Flashback Friday: Scientists identify the top 10 relationship deal-breakers.

By Seriously Science | October 20, 2017 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/K. Kendall

Photo: flickr/K. Kendall

Finally, an expression popularized by the TV show 30 Rock has made it into the scientific literature. In this study, the scientists used surveys to identify and rank the top 10 relationship deal-breakers for both short-term and long-term relationships. The table is reproduced below, and you’ll note some interesting patterns–for example, “is bad in bed” and “smells bad” are only deal-breakers for short-term relationships. People also tended to weigh deal-breakers more heavily than “deal-makers” (e.g., “is intelligent” or “has a good sense of humor”).  In the spirit of continuing this important research, please share your own deal-breakers in the comments below!

Relationship Dealbreakers: Traits People Avoid in Potential Mates

“Mate preference research has focused on traits people desire in partners (i.e., deal-makers) rather than what traits they avoid (i.e., deal-breakers), but mate preferences calibrate to both maximize benefits and minimize costs. Across six studies (N > 6,500), we identified and examined relationship deal-breakers, and how they function across relationship contexts. Deal-breakers were associated with undesirable personality traits; unhealthy lifestyles in sexual, romantic, and friendship contexts; and divergent mating strategies in sexual and romantic contexts. Deal-breakers were stronger in long-term (vs. short-term) relationship contexts, and stronger in women (vs. men) in short-term contexts. People with higher mate value reported more deal-breakers; people with less-restricted mating strategies reported fewer deal-breakers. Consistent with prospect and error management theories, people weighed deal-breakers more negatively than they weighed deal-makers positively; this effect was stronger for women (vs. men) and people in committed relationships. These findings support adaptive attentional biases in human social cognition.”

Bonus table from the full text: (Ed note: yes, there are repeats in list 1. Nice job, reviewers!)


Related content:
Flashback Friday: Can differing levels of sexual experience doom your relationship?
Does she want a hookup or a relationship? The answer is in her gaze.
I say a little prayer for you: praying for partner increases commitment in romantic relationships.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    is racist, bigoted” Scratch the NFL, BLM…US social policy beginning with 1965 “The Great Society.”

  • rejean levesque


  • OWilson

    Do we need scientists funded to waste their time with this?

    Ask a hundred people to list the reasons they broke up and tally the results?

    • http://stephan-zielinski.com/ Stephan Zielinski

      No, clearly if we want insights into the world, what we need to do is ask some nice middle-aged white men what the truth is and then stop.

      • OWilson

        Maybe it’s just socialist voyeurism! :)


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