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Published on June 5, 2020

12 Relationship Deal Breakers That You Shouldn’t Tolerate

12 Relationship Deal Breakers That You Shouldn’t Tolerate

Do you have relationship deal breakers?

A deal breaker is a factor to consider when deciding whether to follow through with something or not. It’s that little something that makes you say “I’m done!” even when you really love someone or you’ve been together forever.

It may sound harsh — after all, no relationship is perfect, right? — but having a list of relationship deal breakers is actually a healthy way to protect yourself from toxic situations.

Don’t get caught up in controlling, hurtful, and potentially dangerous relationships. Here are 12 relationship deal breakers that you should seriously consider when deciding whether your sweetheart is actually worth your time.

1. There Is Abuse in the Relationship

A healthy relationship is about respect, putting your spouse first, and treating them how you want to be treated.

On the other hand, a partner who lays a hand on you or emotionally abuses you is a major relationship deal-breaker[1].

Many people convince themselves that just because it happens once doesn’t mean it will happen again. Remember, you deserve a healthy relationship, and someone who abuses you physically or emotionally even once isn’t worth your time.

2. You’re a Secret

If you find out that your spouse hasn’t told their friends or family about you, run for your life! Because being a secret means one of three things.

  • They are already in a relationship and you are the side piece.
  • They can’t commit.
  • They are embarrassed by you.

Your time is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted being with someone who would rather keep you as their dirty little secret.

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3. Plans Are Constantly Cancelled

Does your partner always seem to be ditching out on plans with you last minute?

Sure, there are legitimate reasons that your partner may be doing this, such as being called into work unexpectedly, but feeling like the person you’re crazy about is bailing on your company in favor of partying with their friends is definitely shady.

If you find that your long-term partner starts doing this, it may be signs of a deeper problem in the relationship that needs to be discussed.

4. Substance Abuse Problems

Sitting down with a drink is a great way to relax — and let’s be honest, having a buzz on is fun! But if your spouse needs some sort of substance to have a good time, or if their personality drastically changes when they are under the influence, it can really throw you for a loop.

Substance abuse is one of the biggest relationship deal breakers on this list. It can cause your partner to mistreat you, be untrustworthy, waste money, and make poor decisions that will hurt you.

Why would you want to be around someone who is high or drunk 24/7, anyway?

5. Your Partner Isn’t Faithful

When it comes to cheating, put your foot down immediately. Don’t forgive and wait for the next round of heartbreak. If you have both agreed to a monogamous relationship, both parties should be respecting that decision.

Even if you put breaking your trust and your heart aside, your partner’s cheating on you puts you at risk for depression, sexually transmitted infections, and major embarrassment.

If your partner doesn’t love and respect you enough to stay faithful, dump them. They aren’t worth your time.

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6. They Fight Dirty

There are times when we’ve all said stupid things in the heat of an argument, but there’s a difference between getting caught up and using a disagreement as an excuse to be a complete jerk.

If, during an argument, your partner or spouse:

  • Brings up past experiences with the intention of hurting your feelings
  • Calls you rude or degrading names
  • Gaslights you to make you feel crazy
  • Attacks you instead of the issue
  • Uses the silent treatment

Then you should consider walking away.

Healthy relationships are about open communication and fair conflict resolutions[2] — not about seeing who can hurt the other more.

7. You Don’t Feel Good About the Relationship

Do you feel good about being around your partner, or do you get knots when you think about hanging out together?

Do you get anxiety when you think about your relationship?

Does your partner make you question your self-worth?

If so, something inside you is probably screaming: “This relationship isn’t right!” There is definitely something to be said for gut instinct when it comes to deciding whether or not to stay with someone.

If your gut is telling you something is off in your relationship, there probably is.

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8. You Want Different Things

Sometimes, even if you really love each other, your relationship game just isn’t meant to work out.

He wants East Coast, you want West.

She wants to save money, you want to spend.

He wants kids, you’re fine riding as a duo.

Even if you get along well, these fundamental differences in your goals and where you see your lives going are going to cause serious resentment problems if you don’t address them soon.

9. They’re Unbelievably Selfish

We’re all selfish from time to time, but some people take it too far.

If you feel like you’re giving your all to your spouse, and all they’re doing is taking, focusing on themselves, and taking advantage of your kindness, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship.

Don’t spend a second longer with a selfish narcissist. Trust me, it isn’t worth the headache.

10. They’re Always Jealous

Healthy jealousy is totally cool when it inspires couples to treat each other better and not take one another for granted.

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However, controlling, hack-your-Facebook-and-demand-your-phone-password jealousy[3] should never be tolerated. This is a sign of insecurity and can quickly develop into dangerous or abusive behavior. It’s better to get out before it reaches that point.

11. You Don’t Share Values

You may think that opposites attract — and that’s true! — but that doesn’t always mean they make the best partners.

If you are passionate about your politics or your faith and your spouse has opposing beliefs that upset or anger you, it could mean that your relationship wasn’t meant to be.

If you’re going to be in a relationship with someone with opposing values, be aware that it will take a great deal of time to work through how you talk about and handle those things. If you simply don’t have the patience or desire to do so, it’s time to walk away.

12. You’re Always Fighting

Do you feel like you and your spouse are always arguing?

Sure, even happy couples argue, but constantly arguing with a partner is one of our relationship deal breakers because it shows that you have poor communication skills.

Communication is everything when it comes to a healthy, happy relationship. Couples need to be able to talk to each other in order to build empathy, resolve problems, and get closer. This means addressing problems as the arise, not letting them sit and turn into huge fights down the line.

The Bottom Line

Life is far too short to spend it with someone who isn’t worth your time. If your spouse is controlling, annoying, or won’t seem to give you the time of day, it’s time to call it quits! This is obviously a difficult decision to make, but your future self will thank you when they’ve found someone who is better for them.

More Tips on Relationship Deal Breakers

Featured photo credit: Christian Fregnan via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

How To Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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