When Should You Bring Up Your Deal Breakers In A New Relationship?

It all paid off: swiping endlessly on dating apps, dealing with awkward pick-up lines, and feeling those first-date nerves. Now, you're finally in a new relationship. This exciting stage of infatuation is what most people associate with falling in love, but it's also a critical time to determine how compatible you and your new partner really are.

Just as important as the first kiss are the first intimate chats, where you uncover each other's core beyond the chemistry. Therapist Kimberly Panganiban told The Knot, "Vulnerability begins to build the wall of trust, which will continue to pay off throughout the relationship ... Make intentional time to get to know one another on a deep level. Creating time and space to talk about dreams, fears, hopes, aspirations, feelings, goals, values, and needs will help lead to a strong emotional connection."

One conversation that will likely come up at some point with your new boo is one around relationship deal breakers. However, the timing of this conversation can make or break your relationship going forward.

How to identify relationship deal breakers

Before deciding when to discuss deal breakers in a new relationship, it's crucial to define what they are. Simply put, deal breakers are a partner's behaviors or characteristics that won't be tolerated. They act as standards for the relationship, making it clear where the line is drawn between acceptable conditions and those that elicit a breakup. And not everyone has the same list of deal breakers. Psychotherapist Raina Wadhawan told The Zoe Report that people's "varying needs, experiences, and childhoods" determine our relationship deal breakers. Depending on how you were raised or what relationships you experienced in the past, your non-negotiables may be different from your friends or even your partner's.

Still, there are some common deal breakers that most people would agree on. According to one recent study, these include abuse, arrogance, clinginess, filthiness, lack of ambition, hostility, and lack of physical attractiveness. Many of these make sense. But relationship experts warn against having too many deal breakers. "People who take what psychologists call the 'shopping list' approach to love struggle a lot more because they're trying to find someone who checks a million boxes," Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., of The Kinsey Institute told Self. Therefore, it's better to focus on a few meaningful deal breakers, like opposing values or lifestyles, rather than several superficial ones.

Here's when to discuss deal breakers in a new relationship

Identifying personal deal breakers can be tricky, but deciding when to share them in a new relationship can be even harder. Some people may worry that discussing deal breakers early on will scare off a new partner. However, opening up sooner rather than later can help you find out if a partner's actions or characteristics are really compatible with your needs, saving you time and heartache. Jamie Bronstein, LCSW, told PopSugar, "You should talk about dealbreakers as close to the beginning of a relationship as possible ... Make it clear what you will and won't stand for, what is OK and what is not OK for you in a relationship." Shanet Dennis, LMFT, echoed this to Self, saying, "... if you communicate [your needs] early on, you give the other person the option to choose to be a part of that or not."

Even if your relationship is smooth sailing so far, disagreements pop up in every relationship eventually, and discussing deal breakers early can reduce conflict and confusion later on. So whether you're still at the talking stage or already leaving toothbrushes in each other's bathrooms, it's not too early (or too late) to speak up about your needs.