How to life

What Are Your Relationship Deal Breakers?

What are the qualities that you must have in a relationship? What are the behaviors that you simply can’t stand?

The dating Web site eHarmony asks all its members these questions, and the answers offer a glimpse into the collective minds of men and women as they embark on a new relationship.

When eHarmony members begin to communicate with a prospective date, both sides are required to exchange a list of “must haves” and “can’t stands.” These are the positive and negative qualities that are nonnegotiable and help the couple decide if they want to pursue a dating relationship.

Now eHarmony has analyzed the “must have” and “can’t stand” responses of nearly 720,000 members, identifying the top 10 relationship deal breakers for men and women.

Men and women agree on many of the “must haves.” They want a sense of humor, someone who is affectionate and kind, chemistry, good communication and loyalty. Not surprisingly, both sexes want someone who is emotionally healthy, and who is honest and has strong character.

But there were also differences. Men said they must have a woman who is patient, meaning she “can handle life’s frustrations or momentary setbacks with a patient and steady demeanor.” A partner who is “passionate” was the seventh most important quality listed by men, but passion didn’t make the top 10 list for women.

Instead, women said they must have a partner who is financially responsible and committed to family life, qualities that were not listed as important by men

Men and women were mostly in agreement about what they can’t stand in a relationship, although there were differences in how they ranked various behaviors. Both men and women posted similar concerns about lying, cheating, rude behavior and drug use.

Infidelity was the fourth most common “can’t stand” for women and the sixth most common response for men. More concerning to men was poor hygiene, which they ranked fourth; it was the seventh most common concern for women. Mean-spirited behavior was the fifth most common concern for men, while women ranked it in eighth place. Meanwhile, women said an inability to control anger, by either yelling or bottling it up, was their fifth biggest concern, but for men, anger management dropped to eighth place. Laziness ranked ninth for women and 10th for men in terms of undesirable qualities.

The final quality that women “can’t stand” was being racist. But for men, the remaining deal breaker was “excessive overweight.”

What do you think of the eHarmony list? Are there other must-have or can’t-stand qualities you think about before embarking on a relationship? Tell us about it by joining the discussion below.

By Tara Parker-Pope
NY Times
February 1, 2011