Human beings are complex individuals, so, inevitably, the relationships between us are going to be equally complicated.
But there are some things that can spell the end of any relationship.
It’s easy to get swept away by love and romance and lose sight of what really matters.
That’s why it’s important to decide what your ultimate relationship deal breakers would be before things get serious.
This will save you any unnecessary heartache if you later realize that the person you thought was so wonderful isn’t quite so perfect after all.
But, if you’re reading this article, you probably aren’t planning ahead for a future relationship.
Maybe you are dating someone new or perhaps you are already in pretty deep.
Are you wondering if something that has happened or is happening in your relationship should be a deal breaker?
While we’re not here to make your decisions for you, it can often help to get an outside perspective on what’s going on in your life.
It can allow you to make an educated, reasoned decision.
If you find yourself nodding your head multiple times when reading the list below, it’s probably time to move on…
… however reluctant you might be to accept that.
If, on the other hand, none of the below rings true, you can be pretty sure that the problems you’ve been facing aren’t symptoms of fatal incompatibility, but just the natural ups and downs we all experience in our relationships.
1. They’re selfish.
If their priority is their own pleasure and happiness in all areas of life, that’s a huge warning sign.
When we love someone, we value them and see their needs as being just as important as our own.
If there’s no give and take, then there’s no respect, and if there’s no respect, then there’s no foundation for your relationship.
2. They won’t introduce you to their friends or family.
No man or woman is an island, and our families and friends are a huge part of our lives. If we love someone, we should want our other loved ones to know about it.
You shouldn’t expect an invite to Sunday lunch with their parents straight after your first date, and you should try to be understanding if they’ve got a complicated family dynamic.
However, as the relationship develops, opportunities to meet important people in each other’s lives should start to come up naturally.
If they’re determined to keep you in a separate box to everyone else in their life, you should be wary of their motivations for doing so.
3. They aren’t there when you need them.
If you’ve been going through a tough time or simply need their help, and you’ve found that they haven’t been there for you, it’s unlikely that they’ll be there for you when you need them in future.
You need someone you can rely upon and it’s okay to expect help and comfort from a partner.
4. They don’t value your opinion.
If they dismiss your comments out of hand and it’s clear they don’t have any respect for your point of view, then they don’t view you as their equal.
Arguments should be resolved through compromise, so if you find yourself being steamrollered into giving in, it might be time to break free.
5. They have anger issues.
If your partner has anger issues and isn’t prepared to work on them, and if you ever feel scared of them or of the way they might react to something, major alarm bells should be going off in your head.
True love doesn’t require you to accept fear or intimidation as normal in any way.
6. They don’t take care of themselves.
No one should demand that their partner constantly plasters on layers of makeup or spends every available hour in the gym to maintain the ‘perfect’ body…
…but there are basic levels of cleanliness and presentation that it’s reasonable to expect from them.
If your partner neglects their personal hygiene and never makes any effort with their appearance, they’re showing a lack of self-respect and a lack of respect for you.
7. They’re too high maintenance.
On the other hand, if they do nothing but worry about their tan and the state of their body hair, it’s a sign that they’re shallow. There’s more to life than fake nails and perfect hair.
8. They’re okay with a prolonged long distance relationship.
Sometimes, circumstances beyond our control can bring an end to a relationship.
Sure, some people are totally fine with indefinite long distance relationships and find it works well for them.
But most people don’t plan on remaining in a long distance arrangement forever.
Those couples who are committed to each other tend to have a plan for when they’ll be able to reunite and build a life together.
If your long distance partner refuses to discuss ways you could be together or keeps finding excuses to put it off, it’s time to think seriously about whether the relationship has a future.
9. You don’t connect on a physical level.
Whichever way you look at it, sex is an important part of most relationships. It binds us together in a way that few other things can.
Now, you shouldn’t necessarily expect every sexual encounter with your partner to be earth-shattering…
…but if the sex is consistently disappointing, the spark just isn’t there, or they don’t put the effort in to make sure you’re enjoying yourself, even in the early days, then you have to consider whether it’s a deal breaker for you.
While your dreams for the future can change, if you’re pretty certain you don’t want kids then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone who’s certain they do want kids.
Both of you trying to change each other’s minds, or one person giving in and just going along with what the other wants is a recipe for disaster.
Strong opposing views on something as fundamental as bringing human beings into the world are never going to complement one another.
11. You don’t feel the same way about religion.
Not all couples with different religious views are doomed, but if one or both partners have strong religious views that don’t marry with those of the other, that could cause a lot of friction down the line, especially when it comes to marriage or having children.
12. You find yourself sacrificing your professional goals.
If you find that they treat waiting staff badly, never introduce you to people, don’t say please and thank you, and don’t generally act like a functioning member of the human race, then that’s a sign they don’t value the people around them.
You shouldn’t ever have to worry about introducing your other half to someone, convinced they’ll embarrass you.
You should be proud to stand side by side with your partner, knowing that they’ll do their best never to let you down and will show common decency to all the people they cross paths with.
15. They don’t have a job.
We all fall on hard times now and again, so your partner currently being unemployed but actively looking or working on a project, with a game plan laid out, isn’t necessarily something to worry about.
But if it seems that they can’t hold down a job or struggle to find someone to employ them, you might want to ask whether this is a deal breaker for you.
If you’re serious about someone, you need to know that he or she will always be able to support his or herself financially.
On the other hand, whilst being excited about what you do to earn a living is a wonderful thing, there is a definite line.
Whilst someone with a shining professional future ahead of them can be very appealing, if they’re incapable of leaving their job at the office and constantly check their work phone whilst you’re on a date, you should question what your place is on their priority list.
If we aren’t able to look on the bright side or see the silver lining, or whatever your cliché of choice is, then life is going to look very gray.
18. They don’t take an interest in your life.
Their world revolves around them. They’re happy to talk your ear off about what’s going on in their life, but they don’t ask you questions about yourself.
You’re the one keeping your conversations going, constantly asking about their day or wanting to get to know them better, and they don’t return the favor.
This is a sign that their priority is in fact themselves, and that, hard as it may be to accept, they just don’t find you or your life all that interesting.
19. They cheat, or have cheated.
Every couple sets their own boundaries. It’s important for you to discuss what would constitute cheating in your relationship, and what counts as acceptable behavior for you might be betrayal for others.
But if someone crosses the line you’ve agreed upon, it can be hard for you to rebuild trust and be sure it will never happen again.
If you find out that someone has betrayed trust in a previous relationship, that might also be grounds for you to doubt whether they wouldn’t do the same to you.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.