21 Top Relationship Deal Breakers That Are Tough To Tolerate

Relationships are not always a bed of roses. The one you loved and trusted may let you down and make your life miserable. However, many ignore relationship deal breakers and put up with their partner to save their relationship and avoid heartbreak.

While adjustments and compromises are essential for the smooth run of a relationship, it is not an excuse to encourage toxicity and unhealthy practices. It becomes a deal breaker when your partner prompts you to compromise on your principles and beliefs and asks you to do things that you don’t want to. Identifying and acting on these deal breakers are essential for your emotional and physical well-being.

In this post, we discuss what a deal breaker is in a relationship and the common deal breakers people encounter in relationships.

In This Article

What Is A Relationship Deal Breaker?

A relationship deal breaker could be a habit, personality trait or a point of view of your partner that cannot be overlooked, and that which tips the scales in spite of them having many other promising qualities.

All of us have our own set of core principles upon which we build our lives. We may not find a life partner who shares the same tastes and that is okay. But when they start to contradict our core principles, it becomes a deal breaker.

21 Common Relationship Deal Breakers

Below is a list of 20 factors that determine whether or not the relationship will survive the test of time.

1. Lying

One of the important pillars of a relationship is trust. If you are constantly scrutinizing your partner’s statements, are doubting them more often than not, and are spending sleepless nights replaying what they said, chances are you don’t find your partner to be trustworthy. This lack of trust could stem from them lying to you often, which is not acceptable in a relationship.

Lilia Kazakova speaks at length about her past relationship with a pathological liar. She says, “We started spending less and less quality time together… It started with him coming over only late during the nights, and leaving early in the mornings. It made me feel pretty bad – like I was being used for just some easy affection and that’s that. Later on, he also started ignoring me. He would not respond to my texts or calls for days, even if we had plans. I would literally have no clue where he was, if something bad happened to him, etc… However, I did not make a deal out of it. Why? Because he always had the perfect justification for his behavior.

“The reasons for always being late, or his excuse for not calling me back: They were peculiar, but seemed truthful. This is why it is so hard to catch a compulsive liar in their lies. The lies never seem unrealistic (i).” Lilia further recalls never questioning her partner’s lies, even though people around her, her family and friends, doubted his honesty. Eventually their relationship ended soon after she confronted him over his lies and was met with only silence.

Lying and unfaithfulness is one of the most common relationship deal breakers. If your partner is constantly giving you a reason to doubt them, you may have to think if it’s worth all the stress. But before coming to this conclusion, make sure your doubts are valid and not your imagination.

2. Abuse

Abusing is a relationship breaker

Image: IStock

Be it physical, verbal, or emotional, abuse of any kind is a definite deal breaker in a relationship. No one has to tolerate abuse or think that it is a form of love. If you feel you are being abused, then look for signs – do they have a history of abuse? Why did their previous relationship fail? Is there any history of abuse in their family? If all the answers point towards the abusive behavior in your partner, then you are dealing with a toxic person who uses anger and manipulation to get his way and could harm you physically and psychologically.

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Withholding affection is also a form of emotional abuse. The person punishes you by denying you care and attention until you toe their line (1). Such kind of abuse should also be taken seriously.

3. Anger issues

Anger is like a slow poison, which eventually kills a relationship. Short and flaring tempers that often lead to arguments and fights could indicate that they might be having anger issues. Life becomes difficult when you always have to face harsh words and insensitive comments. Uncontrollable anger eventually becomes a deal breaker when tempers result in violence or abuse.

4. Affairs

Infidelity is a sure-shot relationship deal breaker. When you are in a committed relationship, you are expected to be loyal to your partner, emotionally and physically. But if your partner has been in a physical or an emotional affair, the betrayal and dishonesty could leave you heartbroken. If you doubt that your partner is cheating on you, try to talk to them about it without being prying or accusing.

5. Addiction

Addiction in any form will lead to a disaster. If your partner has an alcohol or drug addiction, they could be using them to navigate through the troubles in life. If you think that they are addicted to a substance, but are unwilling to accept it or seek help, it could make the relationship toxic for you. You can support them if they want to deal with it, but you do not have to take responsibility for their addiction or suffer because of it.

6. Unambitious

Partner lacks interest in work

Image: IStock

Sometimes, an ambitious partner may have a tough time relating to the other who has no goals in life. Your partner needn’t be a high achiever but must be capable of taking care of their expenses and contribute financially to the relationship. If they seem to lack any interest in work and are financially dependent on you, then you might end up burning both the ends of the candle and eventually become frustrated with the relationship.

7. Materialistic views

It is normal to want a large house, expensive car, or diamond jewelry, as long as you have the zeal to work hard and make money for it. But if one partner is always looking for materialistic gains from the other, without working for it, then it could be a deal breaker. In such cases, the love that a person has for the other lasts only as long as they can get the pleasures they seek from the other.

8. Kids or no kids

 This is a serious life decision which can lead to bitterness in the relationship. If you and your partner are not on the same page about it, it could create a rift very wide. Some people might want to have kids, and some prefer not to. So before you get into a committed relationship and take life-changing decisions, be clear on this aspect.

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If your partner wants kids but is asking you to wait until they get financially stable or any other reason, do consider it. If age is on your side, you can certainly accommodate your partner’s wishes before you decide to start a family.

9. Finances

This is another sensitive area where most couples stumble. In a relationship, one partner might earn more or is more successful than the other partner. All is well when there is an understanding between them.  But if one partner exerts authority or the other expresses jealousy, then it is a deal breaker. Also, poor money management and always being in debt, or being budget-minded and miserly can become deal breakers. Also, poor money management and always being in debt, or being budget-minded can become deal breakers.

10. Personal hygiene

At the beginning of the relationship, this might not be a big deal, but as time progresses, this could be a reason to walk away from the relationship. If your partner does not make an effort to stay hygienic, and they shush you when you tell them to be, then it is time to reconsider the relationship. It may sound silly, but personal hygiene is quite important as it affects both physical and mental health.

11. Career goals

If your career goals don’t align, and neither of you can compromise, it could be the end of the relationship. So, while you are in the initial stages of the relationship, talk about each other’s career goals and where you want to be in the long run.

12. Family and friends

Usually, family and friends help you secure a relationship. But in some unfortunate instances, they could also become the deal breakers in a relationship. For example, your partner’s family could be protective of them and give you a hard time, or your partner’s friends could be causing trouble by creating a rift between you.

13. Jealousy

Jealousy could become a deal breaker

Image: IStock

While some amount of jealousy is a sign of a healthy relationship, excessive and toxic jealousy could become a deal breaker. If your partner is going green with envy whenever you talk to a person from the opposite sex, or when you accomplish something, then it is a big red flag, indicating you to take things slowly.

14. Controlling

Does your partner call the shots in your life? Do they not consider your opinion? Do they neglect your needs and do what they want to? Then you might be dealing with a controlling partner. Life could get suffocating living with such a person as they will force you to live your life their way.

15. High maintenance

Multiple trips to the salon, expensive clothes, fancy dinners and exorbitant vacations – is that all your partner thinks and wants? This could also be a sign of greed in your partner. If their lifestyle is costing you an arm and a limb, it could become a deal breaker. A superficial individual values a person based on their outward appearance and does not give importance to core values such as honesty, integrity, dedication, etc. Dealing with such a person becomes difficult when you are intellectual, which is quite the opposite.

16. Keeping the relationship in darkness

When you are serious about a relationship, you tend to introduce your partner to your family and friends. No matter how quirky your partner might be, you will never be embarrassed by them. But if your partner is keeping you a secret even after spending a significant amount of time together, then this is a sign of unreliability and it is time to think where the relationship is heading.

17. Selfishness

Selfish and demanding partner

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A relationship is a two-way street where both the partners have to give and take. But if your partner is selfish and is always demanding and rarely there for you, then there is no place for you in the relationship. When all they think about is themselves and have no respect for you or consideration for your needs, there is little chance of a future for you together. Stay away from such narcissism and move on.

18. Acceptance

None of us is perfect, and we have some good as well as bad qualities in us. And it is natural for us to expect our partner to accept the good and the bad equally. If your partner is constantly trying to change you, just to fit you in their mental image of an ideal partner, it could put you under a lot of pressure.

You may always feel judged, and by changing who you are for them, you might eventually become a stranger to yourself. For a relationship to work, both the partners have to be accepting and not overly critical. However, it doesn’t mean that you are rigid and reluctant to change even when that change will make you a better person.

19. Religion

If you are particular about religion and have firm religious values, then it is better to make sure your partner also believes in the same values. Incompatibility in such areas may cause huge problems in the future.

20. Gut feeling

Ask questions to your partner

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If you have a nagging gut feeling that this relationship will not work, then do not ignore it and take the big step. Listen to your instincts and take things slowly, observe your partner, and ask them questions until your anxieties calm down.

21. Negativity


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Negativity in a relationship can be a deal breaker as it creates an environment filled with anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, frustration, or resentment. When negative thoughts persist, they can overshadow positive aspects of the relationship and shift focus on problems that may not even exist. This pattern can weaken the bond, making the relationship feel draining, suffocating, and emotionally overwhelming. Constant tension, frequent arguments, and a lack of support or understanding plague such relationships. There will be no trust and intimacy, resulting in dissatisfaction and resentment. Negative thinking often stems from unresolved conflicts, lack of communication, trust issues, past traumas, or unrealistic expectations. If not addressed, this negativity can lead to the relationship’s end. So, communicate openly with your partner and leave no room for negativity.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are red flags in a relationship deal breakers?

There are many red flags such as jealousy, unavailability, suspicion, self-centeredness, and control, which, if not addressed early, can turn into relationship deal-breakers. However, it could also be that you are misinterpreting those signs. So, if you sense any red flags, discuss them with your partner and try rectifying them to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

2. What’s the biggest deal-breaker on a date?

Not paying attention to your date and constantly peeping into your phone when you’re with them can be considered the biggest deal-breakers on a date. That’s because no person would like to be treated with disrespect, especially by their date.

3. Is an STD a deal breaker?

Whether an STD is a deal breaker in a relationship depends on individual values and specific circumstances. While some may decide to end a relationship due to transmission risk and health issues, others may be open to working through it and finding ways to navigate the relationship. Ultimately, deciding whether an STD is a deal breaker in a relationship is personal and subjective, and it is important to have honest discussions and take medical advice to make informed decisions.

4. How do deal breakers differ between men and women?

While there can be similarities and individual variations, deal breakers can sometimes differ between men and women due to societal expectations, debatable gender-assigned roles, cultural influences, and personal preferences.

5. Can deal breakers change over time in a relationship?

Yes. As individuals and relationships evolve, their priorities, values, and needs can shift, leading to reevaluating what is acceptable or unacceptable in a partnership.

At times, some common relationship deal breakers may prove serious for some people in relationships. It is better to conveniently walk away to avoid all the excess stress during such times. Do not cross your healthy boundaries that could damage your bond. Take your time and make sure your decisions do not have severe consequences. Contemplate what is happening with you and your partner and understand if you can resolve the issues and continue with the relationship or part ways.

Infographic: Handling The Deal Breakers

If the happy moments of the relationship outweigh the discomfort caused by the deal breakers, you and your partner could try to work on them. However, if the deal breaker is physical/emotional abuse or infidelity, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. Saving and sharing this infographic with your partner can help you two tackle deal breakers in your relationship.

relationship deal breakers (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Every relationship runs on mutual love and understanding but various factors contribute to breaking it.
  • The dealbreakers could be lying, or physical, emotional and verbal abuse. But make sure you’ve a strong reason before walking out of a relationship.

Dating can be challenging, so it’s important to be aware of potential deal breakers. Check out this video to explore seven common dating deal breakers that you should keep an eye out for.

Personal Experience: Source


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  1. Emotional Abuse; Broxtowe Women’s Project
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