Do you ever wonder if you are in the wrong relationship? Knowing the difference between what constitutes a deal breaker in relationships instead of common areas of conflict can help you decide more easily if your relationship can last.

Deal breaker #1: Physical Abuse

This should be obvious but is worth stating anyway: If your partner has shown any tendencies of physical abuse toward you, it’s already over. We all get angry from time to time and no one can push our buttons more than a significant other (except perhaps for our children), but kicking, pushing, pinching, hitting or even throwing objects is simply unacceptable. For a relationship to thrive and stand the test of time, you need to be able to trust that your partner won’t cause you any harm. If this doesn’t sound like your partner, leave now. Go somewhere you know is safe.

Deal breaker #2: Alcohol and Substance abuse

This one can be tricky to pinpoint in particular when it comes to alcoholism, prescription medication or marijuana abuse which often develop slowly and are widely accepted in our society. In truth, it is virtually impossible to maintain the emotional intimacy necessary for a loving relationship with someone who abuses substances. If you are bothered by your partner’s substance use and have voiced these concerns and been shot down, it may be time to leave.

Deal breaker #3:  Dishonesty

Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between a white lie, a lie by omission, and just a plain lie. Here are some pointers: if your partner lies about his finances or whereabouts or that she keeps in touch with her ex, don’t waste your time. Adults who don’t understand the basic rules of trust building in a relationship, rarely ever change. On the other hand, it’s ill advised to share your credit card debt on the first, second date or even third date. And, if you are told that you are smarter than Bill Gates or prettier than JLo, simply count your blessings. Your partner is probably delusional…I mean in love.

Deal breaker #4: Lack of physical Intimacy

I don’t just mean sex, though frequent satisfying sex is often a sign of a well working relationship and the absence of it a red flag. I am actually talking about frequent hugs, cuddling or holding hands. The skin is a human being’s largest organ and physical affection is essential to feeling loved and connected to your partner. Physical affection releases powerful chemicals in our brain that alter our state of mind for the better. If your partner hardly ever just holds you or reaches for your hand spontaneously, you may be with the wrong person.

Deal breaker #5: Lack of Respect

Does your partner respect you? When you talk, do they actually listen to what you have to say, value your perspective, and treat you appropriately? It’s hard to be in love when you don’t feel heard or respected. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your partner call you inappropriate names?
  • Is your partner condescending or talks down to you?
  • Does your partner respect your personal boundaries?
  • If your partner crosses a line, do they acknowledge their mistake?
  • Does your partner treat others how they would want to be treated?
  • Is your partner always critical of you?

Also, besides respecting you, does your partner respect him- or herself?

Deal breaker#6: Vision for the Future

After a certain period of time, many people ask themselves, “where is this relationship headed?” Do you see yourself being with your partner long-term, or even for the rest of your life? Does your partner share your views, or do they focus on what’s happening now? If they don’t have a long-term vision or a very different one from yours, it may be time to cut your losses.

Deal breaker #7: Disagreements on having children

This ties into the previous point. Unfortunately, in order for a relationship to stand the test of time and make both of you deliriously happy, you must be on the same page about whether you want to have children or not and even how many and when. Here, deep love and respect for each other just aren’t enough. It never ceases to amaze me how many people get hitched without having this one sorted. If you want children and your partner says he doesn’t or is unsure (often the diplomat’s way of saying no), take her word at face value and leave. It’s nice to have hopes and dreams in this life. We all need them. But love simply is not enough to overcome this kind of disagreement. So, get clarity on this issue before you make any long-term plans.

I hope this list illuminates at least some of the issues that may not be worth trying to work out. I will add a post about common areas of conflicts in relationships that are NOT deal breakers in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned…