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.
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
- Dishevelled or unclean appearance
- Too needy
- Lacks a sense of humour
- Lives more than three hours away
- Bad sex
- Too much TV/video games
- Low sex drive
- Talks too much
Jonason, P.K. et al. (2015). Relationship Dealbreakers: Traits People Avoid in Potential Mates. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
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