Top Relationship Dealbreakers and Why It's Okay to End Things

By Jake Schroeder
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After dating your significant other for a while, there may be some traits, habits or parts of their life that you just aren’t sure if you can live with. Even when you’re madly in love, there could be some things that raise red flags.

While doubts are completely normal, sometimes they may be signs of a bigger problem. Having a mature, honest breakup may actually be the best option for you both. But what red flags should you look out for? Start with these.

You’re Attracted to Someone Else

A time may come when you start to develop feelings for someone else. While even happily married couples can notice beauty or nice qualities in other people, it’s another thing entirely to form an attraction. If you also start having feelings for someone else, this is probably a good sign it’s time to end the relationship with your partner.

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People find other people all the time. While you never intended to hurt your significant other, this is a normal part of life, and it’s best to end things honestly. Cheating on someone is far more hurtful than being up-front about your feelings.

You’re Not Compatible in Bed

Being intimate with your significant other is a special and important part of your relationship. Your intimate relationship can also say a lot about your relationship in general. If either of you has needs that aren’t being met, it can create tension — not the good kind.

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Sometimes two people just aren’t compatible in bed. With a sexual partner, honesty is the best policy. Try and talk about what you need and guide them along the way. After discussing your needs and preferences with your partner, if they still don’t make an effort to change, it might be time for you to make one by ending things.

You Don’t Get Along With Their Family

Getting along with each other’s families can sometimes be difficult. Even if you like them, there are probably plenty of times they’ll drive you crazy. While mild disagreements and friendly bantering are normal, constant disagreements and clashing personalities can strain a relationship.

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If you’re having serious problems with your significant other's family, start by talking to your partner. If you can work it out, hopefully the family can too. Sometimes, though, family strife can put a wedge between partners that might not ever go away. If that’s your case, there’s no harm in breaking up.

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You Feel Like You’re Settling

You never want to feel like you’re settling in life or accepting less than you deserve — especially when it comes to relationships. You want to still feel excited about your partner and as though you’re lucky to have them. The same way you don’t want to settle in your career, you also shouldn’t settle in a relationship.

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If you find yourself no longer valuing your partner, it can lead to the feeling that you’re settling. You should feel like your partner makes you a better person and builds you up. You shouldn’t always be wondering if there’s someone better out there. If you’re always thinking the grass looks greener, it might be time to part ways.

You Don’t Agree on Children

It may seem strange to talk about planning a family early on in a relationship, but it’s better to get it out of the way before you’ve wasted too much time. If you’ve always dreamed of being a parent and your partner doesn’t feel the same way, that can be heartbreaking.

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Bringing another life into the world isn’t a decision to take lightly, and it’s not something to compromise on if you feel strongly one way and your partner feels the opposite. You also never want to force the other person into a decision. Be honest and go your separate ways — don’t expect your partner to change later.

You’re Doing Long Distance

Long-distance relationships can be hard. There may be times that you feel like your relationship is strong enough to endure it and other times that you reach your breaking point. All of these emotions are normal. Don’t be surprised if you have days you want to break up and then make up all within 24 hours.

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Long-distance relationships can test the strongest couples. If you feel like you’ve reached the point where you just can’t do it anymore, talk to your partner. Let them know how you’re feeling and see if one or both of you can make a plan to relocate. If it doesn’t work out, it’s better you were honest about what you needed.

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They Lie

Lies can put huge cracks into the foundations of relationships. When you don’t trust your partner, your relationship can start to feel lonely and unstable. Your partner should be one of the people you trust most in the world. If someone is lying about big or even small issues, it’s time to talk with them seriously.

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You need to confront the lying head-on, especially if they’re lying about big issues such as faithfulness, money, feelings or family. Two people need to be honest with each other in order for a relationship to work. If you’re with someone who lies, be honest with yourself and know that you’re better off with someone you can trust.

They’re Too Cheap

The ways you spend your money are your business. When you’re in a serious relationship, however, money is a big factor in its success. If you’re with someone who has a different financial view than you do, it can strain the relationship.

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Being frugal is one thing, but being cheap is another. If your partner is so unwilling to spend money that it negatively impacts your life — like making you layer your clothing instead of turning on the heat in winter — talk about a compromise if you can. If you can’t, then maybe it’s time to say goodbye.

One of You Spends Too Much

On the flipside, if someone spends way too much money on non-essentials, this can cause fights. No matter how much money you both make, you never want to be with someone who doesn’t understand the value of a dollar or digs themselves further into debt with unnecessary purchases.

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Earning money is hard. If your partner spends money just to spend money, this can lead to you feeling resentful, ashamed or nervous about your future finances. If you aren’t married yet, sit down and talk about each other’s spending habits. Make sure you’re on the same page before you move forward.

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They’re Insecure

Being with someone who’s insecure can be mentally and physically draining. Whether they’re insecure about themselves, your relationship or you personally, their issues can take a toll on your relationship. Even if you love the person, someone who’s insecure may need more help than you can give them.

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Sometimes insecurity is warranted. When someone is lied to or cheated on, for example, this can lead to insecurities. If your partner is always feeling insecure in themselves or in your relationship, talk about the reason. Try and help them through it, but know that it’s not something you have to stick around for if you’re unable to.

They’re Selfish

People who are selfish tend to make bad life partners. Even if you have the patience of a saint, a selfish person can wear you down. Whether it’s only doing what they want to do or putting your needs aside for their wants, selfish people can be exhausting.

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It’s not fair for you to have to put up with other people’s selfishness. If you’ve reached your breaking point, talk with your significant other and let them know how you feel. If they’re too selfish and self-absorbed to notice, it’s time to move on.

They’re Not Over Their Ex

You probably didn’t sign up to be in a relationship with someone and their ex-partner. If your significant other is always talking about their ex, comparing you to their ex and openly thinking about them, it’s probably time to move on.

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You want the person you’re with to focus on you. When it’s the right relationship, you should feel like there’s no one else in the world. Make sure your partner is only focused on you and your future together. If you feel differently, bring it up in an open and honest conversation.

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They Have Bad Manners

Having bad manners can be a real dealbreaker. When it comes to the ways your significant other treats you, manners are really important. You always want to feel like the person you’re with is aware of themselves and how they treat others.

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Someone with good manners will say "please" and "thank you" and show you respect. If you’ve been dating someone for a while and are concerned about their manners, it’s probably time for a new partner. You never want to feel disrespected. The way they treat other people, too, is a great indication of their manners.

They Have Disgusting Habits

If your significant other has habits that drive you crazy, it may be time for a serious talk. Let’s say your boyfriend is constantly leaving his socks on the floor or your girlfriend never does her dishes. Over time, these little habits can add up to a blowup.

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But when someone has a disgusting habit like smoking or never cleaning their bathroom, it can really drive you nuts. Talk to your partner about anything gross that you just can’t stand anymore. If you’re honest and non-judgmental, hopefully, you both can resolve the issue. If it’s just too big to get over, be honest about that too and move on.

They’re Unreliable

When it comes to your partner, you want to make sure they’re someone you can trust. Having an unreliable significant other can be unsettling. It can be sad, lonely, confusing and emotionally draining to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t reliable or doesn’t do what they say they will.

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You want to be sure your partner is someone you can trust before things get serious. If you’re considering marriage or a long-term relationship with an unreliable person, you should wait until they’ve proven themselves to you. Your life partner should always make you feel secure in yourself and in your partnership.

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There’s a Drug or Alcohol Problem

Drug and alcohol abuse are serious health concerns. If your significant other is having issues with either, encourage them to seek professional help — keeping in mind that they need to want to get better. Let them know how their addiction is affecting your relationship.

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Even if a breakup is inevitable, assisting your partner in getting the help they need can set you both free. Know that, just because someone isn’t doing well mentally or physically, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with them. You can offer help and part ways knowing that you did the right thing — for both of you.

You Aren’t Communicating

Communication is the foundation of any good relationship. You need open lines of communication to make your relationship stronger. The more you communicate, the better off you’ll both be. Especially if finances and kids may be involved, communication becomes a crucial element that can make or break a healthy relationship.

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If you don’t think you or your partner are communicating well, or even enough, take some time away — just the two of you. After talking and trying to spend more time together, if you still see breakdowns in communication, it may be easier for everyone if you go your separate ways.

They Act Like They Know It All

Know-it-alls are as frustrating in kindergarten as they are at age 25. When your partner constantly makes you feel like you’re wrong or that they know everything, it can be sad and upsetting. No one knows the answer to everything. Tell your partner to take it down a notch and lay off the superior attitude.

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Sit down with your partner and explain to them how you’re feeling. It’s always better to communicate your feelings if a situation or behavior is fixable. If it’s something that the two of you can’t work on, then it’s time to head out.

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They’re Too Risky

Taking risks can sometimes lead to amazing adventures and experiences. If the person you’re with is taking too many risks — particularly personal or financial ones — it’s normal to feel like your partner isn’t a good fit for you. If the behavior makes you uncomfortable, your feelings likely won't change over time.

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Remember that being spontaneous and being risky are two different things. It’s spontaneous to surprise someone with dinner out. It’s risky to spend your life savings on an investment. Make sure you’re comfortable with each other's risk tolerance before you get too serious.

They Have Large Debts

Debt is a form of baggage most of us could do without. When it comes to your significant other’s personal finances, the more communication the better. You don’t want to be blindsided after you marry someone and find out that they have hundreds of thousands in student loan debt to pay.

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Someone who has a lot of debt can also seem untrustworthy. Be as up-front as possible about your personal finances and related plans and goals. After you’ve been dating a little bit, it’s a good time to sit down and talk about debt and any other money hurdles you need to get over before you get serious.

They’re Unfaithful

If someone is being unfaithful, it’s almost always time to split. If you’ve agreed on having a monogamous relationship, you’ve set a hard line in the sand. When someone isn’t trustworthy in this way, it’s time to break things off.

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If infidelity is something you think you could work through, counseling is a good place to start. Talking to a professional may help each of you through this hard time. If your significant other isn’t willing to put in the work, then it’s probably better off you part ways before anyone gets hurt even more.

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You’re Opposites

There’s an old saying that states opposites attract. While opposites can attract in some relationships, in others it can lead to a lot of tension. If your partner always seems to have wants and needs that oppose yours, know that a little talk may go a long way.

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If you find yourself thinking that you and your spouse or partner are too far apart, this may be easily solved with some better communication. Talk to each other about what your issues are and how you can move past any opposing views. If you can't talk it out, don’t be afraid to let go.

You Disagree About Pets

Choosing whether or not to get a pet is a big decision. If you’re a dog lover and your partner isn’t, it might be time to have the tough talk. Pets are family members. Deciding whether or not to get a cat, puppy, goldfish or any other pet is something to discuss thoughtfully.

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If your partner isn’t up for a pet and you are, maybe it’s time to find a fellow pet lover. The same goes if you’re the one who doesn’t want a dog but your partner does. If you can't come up with a solution that works for you both, you may still agree on parting ways.

You Don’t Like Their Friends

Just because you’re in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean you have to love all of their friends. Your partner probably won’t like all your friends either. Having disagreements with friends or with each other about friends is stressful. If there’s a person in your group of pals who rubs you the wrong way, talk to your partner.

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Communicate as much as possible about which friend is bothering you, and make a plan to fix it. If your significant other would prefer to stay away from your friends, maybe you can make a compromise. If it just isn’t working out, remember that’s fine, too.

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They Don’t Listen to You

In a perfect world, your significant other always listens to you. Whether they’re listening to you complain about the neighbor's garage or just hearing you vent about work, a good partner is always there to listen. If your partner isn't listening to you, there may be a communication breakdown coming in the near future.

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If you feel like you and your partner are failing at communicating, it’s time for an uninterrupted chat. The sooner your voice is heard, the better. If you can’t come to an agreement that works, it may be time to hit the road.

They’re a Workaholic

While being driven in your career is one thing, being a workaholic is quite another. If you feel like all your partner does is work, it’s probably time for an intervention. You, of course, want your partner to succeed in life, but you also want to help them achieve a work-life balance.

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A better work-life balance means more time with you. If this is something you need, talk to your partner about the idea. If your needs aren’t being met and they continue to choose work over you, then you know where you stand and can move on.

They Have No Drive or Goals

A good life partner is one who has their own goals and ambitions but is also supportive of yours. If you’re with someone who doesn’t have a career or life goal in mind, it can be hard to pursue your own. Want to try talking with your partner about their life and what your future looks like? Go ahead.

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When you’re with someone you love and they have something they’re passionate about, share the love and support them. Try and encourage your partner gently. If your partner still doesn’t have a full plan, know that it’s OK. If they’re unwilling to address this issue, you may not be a good fit after all.

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They’re Too Anxious

If your partner is always more worried about themselves and their life than you, you might need to have a talk with them. Confidence is key in a partner; the more confident they are, the more they can help you feel the same way. One person’s anxiety can chip away at the other’s confidence.

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If you have a partner who has always struggled with their confidence or anxiety, try and talk to them about how it’s affecting you. Create a safe place for them to open up to you about their problems. If they’re unwilling to see a therapist and you find their behavior untenable, it’s okay to part ways.

They Have Anger Problems

If you’re with someone who has an extreme anger problem, it’s time to get out — now. Violence, abuse and assault are never right or warranted. When it comes to anger and violence, there should be no second chances.

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Talk with your partner calmly and try to get out of the relationship as soon as possible. It’s never acceptable to endure mistreatment from someone who has fixed anger issues. All parties involved could likely also benefit from a discussion with a mental health professional.

You’ve Grown Apart

There can come a time, even in the best relationships, when people grow apart. For whatever reason, there may not be enough holding you two together anymore. If you feel yourself wanting to be unfaithful or seek company elsewhere, chances are you’re starting to grow apart.

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To keep your relationship strong, do something you both enjoy together. In the meantime, talk to your partner or people you trust. See if you have some common ground, and build on that. Communication is the key to staying aligned. If it doesn’t work out, at least you learned what you need for future relationships.

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