What are your relationship dealbreakers?
When you’re asked about what you’re looking for in a relationship, you probably tend to list the qualities you’re looking for instead of the traits you’re hoping to avoid.
While it’s good to pay attention to common dealmakers, dealbreakers should garner the same interest as well. If you’re looking for somebody to seriously date, it’s good to know what you want and what you don’t want because if a prospect has all your listed relationship dealmakers, but has even one relationship dealbreaker, then he or she is out of the running.
Researchers have finally taken notice of the power of dealbreakers in determining the course of a relationship. Why do two people in a seemingly committed relationship decide to part ways?
These dealbreakers are often the cause of a relationship ending, so they wield a lot of influence. Or why do two people who look good together on paper choose not to pursue a relationship with each other? There must be a dealbreaker involved somewhere.
Doesn’t it make you curious about what traits would push a man or a woman to disqualify a potential romantic partner?
What research is saying about dealbreakers
According to a series of studies conducted recently by American Social-Personality Psychologist Peter Jonason and colleagues on the most common relationship dealbreakers and how they affect dating choices, both men and women in the context of long-term, committed heterosexual relationships view a dishevelled, unclean appearance as a top dealbreaker alongside laziness and neediness.
In a study conducted among college students, the results were a bit different. For long-term relationships, some of the top dealbreakers are anger management issues or abusiveness, polygamous behaviour (dating several people all at once), and untrustworthiness. For short-term relationships, some of the most common dealbreakers are health issues (especially STDs), body odour, and poor hygiene.
Of course, it’s easy enough to list these qualities in a hypothetical relationship, but in real life, it’s not so easy for you to actually leave when your current partner demonstrates the traits you presumably abhor.
You may find that you’re more inclined to compromise than quit. Also, research shows that you’re often willing to date a flawed prospect, proving once again that reality and theory are two very different worlds.
Watch out for red flags
If you’re dating on a regular basis, there are red flags that should prompt you to get out. In the early days, you may want to think twice before continuing to see somebody who’s always late, who drinks too much, who’s obsessive about grooming (or the opposite), or who likes to trash-talk exes.
If your relationship is already underway, you should be suspicious when your partner is reluctant to introduce you to family, doesn’t seem to have any friends, isolates or tries to control you, never seems to pay his or her share, or only wants to do what he or she wants.
A list of dealbreakers is a good thing to have. At the same time, you have to watch out that yours isn’t too long or you may actually be using it to avoid commitment.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.