Woman's foot smelly and an unhappy man on the white wall for background.

Revealed: the top 10 relationship killers

Is there something you simply won’t put up with in a partner? If so, you’re not alone. Recent research reveals the most common relationship dealbreakers.

A lot is known about what people look for in a potential partner. But when it comes to things people avoid at all costs in a guy or girl they’d date – things like unpleasant personality traits or annoying habits – research has been all but non-existent.

No slobs thanks!

Enter a group of researchers curious about this very topic. In a series of six studies, they went about asking over 6500 adults in the US about their relationship dealbreakers. The researchers were interested to see if there would be differences between men and women, as well as between quick flings and long-term relationships.

When it came to a long-term partner, a ‘dishevelled or unclean appearance’ was the number one dealbreaker for men and women, according to the findings of the largest study, which collected data on over 5500 men and women. Close behind, however, was laziness, with being ‘too needy’ finishing up in third position.

Funny please!

Dealbreakers related to an unhealthy lifestyle and a less-than-pleasant personality tended to top the lists in all the studies, but they weren’t the only things people wouldn’t accept in a potential partner. Take a sense of humour. Lacking one was dealbreaker number four, with over half the participants saying they wouldn’t start a long-term relationship with someone who wasn’t funny. And just over thirty per cent wouldn’t consider a partner who spent too much time watching TV or playing video games.

Men and women are more similar than they are different when it comes to what they avoid in a partner, the research showed. Still, there are a few differences. In general, women have more dealbreakers than men, and feel more strongly about the ones they do have when it comes to short-term romance.

Interestingly, dealbreakers are usually more powerful when a person is considering a potential partner, the research also showed. A dealmaker might be a trigger of sorts, leading a person to go up to a guy or girl with a trait they’re looking for. But a dealbreaker could result in a pretty strong reaction of avoidance or even disgust, say the researchers, which might serve the purpose of keeping us away from partners who won’t be good for us.

The 10 most common dealbreakers in a long-term partner

  1.     Dishevelled or unclean appearance
  2.     Lazy
  3.     Too needy
  4.     Lacks a sense of humour
  5.     Lives more than three hours away
  6.     Bad sex
  7.     Too much TV/video games
  8.     Low sex drive
  9.     Stubborn
  10.     Talks too much

Jonason, P.K. et al. (2015). Relationship Dealbreakers: Traits People Avoid in Potential Mates. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

What are your dealbreakers and dealmakers? Head for our forum and let’s talk.


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Recent Comments (32)

  1. Sexis very sweet
    Sexis very sweet

    1. Thank you for sharing Edgar.
      Thank you for sharing Edgar.

  2. I thought you would say…
    I thought you would say smelly feet from the photo? I wonder if that is serious enough to make guys to break up!!!

  3. Adding cheating to that list…
    Adding cheating to that list. I can’t stand people who cheat. I smell a cheater I run fast.

    1. Hey Isa, indeed cheating can…

      Hey Isa, indeed cheating can be a relationship killer.

  4. This photo reminds of a girl…
    This photo reminds of a girl I used to date she asked me to suck her toes. I found that weired and that was a deal breaker bcz she always insisted on it.

    1. Hi Moturi, clearly the…

      Hi Moturi, clearly the fantasies of your ex were compatible with you and yes, this can a deal breaker or cause a break up.

  5. I agree with no 5 my long…
    I agree with no 5 my long distance relationship failed because he could not be displined enough when we were not together. I know better now.

  6. Hidden past. When u…
    Hidden past. When u eventually find out dirty stuff about your spouse, sometimes they are intorelable.
    And yet you had tried to inquire all in vain.

    1. Hi there, We appreciate your…

      Hi there, We appreciate your contribution. Everyone, however, has a past and what maybe a concern to one may not be to another. Also, a person can grow and change as they work toward what they want to become and it may not be fair to judge a person now based on their past particularly if they have made changes in their lives. On the other hand the past can have a effect on the current. Having said that, if you have concerns about a person’s past, do let them know.

    1. Hey Jabby, indeed the past…

      Hey Jabby, indeed the past of a person can lead to break up. However, since everybody has a past, it is important to not judge a person by their past especially if the person has made changes in their lives. Thank you though for your contribution.

  7. It is better to be with an…
    It is better to be with an extrovert than be with an introvert.so I like one who talks and make me laugh

    1. Hey Cons, it comes down to…

      Hey Cons, it comes down to what you want in a partner and in a relationship. If you prefer an extrovert as opposed to an introvert. All the best.

  8. My girlfriend broke up with…
    My girlfriend broke up with me via text and i cant put a finger on her reason for her decision. I am so stressed!

    1. Hey Will, so sorry about…

      Hey Will, so sorry about this. Have you considered reaching out to her to find out what made her to break up with you? It maybe helpful to reach out to her to find out her reason for breaking up with you. Remember, you have no control over the choices of another person, all you can do right now is to move and allow yourself to heal. Have a look at the following article for addition tips on coping with a break up;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/coping-with-a-break-up

  9. I am unable to move after a…
    I am unable to move after a break up. He simply stopped talking to me, moved houses and I have no way of contacting him. ???

    1. Hi there, so sorry about…

      Hi there, so sorry about this. It appears your ex wants nothing to do with you atleast based on how he choose to break up with you. Closure can help you move on after a break but in you case you may not be able to get that from your ex. You have no control over how he chooses to act and this was not your fault. All you can do now is accept what happened and begin your journey of moving on. Remember, not all relationships will last a lifetime even when you do your best. It takes time to heal from a break up and move on, but with time one is able to heal and move on. Check out the following article for more tips;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/coping-with-a-break-up

  10. What can do to make my…
    What can do to make my relationship to become strong?

    1. Hi Chrispine, communication…

      Hi Chrispine, communication is one of the essentials of a good relationship. It is important that you have open and honest communication in your relationship, this will help in talking about everything including the difficult issues. Also, it is important that you talk about what your expectations are in the relationship, let your partner know what your expectations are and also have them share with you what their expectations are. Have a look at the following article for additional tips;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/happy-relationships/keeping-a-relationship-strong-dos-donts

  11. which lub can you recommend…
    which lub can you recommend for when the v* get dry during sex?

  12. You are right I agree I just…
    You are right I agree I just cant deal with a guy who is in number 2.

    1. Thank you for your input…

      Thank you for your input. Keep reading our articles. ?

  13. I am looking for someone ne…
    I am looking for someone ne to date. We just broke up, anyone ready to meet a sassy black beauty?

    1. Dear Sheila, unfortunately,…

      Dear Sheila, unfortunately, we are not a dating service and for this reason we are not able to help you meet someone. Also, if you just broke up, do you think this would be the right time to get into a new relationship? It maybe important to take sometime before getting into a new relationship to get over the break up. Have a look at the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/coping-with-a-break-up

  14. I am really hurting I need a…
    I am really hurting I need a girlfriend love matters help me out y’all.

    1. Hello Davis, so sorry about…

      Hello Davis, so sorry about this. It maybe important for you to take sometime to heal before getting into a new relationship. If you are still hurting from a past relationship, take sometime to get over the hurt since going into a new relationship while still hurting is likely to lead to even more hurt for you and your new partner. This article provides you with tips to help you get over this hurt, it may take sometime but eventually you will feel well enough to date again. https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/getting-over-a-break-up

  15. I would definitely break up…
    I would definitely break up with you if you were untidy, heck I would never date you if you were untidy in the first place!

    1. Absolutely, thanks for…

      Absolutely, thanks for sharing Sifere.

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