We talk a lot about red flags. These are the little–and sometimes big–behaviors and opinions that show that someone may not be a good match for us. The thing about red flags is that they’re not necessarily a reason to break up on their own. They’re more a little hint that you might not be compatible. One red flag with an otherwise awesome guy might be something you discuss and work through, rather than breaking up. And one person’s red flag may be another’s green flag. Deal breakers, on the other hand, are like red flags on steroids. These are the dating behaviors that should be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t matter how sweet the guy is–if he has one of these dating deal breakers, it’s time to break up for good.
1. Controlling your spending. Financial abuse is one of those deal breakers that can fly under the radar, starting small. Maybe he makes a lot more than you so he insists on “guiding” your purchases. Regardless of who makes what, you should always have freedom when it comes to money. You should avoid people who want to control you, and that includes finances.
2. Being unresponsive. Sure, some people aren’t as into texting as others. That’s fine. But if your partner never gets back to you in a timely manner–or at all–why even bother dating them? It’s only going to get worse.
3. Not respecting your boundaries. Whatever the boundary, it’s not cool when someone disrespects it. It’s one thing if they don’t know, but if you have to keep reminding them after they break your boundary, it’s time to say goodbye.
4. Resorting to the silent treatment anytime things get tough. A good partner will engage with you when you’re having an argument. But if he resorts to the silent treatment for hours or even days, he doesn’t have the right amount of emotional maturity to be in an adult relationship. Silence doesn’t solve anything–it’s just a way to wear you down.
5. Disagreeing on having children. You could be with an amazing, loving partner, but if one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t, this is a deal breaker. Unfortunately, this can change in the middle of a long term relationship, too. People change their minds. It’ll hurt, but it’s better to end things with a disagreement this important.
6. Looking for a mommy, rather than an equal partner. Why are you suddenly the one doing all the cleaning? All the planning? Making all his appointments? If he’s content to sit back while you wait on him, you know he was just looking for a mommy or a bang maid and not a partner. You’ll never get out of this what you were hoping for.
7. Using weaponized incompetence to get out of everything. He insists he’d burn the house down if he even so much as tried to boil water, so you might as well do it. He doesn’t know how to work the washing machine. He thinks he shouldn’t clean because you do such a better job. These are bullshit excuses out of a bare minimum man who thinks he can manipulate you into doing everything. Run.
8. Not putting in the same amount of effort or time. You should be with someone who likes you as much as you like them. Not putting in the same effort as you is a clear sign that he’s not that into you. You deserve better.
9. Not standing up for you. Maybe his friends make fun of your or his mom keeps getting in the way. A good partner will stand up for you when others are tearing you down, and a bad one will let all of that slide. He’s either or afraid of confrontation or he actually agrees with them. Either way, it’s bad news.
10. Being stuck in the outdated patriarchal dating ways. He’s the man, you’re the woman. You cook and clean, he brings home the money. What decade are we living in?
11. Not wanting you to see your friends or family. Never date a guy who tries to isolate you from your support system. It’s often a way to keep you away from people who will alert you of his bad behavior.
12. Substance abuse or gambling. As much as you might want to help him in his recovery, no one gets better unless they’re the one who wants it. And in the meantime, he’ll only take you down with him.
13. Racist or homophobic behavior. You can’t call yourself an ally if you’re dating someone like this.
14. Getting caught in lies. Lying is a no-go no matter the reason. Trust is such a huge thing in a healthy relationship, and as soon as that trust is broken, there’s very little–if anything–that can repair it.
15. Cheating, duh. Your partner should be all-in, not getting something from people outside the relationship.
16. Verbal, emotional, or physical violence. Often, this starts off small. Little incidents he can explain away because of stress or alcohol. Then it escalates. Just remember: It’s not your fault. Get help in finding a safe way to leave. You can find out more from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).