21 Things You Should Never Tolerate In A Relationship, No Matter What

Photo: Getty
couple hugging with woman peeking over man's shoulder

Cheating and abuse are the first things people think of when they consider what they should never tolerate in a healthy relationship.

Although it is rare, a cheater can change. I don’t think it is the rule that cheaters will change their ways. I think many cheaters probably remain that way for a long time.

Yet I believe that there are exceptions, so whilst from one perspective, I believe you should never tolerate cheating, it’s not that black and white. Every situation is different, and whether cheating should be tolerated or worked through and understood by both parties or not, depends on what happened, as well as the real, unadulterated reasons why the cheater cheated in the first place.

Of course, sometimes not cheating can be just as bad — one may not cheat on their partner, but for the sake of their own outdated rules may stay faithful on the surface to their partner, all the while ignoring real relationship issues and building up resentment which is a horrible thing to do to a significant other.

Sometimes, the behaviors that seem the most innocent on the surface can actually be deeply abusive. For example, acting like your partner is not causing you any hurt or anger (not being responsive) when you consciously know you’re withholding yourself (as well as withholding the truth).

But there's more.

RELATED: The 7 Most Common Relationship Problems — And How To Fix Each One

21 Things you should never tolerate in a relationship

1. Someone who doesn’t value connection.

Seek someone who wants to connect.

To be clear, how often a person calls you is not a reliable indicator of whether they value connection or not. Their choices in life and their behavior when you are together is a more reliable indicator, coupled with how connected it makes you feel to be with them.

Ask yourself: does this person, day-to-day, reflect someone who values their connection with me? Or does it more accurately reflect the actions of somebody who is looking for approval, validation, or novelty?

What does this person truly value? Do they value connection? Do they know the importance and the irreplaceable connection with one important person, like yourself? Or other individual family members?

2. They let you get away with being a user.

Differentiate between your partner criticizing your behavior and them giving you supportive, loving feedback, or simply just having good moral boundaries (which is a positive thing for them to have).

However, you shouldn't believe that them giving you criticism to feel superior to you means they're doing you any good. They may very well not be.

The key in this is that you both need to have good intent — to see each other do better.

Humans are made to grow in spirit. You and your significant other should care about each other’s morals. You should both also have standards for the way you treat yourself and others.

3. They have bad hygiene.

If you’ve given someone feedback about their hygiene, and they consistently refuse to do anything to change it because they “shouldn’t have to” or because they just don’t care, then you have a problem. The person who won’t change their habits that lead to dirty private parts, or an extremely stinky body, may not care about other important things — or just "let them go" — which will affect you, too.

Obviously, someone who is too good to do anything about their lack of hygiene could potentially mean you experiencing unnecessary symptoms of illness, and that is not something you want to tolerate or live with.

Illness and bacteria are everywhere — they are a part of us. It's not something in and of itself to be afraid of. But illness and disease tend to manifest and debilitate us more when hygiene or living conditions are dirty and unkempt.

4. They take no responsibility for their decisions and actions.

When something inconvenient happens, it is always someone else’s fault. If someone blames others a lot, then they are either under a lot of overwhelming stress, or they have not evolved beyond the very basic impulses humans have, or they just don’t care.

We all have a responsibility to try to take responsibility for our actions.

If one is not even willing to entertain that idea, and they place all the blame on you, then they are not the right person for you. Sometimes, people cannot handle the fact that they hurt you. Sometimes, people cannot handle the truth if it means acknowledging that they played a large part in something bad that happened.

Whoever comes to their senses first needs to take responsibility, in that moment. But when this becomes a pattern, you need to know when it's time to go because their behavior is untenable and intolerable.

5. They have a complete inability to show agreeableness.

Agreeableness is when someone displays behaviors that can be described as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm and considerate.

Don’t kid yourself. Does this person display and demonstrate warmth? Have they ever displayed any warmth towards you, animals or anyone else? Have they ever proven to be sympathetic or considerate of your situation? Or your feelings?

If they can't meet you halfway, it's time to walk away altogether.

RELATED: If He Has These 9 Traits, Tread Lightly — He Might Be A Psychopath

6. They're passionate and ambitious — not angry and aggressive.

A repetitive pattern of anger is not necessarily a sign of passion. Learn to appreciate the difference between anger and real passion.

Always look and see if someone has a track record of losing his temper regularly, as a way of avoiding the truth, as a way of not letting you get through to them, or as a way of manipulating you. Those are something you should really think about seriously before tolerating.

Anger versus passions: Real passions are things you are willing to put an effort into. Things that you would sacrifice other things for. Passions are things that you care deeply for. Passions are things that you go through great discomfort to pursue and achieve. Passions are beliefs that you would die on the cross for. Passions scream at us to give something to the world. To create and express ourselves.

7. They're self-entitled.

When someone feels like they're literally owed your time, attention, energy, and attention, and they become selfish about these things, particularly without giving anything back in return, they're behaving in a way that's self-entitled and unhealthy for you and your relationship.

You don't owe anyone these things — you give them of yourself out of a desire to be generous with them and because the other person has earned them. But no one can earn the right to be put first, before yourself.

8. They're a constant source of negativity.

It's one thing to be in a bad mood every now and then, especially during a difficult time. It's quite another to have to put up with someone's interminable pessimism and jaded perspective on everything, from assuming the barista got their coffee order wrong on purpose to believing they got the short end of the stick for a work project relatively equally-distributed in terms of work with their coworkers — again.

Life's a tough crowd and sometimes things happen, but the best we can do is control how we react and choose to see the situation. It always helps to have a partner there to try to help us with this when we get a little short-sighted.

But that's a near-impossible task when your partner is determined to see everything with the glass half-full, and it often ends up making you feel worse for it, not to mention too drained to deal with whatever's going on in your life.

9. They make you feel bad for not wanting to have sex or try to pressure you into it.

We're not robots who can be turned on or off. Life happens and sometimes, we may be preoccupied with other things or simply not be "in the mood." That's perfectly normal and any caring, understanding, reasonable partner will recognize this.

It becomes an intolerable situation when your partner makes comments that make you feel bad or shameful for not wanting to jump into bed, and it becomes unacceptable if they so much as hint at trying to pressure you.

They need to listen to you and be receptive to the fact that it just isn't a good time.

10. They have an addiction problem that they don't want to do anything about.

Addiction is an unhealthy coping mechanism that is more common than many people believe, though it shouldn't be accepted as something that has to become a permanent fixture in your love life.

Your partner should want to continuously improve upon themselves, just as you should, to gainfully contribute to the health of your relationship.

They need to have a plan and show they're putting this plan into place to demonstrate they're serious about, yes, you and your relationship, but also themselves and their own health, in order to put a stop to whatever addiction they're battling.

That means showing you a concrete plan with a course of action that makes sense, and you should hold them accountable to make sure they're following the steps therein.

11. They have destructive financial habits.

This bodes badly for you two if you are seriously considering a future together, as your finances will inevitably get entangled somehow, and it may feel as though someone isn't contributing their fair share (say, because they spent it on a luxury car instead).

However, this can affect you negatively either way. This is especially true if your partner's spending habits are so out of control that they go into major debt, can't afford their rent and other basic living expenses, or owe large sums of money to others. They may pressure you to help them and take advantage of your generosity, putting a strain on the relationship.

In turn, this will put undue pressure on you and perhaps negatively impact your own budget, and their money trouble will take on a life of their own for both of you.

If they refuse to change their habits on their own, ask them to seek professional help for their money problems from someone, such as a financial counselor.

12. They lie to you.

Lying is one of the most toxic things you should never tolerate in a relationship. It creates an environment of mistrust in which you can't be sure of when your partner is telling you the truth or not.

Honesty is a necessity in a relationship in order for each of you to be able to have a real connection, be vulnerable with each other, trust in one another, and not feel the need to question where one another other might be, what hidden motives they might have, if they're being faithful, or if they genuinely care for each other for the right reasons (among other things).

Even "little white lies" can sew doubt and become larger issues. If you have a pathological liar on your hands, this isn't just intolerable — you need to run. Immediately.

RELATED: 7 Relationship Problems Most Couples Ignore That Are Actually Huge Red Flags

13. They break your trust.

Lying can be a major contributor to dissolving the trust in a relationship. So can other behaviors, such as cheating, not being reliable or showing up for your partner, breaking promises, and generally not backing up your words with actions, among others.

Without trust, it's almost impossible to have a relationship, because trust is the foundation on which you build a lasting, meaningful relationship — whether it's romantic or platonic.

14. They don't respect your boundaries.

While being in a relationship often means feeling closer to that person, perhaps more than anyone else in your life, it doesn't necessarily mean sharing everything and spending every waking minute with them.

We all have personal boundaries for our own health and peace of mind. Some of us require more alone time than others. Some of us have specific pet peeves.

Some of us establish ground rules in a relationship to set expectations about time you'll spend together, with friends and family, how you'll split or pool your finances, how you'll spend holidays, how often you want to be intimate, and staying away from certain triggering behaviors.

These are healthy, reasonable, and wise boundaries to draw in a relationship.

But when your partner crosses these boundaries, it shows a lack of respect, it's invasive, and it's a violation of your personal space, privacy, and well-being that you should never tolerate.

15. They stonewall you.

It's understandable to need some space at certain times, such as after a fight in order to cool down, or if one is going through a difficult personal situation and they feel like they need some personal time to sort through it.

However, if your partner resorts to simply shutting you out after a disagreement or for any other reason, as a way of punishing you, sending you a message, or avoiding you, this is unhealthy and unfair to you.

Relationships require open lines of communication, even during times when you may be unhappy and not see eye-to-eye. Having healthy discussions to resolve issues is important.

Stonewalling isn't constructive, and it's damaging to your emotional and mental well-being.

16. They try to control you.

They may try to do this subtly, by influencing you not to wear something with a passive-aggressive comment.

In more severe situations, they may try to keep you from spending time with friends and family. They may want to isolate you completely, for their own satisfaction, or to satisfy their need for control alone.

They could want you all to themselves out of a need for control or on top of their own insecurities.

Whatever the case may be, this is behavior that should never be tolerated, because of its ramifications on your life and the relationships you have outside of the connection you and your partner have. It's unhealthy.

And you need to assert your independence in any way necessary, up to and including leaving them behind.

17. They're constantly jealous for no reason.

You've shown yourself to be a loyal and faithful partner — yet your partner still doesn't trust you and seems to have an obsession with the thought that you might be cheating on them.

This is, of course, uncalled for. In addition, they may begin to invade your privacy as a result of this bizarre fixation, which not only crosses boundaries (as previously mentioned) but, likewise, is a violation of the trust that's been established in your relationship, among other other things not to be tolerated.

When you've done nothing wrong, this topic needs to be addressed head-on and resolved, or you should leave them behind for someone who doesn't question your every text, phone call, and night out, and treats you like you're your own person.

18. They try to change who you are.

When you enter a relationship, both of you are implicitly accepting the other person for who they are.

While there is always room for self-improvement and ways to make progress in your relationship to deepen your connection and advance your shared goals, you should still be loved for who you are at your core at the end of the day.

If they want you to change how you dress, who your friends are, and your interests, wants, or needs, don't tolerate this behavior in a relationship.

No matter how much you acquiesce, they'll likely never be happy anyway, and you deserve someone who loves you for you.

19. They don't listen to you.

A relationship is an equal partnership where you don't always have to agree with each other, but you should always try to hear one another out and listen to each other's perspectives, feelings, and opinions when they are sharing them.

This includes when one of you comes home from a difficult day at work, or perhaps is going through a difficult personal matter.

But if your partner doesn't seem to be listening, or worse, makes a habit of talking over you, interrupting you, or simply tuning you out, they're showing that they don't care.

If you've brought this behavior to their attention and they still show no signs of changing, it's time to make sure they hear the door slam behind you when you leave.

20. They don't respect you.

Not listening to you is one way of showing disrespect. But it can come in many other forms, too.

They might make demeaning and belittling comments to you or about you to others who are close, aiming to take a hit at your self-esteem. Or, when you're talking about your day, or you're sharing an experience you had at some point in your life, they might try to invalidate your feelings by commenting on how "insignificant" it was or saying something like, "That's nothing in comparison to what I went through."

Perhaps they don't respect the choices. Maybe you chose to begin taking Spanish classes each week to better your fluency in another language, or you helped a friend pick one set of silverware over another to replace the old set in their apartment, and your partner criticized you for it. Doesn't seem reasonable, does it?

That's because it isn't. It's disrespectful.

21. They try to make you dependent on them.

This could seem innocuous at first — even kind and generous. Perhaps your partner offers for you to move into your place so you can "save on rent," then encourages you to quit your job, "to focus on your passions." It might seem like a fairytale at first.

But rarely is that the case.

Before you know it, they have the upper hand in every decision and every argument over you. When there's an imbalance in a relationship, particularly one of finances, this can translate to making you feel like your thoughts, needs, and opinions mean less, and your partner doesn't fear you challenging them, because you're now dependent on them.

Make sure you and your partner have known each other for a long enough time to really understand each other's true colors in a wide variety of situations, and be certain you're on the same page — and make the commitment to continue staying there, as equals.

As alluring as whatever they may be offering you, dependence is one of the things you should never tolerate in your relationships.

What does it mean to not “tolerate” a behavior in a partner?

Let’s be clear on the word ‘tolerate’. What does it mean to not tolerate the above behaviors in a partner?

It doesn’t always mean that you need to leave them right now if they tick off a box or two.

You might need some time to think carefully. It might mean conducting more research. It might mean asking other people who know them — and you — what they think. Do they trust them? What happened in their past relationships? It might mean studying their social media posts and thinking about what impression their posts convey to the casual observer.

Either way, it means to not allow such behavior to continue existing in your relationship. It means to have values and rules for the right reasons. And it means to stick to those values because you value your time, which is finite. It means that you value your energy, which is also finite.

A relationship with the wrong person can teach you valuable things, but only if you give yourself permission to leave and take the time to consider what it has taught you.

Always use your own gut instinct. Always check in with your heart, not your head. Your body was inherited through millions of years of selection — millions of ancestors before you have made choices to help you develop reasonably accurate feelings about how to choose a romantic partner and discern where their intentions lie on the spectrum of values you prioritize.

RELATED: 10 Definite Signs He's Not Your Soulmate

Renee Wade is the founder of The Feminine Woman.

This article was originally published at The Feminine Woman. Reprinted with permission from the author.