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Deal Breakers in a Relationship


Reading time:

7 min


Published on:

Tue Dec 05 2023


Last updated:

Wed Apr 24 2024


Written by:

The Personal Development School

Everyone has deal breakers in a relationship.

When thinking about your future (or current) partner, you have a list of things you hope they have. It could be anything from their goals and life outlook to their beliefs and finances.

We understand that the person might not have everything on your list (who does? We aren’t perfect), but you hope that the general things you wish or align on are there for a successful relationship.

Then, there are, of course, our “deal breakers” that end the relationship then and there.

What are deal breakers? How do they impact our relationships? How do you detect them?

Let’s dive right into the definition of deal breakers.

What are Deal Breakers in a Relationship?

Relationship deal breakers (or dating deal breakers) are "non-negotiable" beliefs, behaviors, or approaches that automatically end a relationship (or stop them from being a dating prospect in the first place).

Basically, deal breakers are actions that we will not tolerate in a relationship.

There are "two types" of deal breakers: your unique personal deal breakers (which are specific to you and what you want personally) and red flag deal breakers (which concern characteristics like physical abuse or cheating).

However, most people can’t detect or don’t notice if they have a deal breaker or are just being fussy. Knowing how to detect your biggest deal-breakers can help you find potential partners for long-term relationships.

Now, while our deal breakers may differ, there are some common deal breakers in relationships that everyone – including The Personal Development School – agrees on.

Just read our relationship deal breakers list below:


The 8 Deal Breakers in Relationships

Incompatible Personalities, Lifestyles, and Sexual Desires.

Personalities in a relationship need to align to some degree. Sure, opposites can attract, but you must respect, value, and accept the person as who they are, not who you want them to be. If you can’t be compatible with your partner’s personality, it might be a deal breaker.

The same applies to lifestyles.

If two partners have very different lifestyles; one is an active outdoors person, the other a gamer, this can cause relationship problems. You can’t be compatible if you do different things all the time.

Another example is someone who is financially irresponsible versus someone careful about their money. Eventually, they must agree on a middle ground or let the relationship fester.

The same, again, applies to sex.

Sexual chemistry is a big part of a relationship, and it can definitely be a deal breaker if you have different desires or needs that aren't being met.

It's one of the reasons why emotional affairs and cheating are committed. There is a lack of passion in the relationship because the partners aren't on the same page.

Opposing Goals & Priorities.

If one person has a personal goal to become an industry leader in their field, while the other is happy to be content with their 9 to 5 job, it might cause strife in the relationship.

The same applies to someone who wants to spend time with the family versus someone who is focused on their profession.

That’s because couples need to have similar goals and priorities in place.

Relationships are about teamwork, and it can be challenging to work as a team if your goals are different. In many cases, situations like these are considered deal breakers.

That’s why it’s essential to establish early on in the dating phase whether the person has a similar goal to yours. If not, then it’s a dating deal breaker.

The saving grace is personal growth. If a person is willing to accept that some problematic or negative behaviors need to change, and they're working towards that, it can be considered a positive. There's a commitment there to improve for the benefit of themselves and their partner.

Beliefs in Marriage & Kids.

While this can be part of the above category, marriage and kids are different. Most people want marriage or kids, or both. It's one of the biggest life goals for people.

However, you can’t be with someone who doesn’t want any of those. It can cause issues within the relationship, impact goals and priorities, and cause resentment.

You don't want a partner who doesn't want to have kids. The child might not get the attention and love it deserves, causing it to develop an insecure attachment style.

If one person wants these things and the other doesn’t, it’s a relationship and dating deal breaker.

Financial Difficulties.

Financial decisions can have a great impact on a relationship. If someone is financially Irresponsible, it can be a deal breaker in a relationship. If one partner is constantly in debt, spends recklessly, doesn’t want to use or help the other partner, or is lying about their finances, it can lead to some major problems with trust in the relationship.

No couple can build a future together, whether that’s house or holidays, if they don’t work together financially. It’s important to set clear financial goals and standards.

relationship deal breakers

High Maintenance & Selfishness.

A selfish partner that is always thinking about themselves, and very high maintenance is not good for any relationship. The reason is because it puts the focus on one partner instead of working together in a relationship. The selfish and high maintenance partner will prioritize their needs over yours and show little regard for your feelings; leaving you to alone by yourself.

Relationships are a two-way street where both partners have to take and give. It’s unbalanced to have one partner be the centre over the other.

Lack of Trust.

Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. If one partner doesn’t completely trust the other, this will become a severe problem.

A lack of trust can stem from:

  • Not following through on promises
  • Secrecy and lack of transparency
  • Constantly changing their story
  • Outright lies and deception
  • Infidelity

Of course, trust issues can relate to attachment styles.

So, it should be considered that you'll overcome your trust issues if you heal your attachment style.

However, if this doesn’t progress or change, it could be a deal breaker for most people.

Having an Overpowering Addiction.

Addictions are deeply rooted in a person’s journey through their life experiences, relationships, traumas, and attachment styles. Addictions then become a haven for people looking to manage their lives or overcome the pain they’re suffering.

Addictions can be many things: drugs, food, the opposite sex, alcohol.

For some people, though, this isn’t a relationship deal breaker. It all depends on if the person is seeking to get better, change their habits, or have them under control.

However, if it becomes a recurring problem, leading to destructive or abusive behaviour, it can become a deal breaker.

Abuse of Any Kind.

Physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse should never be tolerated in any relationship.

A key sign is if they have a controlling behavior. It usually indicates that they want to control the situation of your relationship, including you. Keep an eye on this trait within the first several dates, as it can show you the person in real life.

If any partner – man or woman – enforces these measures on people, then you should walk away immediately. If you can’t do it, please contact a family member, friend, or professional for help.

How to Detect Relationship Deal Breakers

There are a few ways to detect a relationship deal breaker:

It impacts essential parts of the relationship – We’re talking about key area of a relationship, such as affection, finances, work, or time together. If the partner’s behaviors and beliefs overrule these areas to the point that it’s not happening (like time together, affection, or sex) or if they're overstepping your personal boundaries, then it might be time to consider if they meet your needs.

It impacts the ability to have a future together – If you can’t envision a future with this person where you’re enjoying the same things (you don’t have to do everything together, but it would be nice) or don’t have the same goals, this could be a problem. A classic example would be if you want a house and they don’t. Pushing a potential mate to do it can cause resentment, and you don’t want a mortgage with someone who isn’t interested in it.

It impacts your core values – We all have core values and beliefs in how we approach life. When someone has different values to yours, it might cause a rift in the relationship. And while you can compromise on it, it must be both ways. If not, it could end the relationship, hence becoming a deal breaker.

How to Overcome Or Heal Deal Breakers

No relationship can work without self-reflection, compromise, and communication. The same logic applies to relationship deal breakers for women and men.

You need self-reflection to determine your deal breakers, such as what you require in a relationship and what you will not tolerate. Assess your deal breakers before taking any other steps.

Compromise is essential to ensure that partners can align with one another’s needs and goals and become more “on the same page”. You must work with your partner to understand the core wounds behind actions and beliefs. Only then can you know what is going on between you two on a deeper level.

Compromise can only happen with communication. You must be clear and concise about your goals and desires, set boundaries, and make sure your partner knows this. The more precise you are at communication, the better your chance of overcoming deal breakers and working together to build a loving, strong relationship.

If you need more assistance, you can search and sign up for our Conscious Dating: Thrive in Your Love Life program.

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