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Relationship Deal Breakers: How to Know When Enough Is Enough

relationship deal breaks or couples counseling

When you first meet someone and begin dating, you probably have an idea of what to expect from the relationship. Luckily, with all the good information out there, it’s easier to enter into new relationships with their eyes open and keep their brains switched on. But with that being said, not everyone is so lucky, and occasionally someone will fall head over heels in love with someone who isn’t quite as committed. That’s why it’s important to have deal breakers ready before things get serious. Whether you are looking for casual dating or something more long-term, it helps to know what your boundaries are going into the relationship to avoid getting hurt down the road.

What are Relationship Deal Breakers?

Deal breakers are those little red flags that pop up in your head when you first meet someone, or even when you’ve been together for awhile. They are things you know you can’t tolerate in a relationship, no matter how much you love the person.

Some examples of deal breakers include:

  • An unhealthy relationship with drugs, alcohol, sex, or money
  • A person who violates your boundaries, such as reading your journal
  • A partner who is still married or in another relationship
  • Someone who talks bad about all of the exes.
  • A person who has multiple convictions for violent crimes
  • Someone who isolates you from your friends and family
  • Someone who puts you down

How to Identify a Deal Breaker

Many relationship deal-breakers are easy to spot in the beginning stages of dating. If you are looking for a serious relationship, however, you may find that things aren’t so clear-cut. Before you get to the point of dating, you should list your relationship deal breakers on a piece of paper. This will act as a reminder when you are in the thick of things. You should also ask potential partners what their deal breakers are to make sure the relationship will be a good fit.

If you don’t agree on the deal breakers, you might want to rethink the relationship before it has the chance to get serious. If the deal breakers change down the road, that is okay too. Relationships evolve, and you may find that you are able to handle things better as time goes on.

Bottom line: Is the price worth it?

When you finally find someone who you feel compatible with, it’s easy to overlook the red flags. However, if you want to avoid getting hurt, you need to ask yourself if the person is worth the price. If you find yourself continually compromising your morals to date someone with deal breakers, it may be time to walk away. It may seem like you’re being picky, but when you are dating someone seriously, you want to be picky.

You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells

Some relationship deal breakers can be very black and white, such as an unhealthy relationship with drugs, alcohol, or money. However, some relationship deal breakers aren’t as easy to spot. It is important to be aware of your own feelings and desires, even if you aren’t sure what the deal breaker is. You may just be feeling like you are walking on eggshells and not know why. You may feel like you are comprising too much. Recognize those signs in yourself. Know when you are starting to get too far out of alignment.

Your Partner Doesn’t Respect Your Boundaries

In a healthy relationship, both partners need to respect the other’s boundaries, even if they don’t agree with them. Relationship boundaries can touch on things like family, work, children, sex, communication and space. If your partner consistently pushes you to do things you know you aren’t comfortable with, it can be a warning sign they don’t respect your boundaries.

Your Partner is Constantly Criticizing You

If your partner is constantly criticizing you for everything you do, it may be a sign that they don’t respect you, or themselves. This can be hard to spot if you are in love and feel like their criticism is coming from a good place. However, it may simply be your partner criticizing everything because they aren’t happy with you. If your partner is constantly trying to change you and you aren’t sure what you can do to fix the situation, it may be a sign that they are controlling. If your partner doesn’t respect you, it is only a matter of time before they start to treat you poorly.

Your Partner is Mean to Other People in your life

Being mean or snappy to you is one thing, but if your partner is constantly attacking people in your life, it may be a sign that they are toxic. If your partner is mean to your friends and family, it can be hard to determine if they are just being honest or if they are just mean. This can be especially hard if you have been in the relationship for a long time. If your partner is mean to people you love on a regular basis, it may be time to address this problem, get couples counseling, or re-evalaute your relationship.


It can be tempting to override or ignore relationship red flags. If you’ve done this, don’t feel ashamed…it happens to the best of us. If you decide to move forward despite your gut instinct, it doesn’t mean things can’t work, but it is important to go into it with your eyes wide open. You’ll have to work hard with your partner to change your patterns as soon as possible. This can be done with couples counseling, workshops, and relationship books. The important thing is that keep your eyes open and have a plan to work toward health.


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