We all have relationship deal-breakers, even if we haven’t taken the time to clearly identify and define them. It’s important to be aware of your deal-breakers because they can help you filter out potential partners quickly and easily. Let’s look at what deal-breakers are, how to spot them in a potential match, common deal-breakers, and a worksheet you can use to define your own.
What Is a Deal-Breaker?
Deal-breakers are parts of a potential long-term partner’s behavior, attitudes, or qualities that deter you from wanting to be in a relationship with them. They are qualities that, when you see them, you cannot continue seeing the person. You have a boundary up around these things and will not tolerate them being present in a person or relationship.
Deal-breakers can be physical, like if you don’t find a person attractive. They can also be emotional, like if your partner is always negative and brings you down.
Sometimes deal-breakers are personal preferences, like if you want kids and your partner doesn’t. And sometimes they’re practical, like if your partner lives in a different state.
It’s important to know what your deal-breakers are before you get into a relationship. That way, you can avoid wasting time with someone who isn’t right for you. Of course, it’s also important to be flexible and open-minded. After all, you never know when you might meet someone who surprises you.
Deal Breaker, Dealbreaker, or Deal-breaker?
These three spellings of deal-breaker all mean the same thing. They are used differently across the board. Most English-speaking people will agree that the correct way to use the word is “deal-breaker” because that’s what the Oxford dictionary says. However, the Cambridge Dictionary says “dealbreaker”. Four our purposes, they are all correct and can be used interchangeably.
Why Knowing Your Deal-Breakers Is Important
Knowing where you draw the line is important when you’re looking for a potential mate. As relationship experts, we often advise looking for deal-breakers early in a new relationship. It saves you both time and helps you identify if you’re in it for the long haul.
If there are fundamental differences between you and the person you’re dating, the relationship probably isn’t going to last long. In fact, we found this to be a reason why many relationships don’t last longer than three months. If you’re going to be in a committed relationship, you need to be in it with someone who is compatible and doesn’t show deal-breaker warning signs or red flags.
In short, knowing these things will help you determine the kind of person that you’re looking for.
How to Identify Deal-Breakers
Some deal-breakers are easily found on a first date, while others may take some deeper questioning and time. For example, you can easily see if you don’t find a person attractive immediately. Or you can spot poor personal hygiene by their bad breath over your first coffee date. However, you will need to spend a little more time with them to find out things like if they have a bad temper or how they treat their friends and family members.
Using the worksheet below, you can make the process of identifying deal-breakers easier. Having a list to work from can keep you on track and remind you what to look for. As you get to know someone better, you’ll be able to verify that they don’t carry the traits you can’t tolerate.
Look for and encourage situations where these traits can arise. For example, if you want to see how you and your potential partner work together through problems, you can go on a date to an escape room. Or you can arrange a night to meet their friends and see what their interactions are like.
If you see them doing things that are deal-breakers, you’ll know they aren’t for you. However, if you see them falling in line with your ideals instead, they might be the right one for you.
Common Relationship Deal-Breakers
Different people want different things out of a relationship. However, there are some universal deal-breakers, or serious relationship deal-breakers, that should be part of anyone’s list. These are things like emotional abuse or any other abusive behavior and common undesirable personality traits like being controlling or having rage issues.
Here are some of the most common deal-breakers people generally have. When writing down your own, make sure that you use things that are specific to your wants and needs in life. However, many of us share some of the same ideals and most of the biggest relationship deal-breakers. So, you can use this list to help get ideas and build your list.
List of Relationship Deal-Breakers
- Physically abusive
- Mentally abusive
- Has anger issues
- Not nice to animals
- Doesn’t want/wants kids
- Not physically attractive
- No sense of humor
- Is not nice to service workers
- Has a negative outlook
- Bad hygiene
- Doesn’t have a job
- Has no car
- Lives with roommates/with parents
- Does not take care of themselves or lives an unhealthy lifestyle
- Has no career goals
- No direction in life
- Doesn’t keep a tidy living space
- Not financially responsible
- Poor communication skills
- Is too involved with social media
- Treats their family and friends badly
- Isn’t nice to your friends/family
- Has a criminal history
- Has a substance abuse problem
- Tells lies
- Isn’t a good listener
- Doesn’t take responsibility for their actions
- Different religious beliefs
- Different political beliefs
- Bad sex or has a low sex drive
- Is a know-it-all
- Judgemental of others
- Criticizes people
- Narcissistic behavior
- Mentally unstable
- Not able to control their emotions
- Lacks confidence
- Doesn’t like dogs/cats/other animals
- Fears commitment
- Doesn’t want to settle down
- Has different priorities in life
- Smokes cigarettes
- Doesn’t share any hobbies or interests
- Has kids from a previous relationship
- Watches too much TV
- Has different morals and ideals
Tips On Defining Your Deal-Breakers
To get what you want out of a relationship, it’s important to know what you do and don’t want in a partner. We have spoken before about creating a dating checklist to find the things you DO want in a partner. Now, it’s important to identify the things you cannot live with.
To be able to define your deal-breakers, you’ll need to do some deep self-reflection and outline the things that are most important to you. Then, you’ll need to identify what your supportive partner would look like. You want to make sure that they will not only support your goals but that they won’t make them impossible to reach.
For example, if one of your life goals is to have children, you would write this down as a goal. Your ideal partner would also want children, a relationship deal-breaker for you would be when someone doesn’t want kids in the future.
Things to Think About When Defining Your Deal-Breakers
Here are some things to consider when making your list of deal-breakers:
- What are your life goals?
- What does your ideal partner look like to you?
- What are your core values, morals, and beliefs?
- What are things that you don’t want in your life?
- Which traits do you consider to be a red flag?
- What does a healthy relationship look like to you?
- What deal-breakers were present in your other long-term relationships?
- Are you okay with unconventional things like a long-distance relationship?
Print out and use this worksheet to make a list of the deal-breakers you want to watch out for. Start with writing down your goals. Then write down what your ideal partner would be like. Use those items plus the knowledge of your morals and values to create your list of deal-breakers.
Relationship Deal-Breakers FAQ
What are 5 deal breakers in a relationship?
Examples of five deal breakers in a relationship include being abusive, having individual differences, poor hygiene, lack of communication, and lacking goals.
What are some good deal breakers?
Some common deal-breakers include things like poor physical attraction, sexual compatibility, goal alignment, and values.
What are green flags in a relationship?
Green flags are the opposite of red flags and relationship deal-breakers. They are qualities that show that a relationship has potential. Examples of green flags include things like good communication, mutual respect, and physical attraction.
Are red flags deal breakers?
Red flags are not necessarily deal-breakers. They are qualities that should make you pause and consider whether or not the relationship is right for you.
Is clinginess a deal-breaker?
For some people, clinginess can be a deal-breaker. For others, it might not be as big of a deal or even appreciated. It really depends on the person and their preferences. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not it is a tolerable trait.
How do you know someone isn’t right for you?
You can use a list of your deal-breakers and deal makers to determine if someone is right for you. If they have any of your deal-breakers, it might be a sign that they are not compatible with you. If they meet your standards of things you are looking for in a relationship, then they may be a good match.
We hope that this article has helped you to better understand what deal-breakers are and how to identify them. We also hope that you have found some helpful tips on how to define deal-breakers. Remember, these are the things that are most important to you and they should be non-negotiable. If someone cannot meet your standards in any of these areas, then it might be time to end the relationship and find someone compatible with you.