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20 Non-Negotiables in Relationships You Shouldn’t Ever Compromise On

Romantic partnerships aren’t always easy, so that’s why you need to have non-negotiables in relationships. Here’s what you shouldn’t ever compromise on.

non-negotiables in relationships

We always hear that in a healthy relationship, you need to compromise. You should be a big believer in that. But, with the importance of compromise comes non-negotiables in relationships.

These are the factors that are most important to you. The things you do not want to budge on. These are your deal-breakers, so to speak. We all have them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Why do we need non-negotiables in relationships?

When you overlook your non-negotiables for the sake of comfort or to avoid fights or a breakup, you are leading yourself into a mess. You are creating tension and resentment. Holding true to what really matters to you is better for relationships and your own well-being.

Even one non-negotiable ignored can lead to a major problem down the line. We often think we can get over this or move on from that for the sake of the relationship. When it comes to a non-negotiable, that is not the case. Non-negotiables will always come back to haunt a relationship.

If you keep them at the forefront of your mind from the beginning, you will be happier and won’t waste any time with someone that doesn’t want what you do. [Read: The most important signs of relationship compatibility to test your love match]

The importance of non-negotiables in relationships

As we said, the lack of non-negotiables or at least the lack of prioritizing them can make your relationship tense.

We all have non-negotiables. Whether you never want to move away from your family, don’t want to have children, or have an open relationship, there will always be things we cannot budge on just to make someone else happy.

Continuing a relationship, hoping that the other person will compromise on these non-negotiables is unfair to your partner and yourself. It also puts unnecessary pressure on your relationship.

If you want your relationship to work, vocalize what your non-negotiables are at the very beginning. [Read: How to show respect and better love in your relationship]

What are non-negotiables in relationships?

Now that you know why having and communicating your non-negotiables is so important consider what they are exactly.

Non-negotiables are not things like I want a house with a porch and won’t settle for anything less. Or I want a boyfriend that wears suits every day. Those can be things you look for but not dealbreakers.

A non-negotiable might be not sharing the same religious beliefs or political ideals. It could be having a partner that can’t show you love how you need it. It could be a partner who thinks sleeping with someone else while in a relationship is acceptable, but to you, it’s not. Or perhaps you spend a lot of time with your family, but your partner can’t get on board with that.

These are things you need in your life or that are your core values. Traveling destinations and home decor options are negotiable. The things that make you, you, should not be negotiated.

Sure, some couples are delighted with combining their beliefs or stances, but you shouldn’t have to if that is not something you can bend on. [Read: 30 must-follow relationship rules for successful love]

What are your non-negotiables in relationships?

Until a difficult decision arises, it can be hard to figure out what your non-negotiables are. You may think you would do anything for your partner, but you cannot negotiate some things because they are too important to you. And that is okay.

So many people say you have to put your partner first. What you really must do is put yourself first. If you are not happy with yourself, your choices, and your life, you cannot be happy in a relationship.

It is important to remind yourself that your dreams, needs, and happiness depend not on your relationship, but vice versa.

So, what are your non-negotiables? Here are some common issues that arise between couples. Their non-negotiable quality can lead you to a tough decision. [Read: How to give without losing and learn to compromise in a relationship]

1. Respect

Respect is the aspect of every single relationship *romantic or not* that makes things work. Without respect, a relationship cannot last. Although this should be non-negotiable for everyone, it can be hard to admit to yourself.

You may be in a comfortable relationship, but oftentimes respect is lost, and both people just don’t see it.

If your partner puts you down, overlooks your feelings or opinions, or is even rude, it is time to decide if your relationship can be fixed or if you should move on. [Read: The 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship that reveals a lack of love]

2. Commitment

Sure, some relationships are open, and they work. But, if you are someone who thrives on monogamy and it is something you cannot and do not want to waiver on, it is non-negotiable.

If your partner cannot commit to you the way you need to be committed to, to feel fulfilled within your relationship, it may be time to say goodbye.

3. Passion

Some people may find passion overrated. Sure, it comes and goes throughout the years, but if passion is what you or your partner need in a relationship and the other is not willing to reignite that spark, how do you work through that?

You can communicate your feelings all you want, but when both partners cannot agree on how the relationship works and what you’re are passionate about, you hit a brick wall. You have to decide if that non-negotiable is worth it. [Read: Why intimacy is the key to making love last]

4. Family

Whether it be your parents, grandparents, or potential children, our families are huge parts of our lives. If your partner doesn’t get along with your family or you don’t get along with theirs, you can hold your tongue a couple of holidays a year, but if it is more than some tension on the holidays, can you keep up the politeness?

If you want children and your partner doesn’t, will you wait for them to change their minds when you know you won’t? Is the relationship worth it when you can’t get what you want?

Family is not the same as choosing where to order food from or where to go on vacation. Is that something you can change your mind about?

5. Finances

Sadly, money is a big part of serious relationships. Do you agree on how to spend and how to save? Can your partner deal with you making more than them? Can they deal with you picking a job for fulfillment over money?

It is a shame that money plays such a large role in our lives, but it is undeniable that money problems end a lot of relationships. Sharing your monetary non-negotiables regularly can keep you both happy, but if you can’t agree, you have a choice to make. [Read: How to talk about money with your partner without fighting about it]

6. Future

Plans do not always work out as we hoped. But having a general idea of your future helps you move forward. You do not need to plan out your whole life, but sharing dreams and goals with your partner can be vital to your future together.

If you want to travel the world and your partner wants to settle down, discuss how that will work for you two. Suppose you can’t come to an agreement, that is one of the non-negotiables in relationships for you.

7. Ignorance

One big relationship killer is ignorance. In a relationship, you always should be willing to learn from each other and be open to one another’s positions and opinions. Being with someone rigid on change and close-minded can lead to endless arguments.

A non-negotiable for many people is a partner with an open mind. [Read: Why are you still dating the wrong person?]

8. Boundaries

Boundaries are very important in all bonds, especially relationships. You need to remain independent. Your partner might share a lot with you, but you don’t share everything.

You should have your own friends, hobbies, or job. These things can merge, of course, but if they or you overstep into each other’s personal and private areas it can become a major issue of jealousy, control, and manipulation.

9. Confidence

If you’ve ever dated someone with trust issues, jealousy, or low self-esteem you know how hard and draining it can be to reassure them all the time.

Being sure you both find confidence within yourself before getting too serious is important. This ensures you don’t become co-dependent on the relationship or each other.

You want to both find your self-worth and confidence on your own, so you don’t put unfair and unhealthy pressure on your partnership. [Read: Am I codependent? 14 signs you’re clingy and overstepping boundaries]

10. Abuse

Abuse of any kind should be an automatic non-negotiable. Physical abuse in the form of hitting or any other laying your hands on another person is a complete deal-breaker. Also, emotional and mental abuse is just as bad.

All form of abuse is not only a lack of respect, it is dangerous. It cripples people’s self-esteem, and it should never be tolerated.

11. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and see a situation from their point of view. This is a crucial skill to have if you want to have a healthy relationship.

Without empathy, one or both of you will be extremely selfish. You need to try to understand how and why your partner sees the world the way they do. And they need to do the same for you too. [Read: How to show empathy and learn to understand someone else’s feelings]

12. Intimacy

Intimacy comes in different forms, but mostly physical and emotional. Physical intimacy includes sexual contact and things such as touch, hand-holding, and cuddling. This is important to stay connected.

Equally important is emotional intimacy. Without it, you will drift apart and not be able to connect anymore. The bond you have needs to stay strong, and it can only do that with emotional intimacy.

13. Friendship

The foundation of a really great romantic relationship is friendship. Whether you started out as friends or develop it along the way, you have to try to be each other’s best friends.

When you aren’t friends with your partner, then you don’t have a whole lot else except sex *if you even have that*. And without that connection, your partnership can’t thrive and be the best it can be. [Read: What to look for in a relationship – 23 traits of a happy romance]

14. Selfishness

Everyone is selfish from time to time – it’s pretty normal. But when one or both partners are selfish to the extreme, then that is a non-negotiable in a relationship. 

When there is selfishness in a relationship, then there will be resentment that builds up over time. Even if you have a “giver” in the relationship *a person who loves to give*, they can still get abused by extreme selfishness. [Read: Are you a giver or a taker? 19 signs of a taker in a relationship]

15. Cheating

In a monogamous relationship, there is no room for cheating. And by cheating, we mean cheating of any kind. It doesn’t just have to be physical.

These days, you can also have emotional affairs too. It’s easy to sneak around with technology being the way it is today. Cheating is a betrayal of trust and should be non-negotiable in a romantic relationship. [Read: How to rebuild trust after cheating – 11 things the ex-cheater MUST do]

16. Substance abuse and addictions

Many people have one addiction or another. It could just be an addiction to sugar or food, or it could be more serious like a hard drug. Other examples include alcohol, shopping, or gambling.

When someone has a serious addiction, it takes time and attention away from the relationship. And when that happens, it should be a deal-breaker and absolutely one of the non-negotiables in relationships. [Read: Social media addiction – The 16 alarming symptoms and how to break out]

17. Core values

Most people don’t understand how important it is to have shared core values with your partner. Whether it is about religion, politics, work ethic, or something else, you both have to be on the same page.

Let’s say one of you is a conservative Christian and the other is a liberal, socialist Muslim, that might be quite difficult to overcome. You have to have some similarities in world views to have a relationship to be successful.

18. Trust & dependability

Trust is another big foundation of any relationship. Without it, it’s like building a house on quicksand. The relationship will crumble without trust.

Also, if your partner is not dependable, that is a non-negotiable too. You need to be able to rely on each other and know that your partner always has your back. [Read: How to build trust in a relationship and learn to be loyal and loving]

19. No sense of humor

Life can be serious, but the more we can laugh about it, the better and happier we will be. So, if you’re with a person who can’t laugh about anything, then you will be dragged down with them. A sense of humor is vital to a happy relationship and a definite non-negotiable as well.

20. Negativity

If someone doesn’t have a sense of humor, then that probably means that they are an overly negative person. This pessimistic way of looking at life can be very detrimental not only to an individual but to the couple as a whole. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life? 20 signs and the best ways to cope]

Of course, there are hundreds of things that could be non-negotiables in relationships, and all of these are personal and unique to you and your partner. You can start with these, and add any more that you like. And learning which ones to deal with them, and which ones to ignore, is your decision to make.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...