39 Relationship Deal Breakers: How To Identify The Red Flags


39 Relationship Deal Breakers: How To Identify The Red Flags

Learn to recognize relationship deal breakers & red flags to create healthy boundaries, a happier love life, and avoid wasting your time on emotional vampires.
Relationship deal breakers and how to spot red flags.

Most issues in a relationship should be thought of as teachable moments, where balanced compromise can be reached and lessons will be learned.

Everyone has their own standards when it comes to relationships. But sometimes relationship issues, behavior patterns, and bad signs are simply nonnegotiable.

These are also known as our “Deal Breakers” and “Red Flags.”

Understanding your partner and your relationship and knowing how to identify deal breakers are crucial steps for maintaining healthy boundaries and ensuring your own happiness. It’s also important to recognize red flags in potential partners before you get too emotionally invested or ignore any signs of trouble on the horizon.

Relationship Deal Breakers: Key Takeaways
Common relationship deal breakers include abuse, selfishness, clinginess, substance abuse, anger issues, negativity, poor communication, and an unwillingness to compromise.
Recognizing and acknowledging red flags is the first step towards a healthier relationship.
Don’t ignore the signs. Take steps to deal with a toxic relationship, including communicating your concerns to your partner, seeking professional help, setting boundaries, and considering ending the relationship.
You deserve a healthy and fulfilling relationship. If someone in your life is causing you more harm than good, do not settle, and know that it’s okay to walk away. Your happiness and well-being always come first. Reflect on your experience, rebuild your self-esteem, take time to learn to trust again, seek support from loved ones, and prioritize your needs.

Disclaimer: The advice contained in this article may not apply if you’re currently in an abusive relationship. Your safety is crucial. Reach out to someone you trust or local support services for assistance, and call emergency services if you are in any danger. You are not alone. Help is available.

If you feel you are in danger please contact your local authorities. You can get help online through The National Domestic Violence Hotline or via their local resources here.

What Are Relationship Deal Breakers? 39 Signs You Are In A Toxic Relationship

Common relationship deal breakers include physical and emotional abuse, selfishness, clinginess, substance abuse, anger issues, negativity, poor communication, and an unwillingness to compromise. These behaviors can lead to an unhealthy and unhappy relationship.

For example, a partner with anger issues might explode over minor disagreements, causing distress and discomfort. Similarly, a partner who is overly clingy might limit your social interactions and personal space, leading to feelings of suffocation and resentment. Some people aren’t open to dating someone who’s gone through divorce or just freshly out of a long term relationship.

Deal breakers can vary greatly from person to person, depending on individual values, experiences, and expectations. However, there are some common types that many people agree are unacceptable behaviors in a relationship.

1. Abuse

Abuse, whether it’s physical or emotional, is a major deal breaker. No one should tolerate any form of abuse in a relationship. It’s important to recognize the signs of abuse, such as controlling behavior, threats, physical harm, verbal abuse like constant negging, or constant belittlement and take immediate action. Other signs of emotional abuse include name calling, frequent outbursts of anger, isolation from family and friends, and manipulation using lies or threats. If you notice such behaviors, acknowledge them early before the situation escalates and take immediate action.

2. Selfishness

A selfish partner is always demanding and rarely there for you. They prioritize their needs over yours and show little regard for your feelings or well-being. This type of behavior can lead to a one-sided relationship, where one person is always giving, and the other is always taking.

3. Clinginess

Clinginess and neediness, or in extreme cases, codependence, can be serious deal breakers in relationships. When one partner becomes excessively reliant on the other, it can severely limit personal freedom and impede growth. Such unhealthy dynamics, where a partner’s social life and personal space are stifled, can breed resentment and stagnation. Over time, this over-dependence can entangle the emotional well-being of both partners in a constraining web. For many, a relationship that lacks balance between independence and mutual support is unsustainable and a reason to reconsider the future of the partnership.

4. Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is another common deal breaker. It can lead to a host of problems, including financial issues, health problems, and legal troubles. Moreover, it can cause your partner to mistreat you, be untrustworthy, and make poor decisions that will hurt you.

5. Anger Issues

Anger issues can be damaging in a relationship. If your partner frequently loses their temper, especially over minor issues, it can create a hostile and uncomfortable environment. It’s important to address these issues early on and seek professional help if necessary.

6. Negativity

A partner who is constantly negative can drain your energy and bring down your mood. If your partner always sees the glass as half empty and rarely expresses gratitude or positivity, it might be a sign that they have a negative outlook on life, which can be a deal breaker for some people.

7. Poor Communication

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, arguments, and feelings of dissatisfaction in a relationship. If your partner is unable or unwilling to communicate effectively, it can be a major obstacle to a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

8. Dishonesty

Dishonesty is a significant deal breaker in relationships. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and when a partner is consistently dishonest, it erodes that trust. This can range from lying about small things to hiding significant issues or actions.

9. Lack of Respect

Respect is crucial in a relationship. A partner who consistently disrespects you, either through their words or actions, shows a lack of regard for your feelings and well-being. This can manifest in various ways, such as belittling your achievements, making derogatory remarks, or not valuing your time and efforts.

10. Unreliability

Reliability is a key aspect of a healthy relationship. If your partner is often unreliable, whether it’s about fulfilling promises or being there when you need them, it can lead to feelings of insecurity and doubt about the relationship’s stability.

11. Lack of Support

A supportive partner is someone who stands by you in times of need and celebrates your successes. If your partner is unsupportive, it can make you feel alone and undervalued in the relationship. This lack of support can be a deal breaker for many people.

12. Incompatibility

Incompatibility, especially when it comes to core family values, can be a significant deal breaker in a relationship. This can manifest in disagreements about life goals such as marriage, starting a family, or choosing a living location. More specifically, conflicts can arise around whether or not to have children, the number of children to have, religious values, parenting styles, involvement of extended family in childrearing, and decisions about education and financial support for family members. If you and your partner are constantly at odds over these issues and struggle to find common ground, it may be a sign of incompatibility.

13. Infidelity

Infidelity is a major breach of trust and a common deal breaker. It can cause significant emotional distress and damage the trust in a relationship. If a partner has cheated or continues to cheat, it can be difficult to rebuild trust and maintain a healthy relationship.

14. Lack of Personal Growth

A relationship should encourage personal growth and development. If your partner is stagnant, and hasn’t gotten over an ex, or is stuck in their career, and shows no interest in improving themselves or their situation, it justifiably leads to frustration and dissatisfaction. This lack of personal growth can be a deal breaker for some people.

15. Controlling Behavior

A partner who exhibits controlling behavior can be a major deal breaker. This can range from dictating your choices, isolating you from friends and family, or manipulating situations to their advantage. Such behavior can lead to an unhealthy power dynamic in the relationship and should not be tolerated.

16. Disregard for Boundaries

Respecting boundaries is essential in a relationship. If your partner consistently disregards your boundaries, whether they’re emotional, physical, or otherwise, it shows a lack of respect and understanding. This can lead to feelings of discomfort and resentment.

17. Lack of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. A partner who lacks empathy can make you feel misunderstood and alone. They may dismiss your feelings or fail to provide comfort in times of distress, which can be a significant deal breaker.

18. Financial Irresponsibility

Financial irresponsibility can be a deal breaker in a relationship. If your partner is constantly in debt, spends recklessly, or is unwilling to contribute to shared expenses, it can lead to stress and conflict. Financial compatibility is crucial for a healthy relationship.

19. Inconsistency

Inconsistency in a partner’s words and actions can be a deal breaker. If your partner says one thing and does another, it can create confusion and distrust. Consistency is key in a relationship as it provides a sense of stability and predictability.

20. Lack of Commitment

A lack of commitment can be a deal breaker in a relationship. If your partner is unwilling to commit to the relationship, whether it’s defining the relationship or planning for the future, it can cause insecurity and uncertainty. You may begin to wonder if you are in a rebound relationship or if they view you as a backup plan if this continues. A committed relationship requires both partners to be invested and willing to work towards a shared future.

21. Jealousy

While a little bit of jealousy is normal in relationships, excessive jealousy can be a major deal breaker. A partner who is overly jealous may try to control your interactions with others, accuse you of infidelity without reason, or constantly demand reassurance. This can create a toxic environment and lead to constant conflict.

22. Lack of Effort

Relationships require effort from both parties. If your partner consistently shows a lack of effort in maintaining the relationship, whether it’s in communication, planning dates, or resolving conflicts, it can lead to feelings of being unappreciated and neglected.

23. Disrespect for Family and Friends

How your partner treats your loved ones can be a significant indicator of their respect for you. If they consistently disrespect or belittle your family and friends, it can be a major deal breaker. This shows a lack of regard for the people who are important to you.

24. Different Life Goals

Having aligned life goals is crucial for a long-term relationship. If your partner has drastically different life goals that cannot be compromised or aligned, it can be a major deal breaker. This can include differences in wanting children, career aspirations, or lifestyle choices.

25. Unresolved Past Traumas

While it’s not a partner’s responsibility to resolve their significant other’s past traumas, if such issues are causing a strain on the relationship and the individual refuses to seek help, this can be a deal breaker. Unresolved issues and past traumas, like a recent divorce or carrying baggage from a previous relationship can lead to destructive behaviors, emotional unavailability, and other relationship issues.

26. Dismissive Attitude

A partner who dismisses your feelings or concerns can be a major deal breaker. Having a partner who dismisses you can make you feel invalidated and unimportant. It’s crucial in a relationship that both partners feel heard and valued.

27. Lack of Trust

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. If your partner has broken your trust repeatedly or shows behavior that makes it difficult for you to trust them, it can be a deal breaker. Without trust, it’s challenging to build a secure and loving relationship.

28. Unhealthy Conflict Resolution

Disagreements are normal in any relationship, but how they’re handled makes all the difference. If your partner resorts to name-calling, yelling, or giving you the silent treatment every time you have a disagreement, it’s a sign of unhealthy conflict resolution, which can be a deal breaker.

29. Lack of Intimacy

Intimacy, both emotional and physical, is crucial in a romantic relationship. If your partner consistently shows a lack of interest in being intimate or fails to reciprocate your feelings, it can lead to feelings of rejection and loneliness, which can be a deal breaker.

30. Disregard for Personal Space

Everyone needs some personal space, even in a relationship. If your partner doesn’t respect your need for personal space and time for yourself, it can lead to feelings of being suffocated and can be a major deal breaker.

31. Inability to Apologize

Everyone makes mistakes, but the ability to acknowledge them and apologize is crucial. If your partner never apologizes or always shifts the blame onto others, it shows a lack of accountability, which can be a deal breaker in a relationship.

32. Narcissistic Behavior

Narcissistic behavior can be a major deal breaker. A partner with narcissistic tendencies can be manipulative, lack empathy, and have a constant need for admiration. These behaviors can lead to a toxic relationship dynamic.

33. Lack of Shared Interests

While it’s not necessary to share all interests with your partner, having some shared hobbies or activities can strengthen your bond. If you and your partner have no shared interests, it can lead to a lack of shared experiences and can be a potential deal breaker.

34. Disrespect for Personal Beliefs

Respect for personal beliefs is crucial in a relationship. If your partner shows signs prejudiced thoughts, expresses racism and bigotry, or disrespects and belittles your religious, political, or personal beliefs, it shows a lack of respect for you as an individual, not to mention some deeper issues, and should be a pretty clear deal breaker.

35. Lack of Ambition

A partner’s lack of ambition, reflected in their career instability, lack of goals, and absence of desire for career progression, can be a deal breaker. This is particularly true for goal-oriented individuals who value career success and future planning. If the bulk of financial responsibilities falls on you, or if you feel more like a caretaker than a romantic partner, it may be time to reassess the relationship. Some examples of this could include a partner who is content with unemployment, low-paying jobs with no future upside, has no retirement savings, bounces from job to job, or spends workdays idle, distracted, or lounging.

36. Constant Criticism

Constructive criticism can be beneficial in a relationship, but constant, harsh criticism can be a deal breaker. If your partner is always pointing out your flaws and never appreciates your good qualities, it can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and create a negative environment.

37. Lack of Appreciation

Feeling appreciated is important in a relationship. If your partner rarely expresses gratitude or fails to acknowledge your efforts, it can make you feel unvalued and taken for granted, which can be a deal breaker.

38. Lack of Respect for Privacy

Respect for privacy is crucial in a relationship. If your partner frequently invades your privacy, such as reading your messages or emails without your consent, it’s a sign of mistrust and disrespect, which can be a deal breaker.

39. Lack of Emotional Availability

Emotional availability is key in a relationship. If your partner is emotionally distant or unwilling to share their feelings, it can lead to a lack of connection and intimacy, which can be a deal breaker.

How To Navigate Relationship Deal Breakers Once They Been Identified

Identifying deal breakers is the first step towards a healthier relationship. But what do you do when you spot these red flags? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to navigate most relationship deal breakers.

1. Acknowledge the Issue

The first step is to face the situation head on and acknowledge the issue. Denial won’t make the problem disappear. If you’ve identified a deal breaker, it’s important to admit it and understand its implications for your relationship. Acknowledging the issue is not merely about mentally recognizing it, but also about emotionally accepting that this is a real problem that can affect your well-being and the health of the relationship. It might be painful to face reality, but this step is crucial in making an informed decision about how to proceed, on not, in the relationship.

2. Communicate Your Concerns

Once you’ve acknowledged the issue, communicate your concerns to your partner. Be honest, but tactful. Explain why the behavior is a problem for you and how it affects the relationship. It’s crucial to use “I” statements to express how you feel, as this prevents the conversation from sounding accusatory. For example, say “I feel hurt when…” instead of “You always…”. Keep in mind that effective communication is not just about speaking, but also about listening to your partner’s perspective.

3. Seek Professional Help

If the behavior continues despite your efforts, it might be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and strategies to deal with the issue. Sometimes, it’s not just about changing a behavior but understanding the root causes behind it. A professional can help both partners see the situation more clearly and work toward either resolving the issue or making the decision to part ways if it’s in the best interest of both individuals.

4. Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial in any relationship. Make it clear what behavior you will not tolerate and stick to it. This will help protect your emotional well-being. Setting boundaries is not about controlling the other person but about respecting your own needs and values. Clearly communicate these boundaries and also be ready to follow through with consequences if these boundaries are consistently crossed.

5. Consider Ending the Relationship

If the deal breaker persists despite your efforts, it might be time to consider ending the relationship. It’s important to prioritize your happiness and mental health in all relationship and when a relationship becomes toxic everything else in your life will ultimately suffer the consequences. Staying in a relationship that shows no signs of improving and is only going to get worse is never worth it.

6. Reflect on Your Experience

After ending a toxic relationship, take some time to reflect on your experience. What did you learn from it? How can you use this knowledge to make better decisions in the future? Reflection is not about dwelling on the past or ruminating over your regrets, but understanding the patterns and behaviors that led to the breakup. It’s about gaining insights that can help you build healthier relationships moving forward, and learning to spot red flags even faster.

7. Build Your Self-Esteem

Deal breakers often affect our self-esteem, especially if we’ve put up with them for a long time. Work on rebuilding your self-esteem through self-care, positive affirmations, and surrounding yourself with supportive people. Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed. It’s essential to rebuild the relationship with yourself before entering into another romantic relationship.

8. Learn to Trust Again

If the relationship involved betrayal or dishonesty, it might be hard to trust again. A bad breakup can leave you feeling jaded and closed off. Take it slow and remember that not everyone will treat you the same way. Trust can be rebuilt with time and patience. Engage in self-reflection to understand your own barriers to trust and work through them slowly. As you enter new relationships, communicate your past experiences and how they affect your ability to trust, so your new partner understands your needs.

9. Seek Support from Loved Ones

Being surrounded by a support system can really speed up the healing process, so don’t hesitate to seek support from friends and family that you trust during this time. They can help by providing empathy, comfort, advice, and a listening ear. Share your experiences and feelings with people you trust. Unfortunately many other people have experienced toxic relationships, but their perspective can often provide insights that you might not have considered and help you find yourself again.

10. Prioritize Your Needs

Always prioritize your needs in a relationship. If a relationship is causing you more harm than good, it’s okay to walk away. Your happiness and well-being should always come first. Learn to distinguish between compromising in a relationship and completely sacrificing your values and needs. Developing this understanding can help you make decisions that are aligned with your long-term happiness and fulfillment.

How To Talk To Your Partner About It: Step By Step

It’s never fun to bring up issues in a relationship, and it can be a little intimidating early on in a relationship but it is essential for building a foundation of trust and open communication. Addressing concerns assertively, honestly and respectfully can strengthen the bond between partners and pave the way for a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.

When discussing concerns with your partner, it’s important to be honest and direct. Avoid blaming or criticizing, and instead use “I” statements to express how their behavior makes you feel. For example, you could say, “I feel upset when you don’t help with the housework.”

It’s also crucial to be prepared to listen to their perspective. They may have reasons for their behavior that you’re not aware of, or they may not realize how their actions affect you. Be open to their point of view and be willing to compromise. Remember, communication is a two-way street.

1. Identify Your Feelings

Before you start the conversation, take some time to identify your feelings. Are you feeling frustrated, hurt, or ignored? Once you’ve identified your feelings, you can express them more clearly to your partner.

2. Choose the Right Time and Place

Timing and setting can significantly impact how your message is received. Choose a quiet, private location where you won’t be interrupted. Also, make sure both of you are calm and not preoccupied with other things. Avoid starting the conversation when either of you is tired, stressed, or distracted.

3. Use “I” Statements

When expressing your feelings, use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. This helps to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” say, “I feel ignored when I’m talking and you’re on your phone.”

4. Be Honest and Direct

Be honest about your feelings and what’s bothering you. If you’re upset about something, it’s important to express that. However, be careful not to attack your partner or their character. Stick to discussing their behavior and how it affects you.

5. Listen to Their Perspective

After you’ve expressed your feelings, give your partner the opportunity to share their perspective. They might have reasons for their behavior that you weren’t aware of. Listen to what they have to say and try to understand their point of view.

6. Be Willing to Compromise

It’s unlikely that your partner will agree with everything you say, and that’s okay. The goal of the conversation is not to win an argument, but to come to a mutual understanding and find a solution that works for both of you. Be willing to compromise and find middle ground.

7. Seek Professional Help if Necessary

If you’re having trouble communicating or resolving issues, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a relationship counselor. They can provide tools and techniques to improve communication and help resolve conflicts.

When Should You Walk Away From A Toxic Relationship?

Knowing when to walk away from a relationship can be difficult. You may have invested a lot of time and emotion into the relationship, and it can be hard to let go. However, there are certain situations where it may be best to end the relationship.

1. Your Partner is Unwilling to Listen or Change Their Behavior

If you’ve expressed your concerns to your partner and they’re unwilling to listen or change their behavior, it may be time to reconsider the relationship. A healthy relationship requires mutual respect and the willingness to work on issues together. If your partner dismisses your feelings or refuses to acknowledge their problematic behavior, it’s a sign of disrespect and a lack of commitment to the relationship.

2. You Feel Unsafe or Uncomfortable

Your safety and comfort should always be a priority. If your partner’s behavior makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, it’s important to take those feelings seriously. This could include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Remember, abuse is never acceptable, and it’s not something you should have to tolerate.

3. You’re Not Happy in the Relationship

Ultimately, a relationship should bring you happiness and fulfillment. If you’re consistently unhappy in your relationship, it may be time to walk away. This doesn’t mean that every moment will be perfect – every relationship has ups and downs. But if you’re feeling unhappy more often than not, it’s worth considering whether the relationship is right for you.

4. Your Needs Aren’t Being Met

Everyone has different needs when it comes to a relationship. These can include emotional support, companionship, physical affection, and more. If your needs aren’t being met in the relationship, it can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and resentment. It’s important to communicate your needs to your partner, but if they’re not willing or able to meet those needs, it may be time to move on.

5. You Don’t See a Future with Your Partner

If you can’t envision a future with your partner, it may be a sign that the relationship isn’t right for you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have every detail of your future planned out, but you should at least be able to see the potential for a long-term future together.

6. Your Values Don’t Align

Having shared values is an important part of a successful relationship. If your values don’t align with your partner’s, it can lead to conflict and dissatisfaction. This can include values related to lifestyle, religion, family, money, and more.

7. The Relationship is Negatively Impacting Your Mental Health

If the relationship is causing you significant stress, anxiety, or depression, it’s important to take a step back and consider whether it’s worth it. Your mental health should always be a priority, and a toxic or unhealthy relationship can have a serious impact on your wellbeing.

What Are Your Relationship Deal Breakers And Red Flags?

Stay alert to early warning signs and understand your deal breakers to protect your emotional health and uphold personal boundaries. Recognize these signs in potential partners early to avoid emotionally entangling yourself in relationships that aren’t beneficial for your well-being.

How Can Jaunty Help?

At Jaunty, we believe that everyone can successfully improve their communication skills and their social life. We teach the social intelligence and communication skills that help you truly thrive. Our team of experts can guide you in setting healthy boundaries, communicating effectively, and building strong, fulfilling relationships.

Whether you’re dealing with a selfish partner, struggling with a lack of communication, or trying to find a new relationship that’s rooted in respect and trust, Jaunty can provide you with the tools and strategies you need.

Working with a social skills coach can help you:

  • Identify your relationship deal breakers and red flags
  • Communicate your concerns effectively
  • Set and enforce healthy boundaries
  • Build trust in your relationships
  • Improve your conflict resolution skills
  • Boost your self-esteem and confidence

Connect with people and join the thousands like you who have exercised their social skills with the world’s best social instructors. Your happiness and well-being should always come first.


Eric Waisman

Eric Waisman

Founding Instructor

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