Picture this. You’re at an intimate gathering of friends or friends of friends and you spot a man who immediately catches your eye. You give him your best “come hither” smile, or you take the initiative and make your way across the room and strike up a conversation.

By all accounts, the man is a winner. First of all, he is FINE, with skin so smooth you have to resist the urge to touch it. On top of that, he’s definitely interested in you and his (absolutely striking) eyes are intently focused on your every word. As you talk you learn he’s degreed up, with the job to match and intelligence and ambition to spare.

On paper, he is simply amazing. In you’re head you are already planning your outfit for your first date, and then it happens. He says or does something that completely breaks the deal.

Over the holidays I met a man (we’ll call him Jay) at a friend’s party who I thought had potential. For starters, Jay was extremely attractive (literally tall, dark, and handsome) and as soon as we struck up a conversation, it was like no one else was in the room. Throughout the evening we talked about how 90s music far outshines the mess on the radio today, dabbled in a bit of politics, lamented about how L.A. has no good Jamaican food spots, and spent most of the night in our own little world of conversation. Having been out of the dating scene for years, happening upon a handsome, well-educated, musically compatible, and funny (!!) man who seemed to get my sarcastic sense of humor felt almost like I’d stuck the lotto.

The next day I called my girl to get the details about Jay, who happened to be her coworker, and she confirmed what I learned the previous night. He was single, no drama, very sweet, a hard worker, and he was genuinely a cool guy. Score.

“But . . . ,” she said, and I held my breath wondering what it could be. “He’s an atheist.”

*cue ominous movie music*

“An atheist?” I asked in disbelief. “You mean agnostic?” I was hoping for something I could work with.

“He’s an atheist,” she confirmed. “But he’s really, really nice.”

I thanked her for the information and got off of the phone, totally disappointed. An atheist? I thought.

I mulled over whether or not to call Jay for a while, but ultimately decided against it. Although I’m not a Holy Roller, I do believe heavily in God and couldn’t see how having such differing philosophies could ever turn out good. I told myself there was bound to be a point when we challenged each other’s view and just could not get passed it, so I left it alone.

Unlike something superficial like his bank account balance, Jay’s religious beliefs (or lack there of) was a complete deal breaker for me. Instead of ignoring my principles in the hopes that our differing values wouldn’t be an issue (or that he would change later on), I kept it moving.

Many times when we are on the hunt for a mate we get our hearts broken because we overlook our list of deal breakers. While trivial things like height, personal style, or salary might give us pause; they shouldn’t completely prevent us from pursing someone we like. However, immense moral or philosophical differences should stop us dead in our tracks and keep us from moving forward.

Here are some common deal breakers that can put the kibosh on any courtship.

A Lack of Honesty: Little white lies might be annoying, but may not totally break the deal. However, lying about major things such as relationship status, medical history, children, or a criminal record is almost certain to put an end to a blooming relationship.

A Cheating Heart: While not totally impossible to overcome for some, infidelity is one sure-fire way to kill a relationship. Being unfaithful is tantamount to relationship suicide, and the road to get past a partner’s transgressions might be harder than just moving on.

No Communication: Sometimes lovers have different communication styles and bridging that difference can be difficult, but not impossible. However, when one person has no idea what the other is thinking or feeling, the communication breakdown can be deadly to the relationship.

Jealousy: In the beginning you thought it was cute. Your partner checked in on you, called several times a day just to say hello, and joked about being completely heartbroken if you ever left them for someone else. But as time goes on, jealousy can turn from cute to dangerous very, very quickly. Soon, checking your partner’s phone or stopping by unannounced can lead to emotional and even physical abuse.

Being Unequally Yoked: It is true that sometimes opposites attract, but there is a limit to everything. Vast differences in opinions on politics, religion, morals, or values can set a relationship up for failure before it even begins. Sure, some are able to get past their philosophical differences, but trying to find the common ground regarding potentially polarizing topics can be nearly impossible.

Everyone is different and the things that might be a deal breaker for me might be negotiable for you. However, when dealing with matters of the heart it’s important to go into any potential relationship knowing exactly what you want, and can or cannot handle, so that you don’t get your feelings, and your heart, hurt later on.

What are some of your relationship deal breakers? Sound Off!

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