A few of your partner’s habits, behavior, and quirks are getting on your nerves. You might find some of those qualities insufferable in the long run, some you can accept, and the others you can talk about and work it out. But relationship turn-offs can stand in the way of your “happily ever after”.
To find out what kind of actions and behavior wear people down and ultimately sour the relationship, we reached out to psychologist Jayant Sundaresan. He says, “Most of the time, the relationships we seek consist of things we grew up seeing. That includes basic honesty, kindness, and respect. But thanks to movies and romance novels, our preconceived notions on relationships are not just dramatic these days, but hyperbolized.”
What Are Turn-Offs In A Relationship?
Turn-offs in a relationship aren’t just associated sexually. Your behavior, dressing sense, and even personality can be some of the biggest turn-offs for women and men both. to some people. If you are confused and don’t know why your relationship isn’t working out, then maybe some of your actions are driving your partner away, or vice versa.
Jayant says, “The meaning of turn-off is pretty simple to understand. The way you are drawn to a person’s personality and habits, the same way you can feel repelled by a few traits of the same person. If you are a soft speaker, then you will be put off by people who speak way too loudly.”
The 25 Biggest Relationship Turn-Offs That Spell Doom
It’s not like you are perfect yourself. Nobody is. Your partner might find you lacking in so many areas too. If it’s a turn-off you can’t live with, then talk to them about it before you create a huge fuss. Jayant says, “Very often, the things that turn you off are because of your upbringing.
“Chances are you will find major turn-offs in relationships if they are diametrically opposite to you and to the people you grew up with.” Below are some examples of turn-offs in a relationship you need to read. Find out how many of these behaviors you possess yourself.
1. The biggest relationship turn-off — cheating
Jayant says, “This is one of the major relationship turn-offs for many people and a deal breaker. If you’ve cheated in the past, then this fact might drive your partner away even though you have no intentions of cheating on them. The ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ belief is so deep-rooted and many people back off once they find out their partner has cheated in their previous relationships.”
People who cheat most often find it exciting. It’s a selfish and immature behavior that not only damages the relationship but puts it at the risk of termination. According to statistics, over 90% of Americans consider infidelity as immoral and around 30% to 40% of Americans cheat on their partners.
2. Thinking they are never wrong
This is honestly one of the personality turn-offs that I cannot tolerate. My partner has a heightened notion of himself and thinks he is always right. I have to make him understand after every conflict that both our opinions can be right.
Jayant says, “When one partner thinks they are always right, then it’s one of the examples of turn-offs in a relationship. A person who is never wrong will never apologize. If you never apologize, then the relationship will face the inevitable end sooner or later. As simple as that.”
Related Reading: 6 Signs You Are Leading Someone On Unintentionally And What To Do
3. Being condescending
Arrogance and condescension usually stem from a hidden but large lack of self-esteem. If they treat you well, yet are rude to everyone else, then there are chances they might direct that behavior toward you in the future as well.
Jayant adds, “Being rude is one of the signs of lack of respect in a relationship. It’s one of the major relationship turn-offs when they are rude to especially those less unfortunate, have less power, or less social status than them. Like the waiter who is serving food or their domestic worker. A person like that will show no humility and will always want to be perceived as someone who has a higher position in life.”
4. Poor personal hygiene can be a turn-off in a relationship
I asked my friend Jennifer, what are turn-offs for a girl in a relationship? She says, “I dated a man once who had poor personal hygiene. He wouldn’t take a shower unless and until we had plans of going out somewhere fancy. I was repulsed by his inability to keep himself clean.”
Similarly, poor hygiene and lack of cleanliness can be relationship turn-offs for guys as well. Jayant says, “Many men consider body hair on women unattractive. It’s an instant turn-off for sexist men. Hair is a crowning jewel for women when it’s on their head. But anywhere else is frowned upon.”
5. Selfish in bed and otherwise
The practice of give-and-take is one of the building blocks of a relationship. You can’t be selfish and assume your partner will be okay with it. Being selfish emotionally and sexuallly are some of the personality turn-offs that are hard to deal with. Jayant says, “When a partner is selfish in bed and only thinks about their likes and dislikes, then it might create a huge roadblock between them.”
When asked on Reddit about selfish people in bed, one user shared, “If that person isn’t willing to give you pleasure in bed, I doubt they will care much about your overall needs outside of bed. This means they probably won’t try to be helpful or even be there when you need their support. The very least they should try to do is make sure you orgasm.”
6. Not knowing how to fight
Jayant says, “Yelling when angry or during arguments is one of the relationship turn-offs. Being vocally aggressive and violent just to dominate the conversation can damage the relationship in many ways. The person on the receiving end of this yelling can shut down and crawl inside their shell. To avoid this, there are some fair fighting rules for couples which must be followed if you don’t want to hurt your partner’s sentiments.”
Knowing how to fight fair in a relationship is one of the things that will maintain your relationship’s harmony. Raising your voice at your partner regularly is a form of domestic violence and in no circumstance should one feel entitled to yell just because they’re stressed or have a lot on their plate.
7. Not defending/supporting your partner is one of the relationship turn-offs
Jayant shares, “You and your partner are a team. You should know the fundamentals of support in a relationship and be supportive of one another. When you’re in a group setting, you can’t leave them alone to defend themselves. Even if their point is invalid, don’t rectify them right there. Come back home and talk about it. Defend your spouse in public. Correct them in private.”
This doesn’t mean you go and punch someone like Will Smith did. There are some dos and don’ts of defending your spouse in public. You don’t have to get aggressive. You can use these ways to stand up for your partner:
- Set boundaries with people who talk rubbish about your partner
- Talk to your partner about how they would want to be defended
- Ask them first if they even need you to step in, in case your partner would like to take on their defense themselves
8. Saying no to new things in bed
What are some turn-offs in a relationship? Saying no to experimenting in bed. When sexual activities become a chore, it gets boring. Sex plays a vital a role in increasing intimacy between romantic partners. Jayant shared his thoughts about bedroom boredom. He says, “When physical intimacy becomes a pattern and remains the same, then it’s one of the major turn offs in a relationship.
“Most people who don’t do anything new in bed have a closed mind on oral sex too.” Below are some of the things you can follow to spice up your sex life:
- Sit down and communicate your needs
- Indulge in more and more foreplay
- Don’t make sex a rountine. Be spontaneous and get playful whenever you have the time
- Let them know it’s a team effort and and it’s not just about one person’s desires
9. Pet problem
I love cats and I find people who don’t like cats to be dubious. My former partner hated cats and would ask me to lock them in a room whenever he came around. That really bothered me. It’s one of the relationship turn offs I can’t tolerate. If you like me, you have to like my pets as well. There’s no other way to go about it.
A study by the University of Buffalo proves that couples who own a cat or dog share a closer bond and respond better to stress as compared to couples who don’t. Couples who own pets have better intimacy and interact better.
10. Jealousy and possessiveness
If you are jealous and possessive about your partner, then there are chances they find this as one of the relationship turn offs. It’s not a positive trait in any way. It just allows your partner to think that you don’t trust them. There’s a reason it’s called a ‘partnership’ and not ‘ownership’.
When asked on Reddit about jealous partners, a user shared, “Yes, jealousy is a turn-off. And what comes out of it just isn’t pretty to see on any human being. It assumes too much in a paranoid way, and it’s like a weird territorial “I own this” thing.”
11. Too much ex-talk is one of the relationship turn-offs
Jayant says, “If your partner talks too much about their ex, it’s clear they aren’t over them yet. They are still hung up on them. Comparing you to their ex is another sign they aren’t ready to be with you. It’s an instant relationship turn-off. They might even begin to question the purpose of their relationship and consider this is one of the signs past relationship is affecting the present.”
We asked Gina, a makeup artist from Pasadena: What are some turn offs for a girl in a relationship? She said, “Back when I was in the dating game, I never liked when people brought up their exes. It’s such a turn-off especially when you are trying to get to know someone and they are stuck on their past. It was always pretty deflating for me to listen to. Too much ex-talk makes me walk away from that person.”
12. Going fast in the relationship
According to a survey conducted in the U.S, researchers found that couples who dated for one to two years before marriage (compared to those who dated less than a year) were 20% less likely to get a divorce; and couples who dated for three years or longer were 39% less likely to part.
No one likes to feel trapped or pressured to give in to their partner’s demands. This is one of the dating red flags you need to be aware of. Jayant says, “Instead of moving at a pace that’s comfortable for both of you, you are moving at a pace that you personally want.
“If you are pushing things for your own agenda, then it’s one of the turn-offs in a relationship. Both of you need to be comfortable and be at the same pace for a relationship to work out successfully.”
13. Crossing boundaries and invading privacy
Invasion of privacy and crossing boundaries are some of the relationship turn-offs for guys and girls. That’s why it’s important to draw all types of boundaries before becoming too comfortable in each other’s space. For example, you need to tell them you need your alone time irrespective of what stage your relationship is at. Healthy boundaries lead to healthy relationships.
14. Bad listener
Jayant says, “When they are mentally absent when you’re having a conversation, it is one of the relationship turn-offs. Making your partner feel heard and seen is very essential in a relationship. When your attention is elsewhere, they might feel neglected.”
This is one of the things I am guilty of doing. I am a selective listener. If what my partner is saying doesn’t interest me, I zone out. I go into my own ghost world. My partner got severely offended by this once and said, “If you aren’t interested in what I have to say, then I don’t think you deserve the pleasure of my company.” I am mending my ways now.
Related Reading: The 18 Signs Of A Confident Man That Women Look For
15. Displaying arrogance
Jayant shares, “It’s very crucial to understand the thin line between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is good but arrogance is an immediate turn-off. Acting like a know-it-all is one of the personality turn offs many people can’t endure.
“Showing off their own achievements and making the other person feel bad for their unachieved dreams are not good traits to have. It’s not just arrogant but also disdainful. Be subtle about your achievements. Blowing your own trumpet is extremely silly. Allow your partner to naturally compliment you rather than forcing it out of them by rubbing your success in their face.”
16. Always checking out other people
This is one of the relationship turn-offs for guys and girls. You are on a date with them and they are constantly checking out the person on the other table. It’s disrespectful and infuriating. It gives rise to insecurities as well. Follow the tips below if your partner has wandering eyes:
- Don’t make it a huge deal. But if it happens all the time, put your foot down
- Initially, tell them you are not suspicious but that you are hurt
- Consider if it’s something worth fighting over
- Always remember that this isn’t a reflection of your worth
When asked on Reddit about their partners checking other people out, a user replied, “I used to date this guy who would straight up stop talking in the middle of a sentence and turn his head to stare at women. It really hurt my feelings.”
17. Suspicious of you
Jayant says, “If you are pressured to tell every tiny detail about your day, then there are chances you are feeling suffocated in the relationship. This is one of the classic examples of turn-offs in a relationship. They will always check your phone with or without your knowledge. They will monitor your time with friends and family. Being suspicious is one of the things that ruin relationships.”
Suspicion stems from fear. They have trust issues due to conditioning, upbringing, past relationships, or childhood traumas. Below are some helpful tips to tackle feelings of suspicion:
- Analyze their behavior and red flags
- Seek out friends whom you can talk to about this
- Don’t jump to conclusion and assume that your partner is cheating on you
- Let your partner know about your feelings gently
18. Poor at making out
In a study titled ‘The Effect of Romantic Kissing on Mate Desirability’, it was found that men generally placed less emphasis on kissing than women, and that women placed greater value on kissing during both the early stages of courtship, potentially as a mate assessment device.
Diana, a nurse in her early 30s, says, “Being a bad kisser is one of the turn-offs in a relationship. They are poor at making out and want to jump to coitus right away. It’s even more repulsive if they have bad breath.”
19. Putting the other person down
Jayant says, “If you are the type of person to make your partner feel silly about the things they like, that’s an extreme form of pessimism which could arguably extend to emotional abuse. They belittle you, constantly criticize you, and make you feel inferior to them.” People should look for a partner who takes part in their interests, boosts their confidence, and not make them feel stupid for their choices.
Related Reading: 11 Examples Of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors That Ruin Relationships
Any kind of immaturity, be it emotional, intellectual, or financial, is one of the relationship turn-offs for many people. Immaturity and ‘go with the flow’ attitude is quite enchanting in the beginning but acting immature in serious situations can create a lot of problems in the long run.
Emotional immaturity can make you look selfish and aloof. Financial immaturity can make you look like an overspender who has no idea about money management. Intellectual immaturity will make you look ignorant. It’s important to be mature if you want the relationship to survive.
21. Being needy and clingy
What are turn-offs for a girl in a relationship that she can’t let go of? Being needy and clingy. It’s the same for anyone, really. A sense of freedom must be present in every relationship. You can’t cling to your partner 24×7 and expect them to be okay with it. You need to realize that they have a life of their own. They have interests and hobbies that they want to pursue. They have friends they want to meet. You can’t expect them to hang out with you all day long. It’s being selfish in a relationship that destroys it.
22. Prejudice and bigotry
You might be bisexual in a straight-passing relationship. In that case, you need a partner who’s an ally to the entire community and isn’t queerphobic in any way. Or you might belong to a marginalized caste while your partner is from the oppressor caste. Then you need a partner who believes and advocates for social equality, and actively reads up on it.
Jayant says, “Prejudice has to be one of the biggest relationship turn-offs ever. That includes fat shaming, racism, mocking at someone’s physical appearance, gender stereotyping, no regard for equality, and thinking they are better than everyone else.”
Ariana, a journalist in her 20s, says, “Passing disrespectful comments on other people’s beliefs, values, and religion has to be one of the major turn-offs in a relationship. If you don’t believe in the things I do, then fine. I have no problem with it. But don’t disrespect my beliefs and think it’s okay to joke about it.”
23. Lack of understanding
There is no greater act of love than to try to understand someone. To sit and comprehend what your partner is saying and where they are coming from are some romantic gestures that will keep the love intact between two people. Whereas, lack of understanding has full potential to ruin even the happiest of couples.
Lack of understanding is one of the problems almost every couples face. If not given attention to, it may lead to emotional detachment in a relationship. Below are some tips to develop understanding between partners:
- Communicate with the intention of listening and not to make them listen
- Listen without judgment
- Practice empathy
- Allow them to be open and real with you
24. Never initiating sex or wanting only sex
No two people can have the same level of desire for sex. Never initiating sex or only wanting sex can make your partner feel unwanted, undesirable, and used. When either of that takes place, the emotional intimacy begins to fade as well.
Jayant says, “Never initiating intimacy is one of the relationship turn-offs for guys and girls. All of us like to feel wanted. When they are the only one throwing themselves at you, then they might feel as if you aren’t interested in them. Initiating intimacy is a sweet gesture that brings two people together.
“On the other hand, always wanting sex is also a turn-off. If your partner doesn’t want anything to do with you after sex and calls you only if they want to have sex, then it’s obvious they are just using you.”
25. Frequent lies
Lies are something I personally cannot tolerate. It feels nothing short of disrespect. If they lie once, there’s always a suspicion that they’ll lie again. Jayant says, “Lies have the power to destroy relationships. If your partner keeps lying to you, then you might stop trusting them soon. You will be suspicious of them. Negative thoughts will occupy your head and you won’t be able to get rid of them very easily. You need to learn how to stop lying in a relationship before it’s too late.”
Mentioned below are some other relationship turn-offs you need to be aware of:
- Lack of ambition and confidence
- When they are always on their phone
- Indecisive about their feelings
- Name-calling, manipulation, and controlling behavior
- Trash-talking their exes
- Having no opinions of their own
- Avoiding issues and healthy conflicts
How To Overcome Relationship Turn-Offs
You need to be mindful before approaching your partner about their turn-offs because it might offend them. They might take this as a criticism and feel rejected, and might even retaliate by pointing out your flaws. If you love them, the number one rule is to let little things go. But if it’s disrespectful behavior, lack of understanding, and other major things you resent, then have a discussion about it. No accusations, arguments, or condemnation. Just a polite discussion.
- Relationship turn-offs can be related to personality, prejudice, jealousy, dressing sense, hygiene, and mannerisms
- Stubborn, selfish, and an arrogant nature can also be a turn-off
- You can overcome relationship turn-offs by communicating without judgment and validating each other’s responses
If you want perfection, then you will never be happy in any relationship. After all, do you want a partner or a trophy to show people? Cover each other’s weaknesses. Bridge the differences by communicating and evolving. Try to work on the relationship and grow together. But if the turn-offs pile up and overshadow the good parts, it’s best to leave.