Relationships?
- The Most Common Deal-Breakers in Relationships
- 31 Deal-Breakers in a Relationship You Need to Know
- 1. Selfishness
- 2. Compartmentalization
- 3. Unavailability
- 4. Unreliability
- 5. Not Valuing Your Opinion
- 6. Anger Issues
- 7. Lack of Presentability
- 8. High-Maintenance
- 9. Indefinite Long-Distance or Casual Relationship
- 10. Lack of Physical Chemistry
- 11. Disagreement Over Children
- 12. Disagreement About Religion
- 13. Sacrificing Your Career or Life
- 14. Financial Irresponsibility
- 15. Impoliteness
- 16. Lack of Aspiration
- 17. Doesn’t Prioritize You
- 18. Negativity
- 19. Not Interested in Your Life
- 20. Serial Cheating
- 21. Humorlessness
- 22. Physical or Sexual Abuse
- 23. Financial Abuse
- 24. Verbal and Emotional Abuse
- 25. Drug Abuse or Alcoholism
- 26. Disliking Your Friends/Family/Being Yourself
- 27. Disagreement Over Politics
- 28. Neediness or Clinginess
- 29. Different Diets and Other Lifestyle Preferences
- 30. Unwillingness to Communicate or Compromise
- 31. Differences in Sex Drive
- Tips for Working Around Borderline Deal-Breakers
What Are Personal Deal-Breakers?
They are behaviors, attitudes, lifestyle choices, beliefs, or values (or lack thereof) that spell the end of a relationship.
They include traits or differences that people want to avoid in potential partners or discoveries that make you rethink whether the relationship will work for you.
Your deal-breakers may differ from someone else’s. For some people, a partner who smokes is a deal-breaker or one who doesn’t fit a specific attractiveness ideal.
However, some qualities, behaviors, and beliefs are universal dealbreakers — or at least should be.
What Should Be Deal-Breakers in Relationships?
Some deal-breakers are specific to a person’s particular tastes or needs.
Others, like those listed below, are often universally relationship-enders.
Or at least they should be.
Does your partner:
- Not take care of themselves, making you feel like you’re not worth the effort;
- Cheat or lie, making you feel like you’re not respected or valued;
- Have an addiction, forcing you to cope with the associated fallout;
- Lack of emotional or sexual intimacy, making you feel unloved;
- Disagree about essential values, leading to serious conflict;
- Have wildly different spending habits that created discord and resentment;
- Have little aspiration for the future, revealing that the relationship is going nowhere?
The Most Common Deal-Breakers in Relationships
Whether the relationship is short-term or long-term, life-threatening issues should always be deal-breakers.
- Physical Abuse: No one should endure a relationship that risks their safety and dignity—physical abuse is a blatant and stark violation of both.
- Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse, involving manipulation and belittlement, severely harms mental health and self-esteem—it has no place in a loving relationship.
- Substance Abuse: Substance abuse doesn’t just harm the individual involved but also erodes trust and stability, destabilizing the supportive environment vital for a healthy relationship.
Many common relationship deal-breakers seem like no-brainers and shouldn’t deserve compromise.
One of the most common relationship deal-breakers includes health issues like STDs. The other is a lack of hygiene, especially smelling bad.
31 Deal-Breakers in a Relationship You Need to Know
Some traits are significant lifestyle differences, while others seem trivial. All of them set the tone for the relationship.
It is up to you to decide what your relationship deal-breakers are, and it’s good to re-evaluate them from time to time.
This relationship deal-breakers list with some of the most common examples will give you an idea of what to consider:
It’s natural to be a little selfish, especially when you’re single. But in a romantic relationship, it’s important to loosen up on being Mr. (or Ms.) Scrooge and let your partner know you care about them. After all, it is give-and-take.
Being a romantic partner means your partner includes you in their life by introducing you to family, friends, and coworkers. When your partner cuts you off from the rest of their life, they’re either hiding something or don’t care about you as they should.
Your romantic partner is supposed to make time for you and spend effort in being there for you. If they have a habit of being unavailable, don’t apologize about it and make an effort to change to show you that you matter. You’re better off leaving and sparing yourself more disappointment.
It’s one thing to be available, but it’s another to be reliable. Reliability means being on time for dates and being there when needed. It’s a crucial trait in a romantic relationship, so you should run away from someone unreliable.
5. Not Valuing Your Opinion
Both partners should feel safe sharing their opinions in a healthy romantic relationship. Each partner’s views are essential both as individuals and as a couple.
A serious deal-breaker is when your partner doesn’t care what you think about anything, making you feel like your input doesn’t count and the relationship is one-sided.
6. Anger Issues
Having some amount of anger and getting angry once in a while is healthy and normal. But there’s a big difference between occasional anger and an anger problem.
People with anger issues lash out and yell, even insulting you and hitting things. As soon as you notice anger issues in a partner, it’s time to hit the road.
7. Lack of Presentability
Personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, and making an effort to look nice all come under the issue of presentability.
How does your partner’s home look? Do they smell nice and clean? Do they dress well and put time into looking attractive for you? Your answers to these questions tell you whether or not they care about you and care about your opinion of them.
A high-maintenance person isn’t necessarily the type that’s out partying all night. An overly picky partner who needs to be the center of attention, loves designer clothes and other expensive things, and must have everything “just so” is high-maintenance.
Leave them in the dust for someone who values you over material things and isn’t so demanding.
9. Indefinite Long-Distance or Casual Relationship
Many people have met romantic partners who live far away through the internet, and some romances start as casual relationships.
If you’re in a long-distance or non-committed relationship and your goal is a deep connection, don’t allow the status quo to become permanent.
10. Lack of Physical Chemistry
While sex isn’t everything in a romantic relationship, it ranks pretty high in importance. And while physical chemistry waxes and wanes, there must always be something there. After all, you can’t start a fire when you can’t make a spark.
11. Disagreement Over Children
Many relationships include one partner that wants children and the other who is either uncertain or doesn’t want any.
While it is common for one partner to consent to the other’s choice, the decision about children isn’t one to negotiate. While some couples may get along well enough otherwise, a disagreement over children is a recipe for long-term unfulfillment and resentment.
12. Disagreement About Religion
Religion is important to many people and serves as a strong foundation for their lives. A romantic relationship where one partner doesn’t value the other’s faith or even uses religion to control the other will quash hope for mutual respect and a successful relationship.
A non-religious person doesn’t necessarily lack family values. But having enough in common concerning religion can strengthen a relationship.
13. Sacrificing Your Career or Life
There’s always some compromise in a healthy romantic relationship where each partner makes certain sacrifices for the other.
You should never have to sacrifice your professional goals for a relationship, though – unless you want to. The same is true if your partner expects you to uproot your life and move to be with them.
14. Financial Irresponsibility
Different spending habits and savings are quite common. It is the financially irresponsible who let money flow like water through their hands that cannot save for the future — or your relationship.
Look for someone who will invest in the future with you.
Many people make it a point to be impolite as an affectation or personality trait.
If your partner is rude, it doesn’t matter if they’re only rude to other people — your relationship will suffer as they create embarrassing situations in public. And someone rude only to you deliberately wants to make you feel bad.
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16. Lack of Aspiration
Persistent joblessness, no professional goals, and a lack of dreams for the future are all signs that your partner is wrong for you.
When they don’t have goals and dreams in their personal lives, they won’t have goals and dreams with you. You can’t change someone like that, especially if they have been that way for years.
17. Doesn’t Prioritize You
Prioritizing a romantic partner is how you make them feel desired and loved. Someone who is a workaholic, who spends too much time on social media, or too much with other people, does not put you first.
While your partner must take care of their own needs, they should make an effort to show you they care about you regularly.
Is your partner constantly complaining and viewing life through a negative lens? A pessimistic attitude and outlook in a romantic partner will affect you and make you feel negative.
This type of person is toxic, so you’re better off looking for someone who’s positive and makes you feel better about life and as a person, not worse.
19. Not Interested in Your Life
When you matter to your romantic partner, they want to know all about you. Since you’re supposed to be creating a life together, your life should be interesting to them.
A sincere partner is curious about you personally as an individual rather than someone to use or act as an extension of themselves.
20. Serial Cheating
Someone who has cheated in the past or cheated on you has a serious problem with loyalty. Faithfulness is a major determining factor for success in a relationship, so run away if your partner has cheating behavior and won’t stop for good.
Both partners in a romantic relationship spend a lot of time laughing and smiling, especially initially.
Laughter helps us appreciate the good times and get through the bad. If your partner doesn’t have a sense of humor and can’t laugh at themselves sometimes, the relationship will become as dry as toast.
22. Physical or Sexual Abuse
Any abuse from a partner that involves contact with your body is a severe offense and deserves jail time. Physical abuse involves bodily injury at the hands of your partner.
Sexual abuse takes it a step further when your partner assaults you through unwanted sexual activity, including rape.
23. Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is when someone takes control of your money and manages your spending. Monitoring how you spend your money, giving you an allowance, and demanding that you give them part or all of your money or property count as financial abuse.
Manipulating you to sign a contract to give them money or property is also a form of financial abuse.
24. Verbal and Emotional Abuse
Verbal and emotional abuse go hand-in-hand. They can be more insidious than physical abuse because others can’t see the wounds.
Some verbal abuse takes the form of insults and criticism, while emotional abuse involves manipulation, belittling, gaslighting, and subtle threats.
25. Drug Abuse or Alcoholism
Some people enjoy drinking or using recreational drugs casually. Others prefer not to be with anyone who drinks or smokes. When a romantic partner is an alcoholic or addicted to drugs, it is a serious problem.
It is often a secret that the other partner finds out about later on or realizes is a bigger problem than their partner made it out to be. It affects the relationship and can even involve financial abuse to fund their habit.
26. Disliking Your Friends/Family/Being Yourself
When you’re in a romantic relationship, there is a mutual interest in each other and your family, friends, and coworkers.
But when you’re with the wrong person, they express subtle or overt dislike and distrust of your loved ones. They don’t make you feel comfortable being yourself around them, which stifles you. Don’t waste your time with someone like that.
27. Disagreement Over Politics
Politics is a giant hot button in public discussions, and relationships are no different. While you don’t have to be the same political party necessarily, you should see eye-to-eye enough on what you perceive as the most critical issues.
28. Neediness or Clinginess
It’s great to feel desired, loved, and needed. But when your romantic partner is overly clingy or needy, they drain your energy, and it seems you cannot make them happy. You need to have your own interests outside of the relationship without guilt.
29. Different Diets and Other Lifestyle Preferences
If your lifestyles are too different, you’re going to clash. That includes food (one of you is vegan and the other a carnivore) and other preferences, such as how you style your home or whether you want pets.
For example, it is a common problem when one partner with a pet enters a relationship with someone who gives them an ultimatum to choose between them or the pet.
30. Unwillingness to Communicate or Compromise
Someone with communication issues is too stubborn to compromise or try new things for themselves or the relationship. They either choose to argue or decide to clam up and avoid talking.
Observe your partner from the get-go and honestly ask yourself whether or not they’re good at communicating and compromising with you. And remember, even if someone is an introvert, it doesn’t mean they have to be bad at communicating when they need to.
31. Differences in Sex Drive
It’s rare for two people to have the same libido and the same sexual preferences. But it doesn’t have to mean that you’re doomed unless you perfectly match up.
On the other hand, if there isn’t much chemistry or you’re so different that you’re unsatisfied and frustrated, it might be time to move on.
Tips for Working Around Borderline Deal-Breakers
You may read through the list above and think, “Yeah, I don’t like that, but I think it’s something we can work on.”
Don’t assume you can change another person who isn’t willing to change. But you can negotiate and compromise as a team to find solutions that work for both of you. We have some ideas.
- Have a conversation. Ask your person if they are willing to hear about your concerns, knowing it might be hurtful or uncomfortable for them. Present what’s bothering you as kindly and gently as possible.
- Ask for what you need but be realistic. For example, if you’re a vegan and your partner eats meat, don’t ask them to become vegan overnight. But you can request they learn more about veganism or ask them not to cook meat in your kitchen.
- Agree to disagree. Maybe you have differing political views, but otherwise, the relationship is great. See if you can agree to avoid political conversations or agree to listen to one another’s perspective with curiosity and respect rather than defensiveness.
- Request couples therapy. If you feel the relationship has potential, but one or more of these deal-breakers are holding you back, give couples therapy a try before throwing in the towel. An impartial professional can give both of you perspective and help you navigate your way to a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship. A therapist also can help you determine if a deal-breaker is truly a relationship ender.
The above relationship deal-breakers list gives you a good idea of seriously negative traits and potential problems you might encounter in a romantic partner.
Now that you know, you can avoid unnecessary disappointment and heartbreak — or take proactive steps to improve the situation.