Before deciding to define the relationship and make a deeper commitment to each other, you have to decide someone is truly right for you. We all have automatic deal-breakers that we're cognizant of (and probably some we don't even realize until we encounter them). While your list of "must-haves" or "can't-haves" may differ from your best friend's, there are some universal relationship deal-breakers many of us have in common.
What Is a Relationship Deal-Breaker?
A relationship deal-breaker is something that automatically disqualifies someone as a dating prospect.
Read on to learn about 18 top relationship deal-breakers in order to determine if your relationship is meant to last forever...or meant to end ASAP.
Your Partner Doesn’t Want the Same Things That You Do
In a long-lasting, happy, and healthy relationship, it’s important that you and your partner are on the same page about the future of your connection. For example, if you want to move to the countryside but they thrive in the big city, then this could be an automatic relationship deal-breaker. "If those unequal appetites are crucial to either partner, there is bound to be strife as the couples struggle to keep them in balance. Over time, resentments and disappointments can mount if they dismiss their importance," says Randi Gunter, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor.
You shouldn’t have to compromise the hopes and dreams that you have for your life, and if having something is a non-negotiable for you, then it’s time to let your partner go.
Your Partner Abuses You
Any sort of abuse is an automatic relationship deal-breaker. Whether this abuse is physical, verbal, or emotional, you should never tolerate any type of abusive treatment and behavior in a relationship. If your partner has hurt you in any capacity, whether this person was violent with you or used their words to intimidate, hurt, or belittle you, this should be the immediate end of your relationship. A partner should be your best friend and biggest advocate, not someone you fear.
You're Always Fighting With Each Other
Conflict is a natural part of a relationship, and you and your partner are bound to have some disagreements and arguments from time to time. However, if you and your partner have a contentious connection in which the two of you are always screaming and fighting with each other, this could be a relationship deal-breaker. You're not always going to agree with your partner, but you should be able to communicate with each other and resolve any disputes in a healthy and productive way. When you can problem-solve as a couple and make it through these types of hurdles, your bond will be stronger as a result. However, if each day is filled with anger and you find yourself fed up with your partner most of the time, it's time to exit the relationship.
You Don’t Trust Your Partner
If you want a relationship to last, you and your partner have to trust each other wholeheartedly. "When interpersonal trust is missing or insufficient, its absence all but guarantees a difficult, painful, frustrating, and ultimately unsatisfying future for both partners," say relationship experts and therapists Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W. If you live in constant fear that your partner is going to cheat on you, the lingering uncertainty and doubt will eventually hurt your connection and prevent you from ever being truly happy and confident in your relationship. When you can't take your partner at their word and find yourself trying to determine if your partner is being honest or not, this relationship is probably not for you.
You're Not Your Authentic Self
Do you find yourself playing a role when you're around your partner? Do you speak up and say what's really on your mind, or do you only tell your partner what you think they want to hear? If you're faking interests, holding back your thoughts, and censoring yourself in your relationship, it's time to find a relationship where you're not preventing yourself from being the person you really are. Your partner should know and love the real you and not the version of yourself that you think they want.
You're Not Appreciated
In order for a relationship to succeed in the long run, both people have to feel as though they're important to one another. However, if your partner takes you for granted, isn't grateful or appreciative of all that you do, and doesn't make a real effort to prioritize you in their life, consider it a relationship deal-breaker. You deserve to be with someone who truly cares about you and your well-being and appreciates all that you have to offer.
Your Partner Has a History of Cheating
Trust is critical for a successful relationship. If your significant other is cheating on you, this indicates that your partner clearly has other interests that don't involve you. If this is already happening a few months into your relationship, it's probably not going to get any better the longer you two are together. You deserve someone devoted and focused on you—avoid the drama and move on now.
Your Partner Has a Different Stance on Children
This one may take some time to figure out. When you initially start a budding relationship, talk of marriage and children likely won't overwhelm your early romance. But as the two of you grow closer, it's inevitable to start thinking about big-picture, long-term goals, including having children. At first, one or both of you may have cold feet about having kids. Sometimes, this changes as you both share your opinions about marriage and starting a family. But other times, one partner has no interest in kids, while the other is all-in on having a big family. It can especially be heartbreaking if you feel as though you've found your soul mate. You might consider talking with a couples counselor about any underlying issues that are causing these feelings. Unfortunately, your partner's stance on having kids may force you to end the relationship.
Your Partner Won't Introduce You to Their Friends and Family
While this may not necessarily be a red flag at first, as your relationship progresses, your partner should extend the invitation to meet their inner circle. Perhaps they're just shy and reserved, or maybe they've been through multiple serious relationships and are feeling a bit apprehensive about showing the next person they meet to their friends and family. If you feel as though your partner is hiding you from those closest to them, then a heart-to-heart conversation will be in order. In some cases, your partner may have long-standing disagreements with family, or parents who have divorced, which may make things complicated. But otherwise, if your partner is just keeping you away for no reason, it may be time to move on to someone who is ready to incorporate you into all aspects of their life.
Your Partner Makes You Feel Unvalued
It's human nature to want to be valued and appreciated, especially when it comes to healthy relationships. If your partner doesn't make you feel special, then why should you shower them with love? It can be common for relationships to evolve into routines, perhaps with less spontaneity than when you first met. However, you should never feel unvalued as a partner. If they never take the time to plan a spontaneous date night or show you that they appreciate you, then it may be time to reevaluate your relationship. Whether your feelings have changed for each other or your partner's going through a rough patch, it's best to sit down and express your needs moving forward.
You Don't Connect Physically
There are many components to a successful relationship, including an initial physical attraction. Whether swiping right on a dating app or meeting someone at a bar, an initial attraction is often based on looks alone. For a well-rounded relationship, a strong emotional and intellectual bond should be accompanied by a physical connection. If it feels like the spark is gone, then it could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the two of you simply aren't spending enough time together or maybe the attraction just isn't there anymore. While counseling can be helpful, your gut instinct is a great indicator too.
You and Your Partner Don’t Agree Religiously
We each have our own set of religious beliefs that guide our lives. Many are deeply devoted to their religion, so having a partner with completely different religious beliefs can be a significant obstacle in a relationship. Talk to your partner honestly and candidly about your beliefs. There are many successful relationships where two people with completely different religions can coexist and thrive as a couple. However, religion can be a line in the sand when one partner is unwilling to change their religious views or adjust to your beliefs. The acrimony involved may lead you to part ways.
You Don't Agree Ideologically
This one is all too common with many people in our lives. Your politics and their politics are on opposite sides of the spectrum, with neither side willing to budge. Unfortunately, we live in highly polarizing times where compromise and working together just don't happen very often. Much like religion, the mere mention of politics can lead to much strife in relationships if your ideological beliefs can't coexist.
Your Partner Requires You to Sacrifice Life Goals
This deal-breaker could take on many different forms. Maybe your career path puts you in one city while your partner's transplants you somewhere else. Or maybe your partner wants to start having kids right now, which means a pause, or a drastic change in your career aspirations. This will leave you with an important ultimatum—you can either go your separate ways or lose sight of your passions. If your partner is unwilling to compromise and show compassion now, then this may be a sign of their future unwillingness to compromise.
Your Partner Has Anger Problems
We can all be moody or difficult at times, but anger problems take things to the next level. This could be flying off the handle over the smallest issue or yelling at you in public or while in the company of others. This type of behavior can be rooted in many different causes—angry or abusive parents, a failure to deal with adversity, and the inability to handle disputes, just to name a few. Addressing this with your partner, and possibly meeting with a counselor, are potential next steps to address the problem. However, if your partner is unwilling to address their faults, this could definitely be a relationship deal-breaker.
Your Partner Doesn't Support You or Take Interest in You
We all dream of a partner that is our biggest cheerleader, someone who's always there to support and encourage you every step of the way. If your partner doesn't support you or take an interest in the things you're involved with, this is definitely a deal-breaker. It's even worse if you support your partner's passions, but they don't return the gesture. If they can't be bothered to acknowledge and motivate you to be the best version of yourself, then don't waste another second in this relationship.
Your Partner Is Unambitious
If you're an ambitious, go-getter type of person, then being with someone who's unambitious will drive you crazy. While opposites can certainly attract, leading two different lifestyles can be disastrous. If you're always busy making plans, then naturally, you'll probably want your partner to join in at some point. However, if all your significant other wants to do is stay home and not participate, then there's bound to be some friction. Down the road, their unambitious state could even start to rub off on you. If your encouragement to be more ambitious doesn't stick, then there's no reason to stay with someone who's only going to hold you back.
Your Partner Doesn’t Take Care of Themselves
It can be very difficult to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't seem to care about their health and well-being. As any friend or family member would do, it's up to us to encourage those around us to make better decisions to take care of themselves. Ultimately, it's up to each individual to make better decisions to improve their life or mental health. If your partner is unwilling (or unable) to take that step, this puts you in a difficult situation. While it may feel bad, or even wrong, to leave someone who is hurting themselves, staying in the relationship will likely hurt you emotionally. As a friend, you can continue to try to help them, but beyond that, it may be best to walk away.