No matter how much you’re into someone there are just some things that can make or break the relationship. They don’t even necessarily have to be bad things. Sometimes you just want different things out of life than someone else and it can make it hard to be with them romantically. That’s why it’s so important to know what your relationship deal breakers are before they become a problem.

What is a Deal Breaker in a Relationship?

Generally speaking we all have relationship deal breakers, even if we don’t exactly know that’s what they are.

A deal breaker when it comes to relationships is basically something that would immediately kill a relationship for you. It is something that no amount of talking or compromising will make you stay with someone if they cross the line. Even if it’s someone you’ve been with for years and years.

Deal breakers are a little different for everyone. What is a deal breaker for you may not be so bad to someone else, it’s all about personal preference, boundaries, and the kind of life you want to live. That being said, some deal breakers are quite common and will generally end a relationship immediately even if you haven’t explicitly said they were deal breakers for you.

The Most Common Deal Breakers

There are a ton of deal breakers out there and like I said above, your personal deal breakers may not be someone else’s and vice versa. That being said, there are also a lot of things people claim are deal breakers but often put up with anyway.

Deal breakers related to someone’s personality for example, can be hard to identify right away. By the time you realize you wouldn’t normally want to date that person, you’ve already developed feelings for them and you rationalize why you should just stay with them anyway. These deal breakers may include selfishness, anger issues, or even certain political views you don’t agree with.

If those really are deal breakers for you that’s fine! It’s good to know ahead of time so you can ask potential partners before getting into a committed relationship. No need to spend time connecting intimately with someone only to find out that you have irreconcilable differences.

You are of course also allowed to decide moment to moment what your relationship deal breakers are. It’s not like you have to lock them in now or anything. It is, however, a good idea to figure them out sooner rather than later. Knowing your deal breakers now before they become a problem is going to save you a lot of heartache in the end.


The biggest deal breaker that comes to mind for most people is probably cheating. A lot of people will immediately break up with someone if they get cheated on, no ifs ands or buts.

Even without being cheated on, I think everyone knows it is one of the ultimate betrayals of trust. Relationships without trust aren’t going to go very far. Even if you still love the other person with all your heart. Which is why many people would rather break up and try to start the healing process than prolong the suffering while they try to put their trust back in the other person.

Even when couples do try to move on after someone cheated, many end up breaking up anyway. One study found that only 20% of married couples stay together long term after an affair.


Another commonly thought of relationship deal breaker is whether a couple is on the same page when it comes to having children. If one person does want kids and the other doesn’t, there really isn’t a way to compromise. Granted it is possible to find a way to make the relationship work sometimes.

People who don’t want children may be open to adopting or otherwise having a child that isn’t biologically theirs. They also might not though. Don’t count on going into a relationship with someone thinking you can change their mind or find a loophole. You’ll just be setting yourself up for conflict later down the line.

Life Goals

While not often explicitly said, another common relationship deal breaker is incompatible life goals or plans. Which is a very broad way of saying that some people want entirely different lifestyles than others.

A lot of people want the American dream. White picket fence, two kids, a dog, and a yard. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what everyone wants. Some people dream of traveling the world while others would rather get a cushy apartment in a big city while they follow their passions.

When you’re in a long-term relationship, you’re going to want to build a life together with the person you love. Which is pretty hard if one of you wants to have a three bedroom house with a yard in the suburbs while the other wants to hit the road and go wherever the wind takes them.

There’s nothing wrong with having incompatible life goals, it just means that the relationship probably won’t work out in the end. Trying to force it will usually mean someone has to give up what they want because it just doesn’t fit with what the other person wants. Which is a surefire way to make someone miserable.

Relationship Roles

A big deal breaker for relationships is the role each person wants to play in their romantic relationships. If someone wants to be a more traditional stay at home spouse that’s great… Just not if they’re dating someone who doesn’t want to be the sole breadwinner.

Maybe you want to take charge in your relationships and be the one making decisions most of the time. If your partner also feels that way you may end up disagreeing a lot and butting heads. Or you may end up steamrolling over what they want and completely disregarding their feelings.

At the End of the Day

No matter what your relationship deal breakers are or aren’t, open communication about your expectations is always going to be key. It truly isn’t worth ignoring your feelings to force something to work. It’s unhealthy and you’ll just end up making yourself miserable.

You deserve to have someone by your side that you want to be with wholeheartedly. Not someone you have to force yourself to be with, or someone you have to compromise your values for. We even have a whole blog about how relationships are partnerships and why it’s important to be on the same page which you can check out here.

What are your biggest relationship deal breakers?

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