Wise Guys – What’s the #1 Relationship Deal-Breaker for Men?

photo by B_Rosen

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What is the number one deal-breaker for guys in relationships?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

daniel_100Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Sexual compatibility, which could include chemistry, quantity, styles, kink-acceptance, and/or willingness to explore, monogamy versus polyamory. It isn’t the deal-breaker with all guys, but likely most guys.

james_glazebrook_100Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): There are probably as many deal-breakers for guys as there are guys. If you want to get with me you’d better not have a fondness for the color pink, hair lighter than your skin (albinos excepted), bad taste in music or — worse — no taste in music, more hang-ups than me, a cat allergy, or “spirituality”.

But the one universal that should (but doesn’t always) break deals is cheating. I know that people put all sorts of betrayals behind them, but I don’t know how they do it. I’ll never understand how they can look into the eyes of someone who loved them so little, or forgot about them so completely, even for a moment, and feel anything but resentment.

I’ve only been cheated on once — to my knowledge — and I reacted so appallingly that after the inevitable breakup she burned a bunch of my stuff. As far as I’m concerned there is no excuse. In the words of Liz Lemon, “That’s a deal-breaker, ladies!”

mark_luczak_100Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): My first decision was to rule out things that come to mind that are habitual, like smoking — they range from the annoying to the not-easily-overcome-by-any-means, but I think they’d all categorically fall short of contention for the Number One Deal-Breaker. I then dismissed all things superficial — yes, attraction, physical and otherwise, is a necessary component of a relationship, but it could be said that these things could, and even should, be overcome toward the seeking of true relationship fulfillment.

I found myself considering even bigger things in all manner of seriousness (politics, family, religion, on and on), but eventually thinking about each, “Well, that’s pretty bad, but if both partners are willing to identify the problem and are willing to accept and work through it, even with outside help, then there’s no reason they can’t eventually move forward on the same page.”

And it was this line of thinking itself that indirectly led me to my quasi-philosophical choice of number one deal-breaker: “Absence of aptitude in communication.” It’s always been a life mantra of mine that anything can be tackled with an openness and ability to communicate until a constructive resolution is reached. Now, this can apply whether it’s an abject absence of communication skill on one’s part alone, or the collective breakdown of communication between the two parties (they might individually be pretty good communicators, but their styles clash enough that they just can’t make it work together). Either way, it’s a huge obstacle to overcome successfully, if it even can be, and it might just be the thing that ultimately spells doom sooner or later.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook of Most Likely To; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. If it has already bloomed into a relationship, not just dating, then attraction, chemistry, bad-but-acceptable-habits, are already a non-issue. So I’d have to agree that the deal break would have to be cheating.

    Otherwise, fraud – the person presented themselves one way but was then revealed to be nothing like that.

  2. @ Ted – Im so glad there is at least a small part of the male population that can be considered “ass men”, otherwise I would die a sinlge crazy cat lady… lol. But boobies are fun, I can tell why they are in high demand.

  3. I’m with Johnny on this one-weed them out carefully in the beginning equals less heartbreak and headache down the road.

    Personally, two big dealbreakers for me are any kind of flakiness/irresponible behavior and cheapness. People usually reveal themselves rather quickly if you pay attention.

  4. I have a whole lot. Well, I have a rigorous screening procedure in the dating phase, let’s say. If a woman makes it past that, my relationship dealbreakers are relatively few.

    I’m for weeding out the dealbreaker types before it becomes a relationship.

    Of course, as James said, cheating is Universal Deal Breaker #1.

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