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Three most common deal breakers in a relationship

W hen we think about the kind of person we’d like to spend the rest of our lives with in marriage, we often list the qualities and traits we most desire about them, our deal makers. But we also have our deal breakers, qualities and traits that would disqualify someone in our books as a prospect for a life partner, regardless of how many other wonderful traits they have. These are behavioural patterns, character traits and a personality make-up we feel we can’t stand and therefore cannot bear in a relationship. Like deal makers, deal breakers are personal, unique and therefore differ from one person to another. Furthermore, a group of men is likely to provide a list of deal breakers with generally common traits and qualities, and so are women.

However, working in the relationship space as a couple for several years now, we’re constantly amazed at some of the things people list as deal breakers. In our view, some border on the superficial and make for a comical reading, while others make demands on the personality of the potential partner. Many singles are frustrated and lonely being alone because they continue to hold others to standards they themselves cannot maintain.

So what, if he has a pot-belly or that she can’t cook? These things can change, and you can be a positive influence to turn the pot-belly into a six pack, and her, a chef.

One of the many mistakes committed by singles in the dating market when it comes to deal breakers is that they often look for ready-made, prim and proper potentials that they can just harvest and consume. It’s part of the whole mythical notion of finding “the one”.

It’s a myth because you could never possibly meet “the one” in a dating relationship. You become “the one” years into marriage, after your character has been chiselled and panel-beaten to adjust into a positive fit for one another. It takes work to become “the one”. And it’s work you have to put in, so that you can become “the one” for your spouse.

Let’s briefly discuss the following three absolute deal breakers for any relationship irrespective of gender or who you are. We discuss these in great detail in our new book, Stuff we wish we knew before getting married, launching nationally in February.


One of the biggest deal breakers in a relationship is having a different value-system. If you believe your career is top priority but your partner, on the other hand puts family time first, you are likely to have a serious problem.

Values are the fundamental beliefs that make you, who you are, many of-which will have been formed in childhood and inherited from your upbringing. Your core values will affect most of the decisions and choices you make in life, including your view of God, your political beliefs, marriage and family, nature, sanctity of life, your career choices, your lifestyle and how you spend your time. How compatible your values are will determine how happy your relationship will be.


One of the main reasons most relationships fall apart is because partners initially become infatuated with the idea of love as well as how much chemistry they have, and fail to appreciate why they are together in the first place.

Nothing in our view, tears a couple apart faster than partners that are pulling towards different directions. Love spoils when it lacks direction, and does so quickly. It matters very little how much you love one another, and together share many common interests. If you don’t share a common vision together that’s powerful enough to pull you towards a goal bigger than yourselves as a couple, then you’re not only going to fumble in the dark, but you’ll also even fight over the pettiest of issues because you’re living aimlessly.


An immature partner is one that refuses to compromise, forgive, reconcile, constantly displays selfish behaviour, is full of pride, one who sulks, filled with ingratitude, gives silent treatment, no sense of responsibility or obligation, constantly displays poor judgement, is disrespectful of the other, poor tact in resolving conflict or does so by throwing tantrums privately or publicly, and is inconsiderate of the other. Starting a relationship with a person that possesses some of these signs will both embarrass you in public and fill your relationship with many awkward moments, and will ultimately wear you and the relationship out.

Sometimes mature people marry the immature assuming they will either mature in the future or they themselves will mature them. Occasionally, we also find that mature people marry what appear to be mature persons only to realize too late that they’ve married children in disguise. Then, there are those cases when a mature person deliberately marries an immature person because they want an upper hand and firmer control in the relationship.

What often happens in the marriage of a mature person to one that’s immature is a parent-child relationship. The spouse who is focused on running the home, paying the bills, and planning for the future will begin to “parent” – whether that looks like nagging, pampering, or enabling – the immature spouse. The dynamic that is created is unhealthy to say the least.

A successful relationship requires the maturity of both partners at relatively similar levels otherwise it’s an unequal yoke, a definite deal breaker.

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