Lazy? Needy? Bad Sex? The Top 13 Relationship Deal Breakers
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Lazy? Needy? Bad Sex? The Top 13 Relationship Deal Breakers


He speaks with a mouth full of food. He can’t go longer than 10 seconds without checking his iPhone. He wears a smaller jeans size than me. The list of relationship deal breakers that I’ve heard could go on for miles. But that’s not unusual.

A series of six studies published together in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people put more emphasis on negative traits than positive ones while evaluating a potential mate. In other words, a deal-breaking trait hurts a potential mate’s chances more than the average deal-making characteristic helps.  

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The studies also found that while both sexes are selective about long-term partners, women are likely to be a bit pickier, probably because they have more riding on their selection, including the nine months of pregnancy. As the researchers posit, women “are biologically obligated to expend a higher minimum investment in offspring.” 

Both sexes had more deal breakers as they aged, possibly because they had more experience from previous relationships, or because the stakes were higher as men and women looked to start having children. Individuals that considered themselves a good catch were also found to have more deal breakers.

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The researchers’ questionnaire asked 5,541 single Americans about 17 different traits that might cause someone to reject a potential long-term mate. Below are the 13 qualities that were most commonly cited as deal breakers:

Disheveled or unclean appearance
Men: 63 percent
Women: 71 percent 

Men: 60 percent
Women: 72 percent 

Too needy
Men: 57 percent
Women: 69 percent 

No sense of humor
Men: 50 percent
Women: 58 percent 

Lives more than 3 hours away
Men: 51 percent
Women: 47 percent 

Bad sex
Men: 44 percent
Women: 50 percent 

Lacks self-confidence
Men: 33 percent
Women: 47 percent 

Too much TV/videogames
Men: 25 percent
Women: 41 percent 

Low sex drive
Men: 39 percent
Women: 27 percent

Men: 32 percent
Women: 34 percent

Talks too much
Men: 26 percent
Women: 20 percent

Too quiet
Men: 11 percent
Women: 17 percent 

Men: 11 percent
Women: 17 percent