I’m usually the person to lovingly say, “Get over yourself. Those aren’t red flags, they’re your preferences because you’re selfish. And since we can’t create a perfect SpouseBot for you, I suggest you knock it off before you find yourself forever alone.”
However, there are healthy boundaries that should be relationship deal breakers. Beware.
13 Relationship Deal Breakers
1. They’re rude to servers and are cheap tippers. If they’re demanding or belittling to a person they’ve just met, how are they going to treat you when things get tense? Frugality is to be admired, but giving the poor server who’s been on their feet for 12 hours a 14% tip is inconsiderate, and that will carry over into your relationship.
2. They don’t know how to forgive. When their ex come up in conversation, do they get angry? Resort to name calling? Retell stories of past offenses? Then they’re harboring unforgiveness. The ability to forgive is essential and if they don’t yet know how, you’re setting yourself up for future hurt.
3. They’re still living at home. A good relationship with one’s parents is to be admired. And Failure To Launch was a great movie. But if he’s 30, still living at home, and not Matthew McConaughey, go find a grownup. You are not SJP, so don’t try to fix him.
4. They’re perpetually unemployed and either loving it or whining about it but not doing anything to change it. If they’re unable to care for themselves, how are they going to support your future offspring if something were to happen to you?
5. They’re selfish. At first, it might be refreshing how decisive they are! But if they always need to have their own way, or get all agro or hurt feelings if things don’t go as they pictured, it’s a red flag. Communication and compromise are important to any thriving relationship.
6. They’re married. Don’t tell me they’re “technically separated.” Anything less than 100% legally, physically, territorially, and financially detached is still married. And if it’s been less than one calendar year, you’re just inviting drama and heartache into your life. Love yourself enough to walk away.
7. They’re drowning in debt. Money is still a leading cause of divorce, so if you’re not able to communicate about finances while you’re dating, this will not bode well for the marriage. A little student loan debt is understandable, but if all their electronic purchases are on credit cards, then they’re in need of financial coaching before you decide to commit. Taking a Financial Peace University class together will help you get on the same page.
Being in debt isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but not knowing how to fix it can be. If you’re drowning in debt, learn how to use debt consolidation and peer to peer lending to get back on your feet.
8. They don’t share your values. Tolerance is wonderful amongst friends, but when you’re committing to another person, foundational values have to be agreed upon. If the foundation is not stable, how will the home stand against a storm?
9. You’re split about kids. One of you wants them, one of you doesn’t. Stop wasting each other’s time, hanging around, hoping they’ll change their mind.
10. They don’t understand kids. Maybe you already have kids, but your honey has unrealistic expectations about what kids bring to the relationship. Parenting is a joy-filled, interruption-filled, 24/7 job and whoever you’re with needs to think it’s as worthwhile as you do! It doesn’t matter that those concert tickets cost $75 when you’re having to cancel to clean up vomit. It’s a nice thought if they want to give your kid their grandfather’s heirloom harmonica, but they can’t get pissed off when it falls out of their pocket at the park. Sometimes pants get peed in. Sometimes milk gets spilled. Sometimes the walls will have Cheese Puff handprints on them. Sometimes bad dreams happen and you suddenly have a child c-blocking you.
Find someone who already possesses the character to handle being part of your and your kid’s life. And I suggest not even introducing them to your kiddos until you’re sure they’re a keeper. You don’t want your kids remembering their childhood with a parade of your boy/girlfriends.
11. They cheat on you. Don’t stay with them hoping they’ll change their ways once you’re married. Integrity is an essential attribute if there’s to be trust in a marriage and it doesn’t suddenly present itself once you say, “I do.”
12. They have a substance abuse problem or a gambling problem. Someone in recovery isn’t even supposed to enter into a romantic relationship for a whole year. Give them time. You’re not their rescuer.
13. There’s abuse. Any sort of physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual abuse, including but not limited to control, manipulation, date rape, and coercion to have an abortion, should not be tolerated. If you’re the one doing the abusing, get away from your target and seek help for yourself. If you’re the one being abused, don’t hang around hoping they’ll change, or thinking that you can fix them. You’ll just be dragged down with them. Seek help from someone you trust or by calling a hotline.
Simply defined, relationship deal breakers are anything you wouldn’t want your adult child putting up with in a relationship.
Do you have more relationship deal breakers to add to our list?
Tell us your stories of relationship deal breakers you’ve encountered with would-be suitors!
Genevieve West is a professional Matchmaker and personal consultant for marriage-minded singles in Portland, Oregon. Genevieve has been called a ‘prolific’ blogger and speaker, perpetual manuscript attempter, wine-drinking, coffee-chugging, sometimes irreverent, often overwhelmed housewife, and home-school mom of three, redeemed by God’s grace.