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50 Huge Turn-Offs in a Relationship You Should Avoid

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Have you dated someone, and things are going great, and suddenly, you experience a turn-off? Where, based on something they did, you see them in a new light and feel annoyed, slightly disgusted, or just put off?

Or you might have been on the other end, where suddenly, a partner seemed to lose interest in you.

It’s normal to experience turn-offs! 

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common turn-offs to help you understand why you might be feeling “the ick” or to help you understand why someone might feel that way toward you. 

What is a Relationship Turn-Off?

A relationship turn-off is a behavior, trait, or habit that makes you feel less attracted to the person you are dating. Turn-offs tend to evoke a feeling of annoyance, avoidance, repulsion, or even disgust. They can range from tiny irritations to serious deal-breakers.

A serious deal breaker might be a difference in core values. For examples of pettier turn-offs, you could reference the show Seinfeld1 , where Jerry breaks up with girlfriends for reasons ranging from the size of her hands to the fact that she eats peas one at a time to that she likes a commercial that he dislikes.

“The ick2 ” is a slang term that describes a relationship turn-off. The ick is described like a light switch—one moment, you’re head over heels, and the next moment, you see your partner doing something unsavory, and you catch the ick and can’t look at them the same way again.

Why do people experience sudden relationship turn-offs?

Experiencing a turn-off is natural when dating and tends to happen when your projection of a person collides with the reality of who they are. Often, their behaviors clash with your values, expectations, or personal preferences. 

Experiencing a turn-off doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but it can signal that there might be a mismatch between the two of you.    

It’s common for folks with an avoidant attachment style to experience turn-offs more readily. As a relationship becomes more intimate, avoidantly attached folks often subconsciously scan for reasons to create distance.

What to do if you feel turned off by your partner?

If your partner turns you off, reflecting on the reasons behind your feelings is important.

Is your turn-off something minor that you can overlook and ask your partner to shift, or is it a major character difference? 

Maybe your partner would be willing to wear less cologne, and voila, turn-off cured. But if the issue is that they are too close-minded, your turn-off might be pointing to a greater incompatibility.

If you can’t live with the turn-off, your best bet is to open an honest conversation with your partner and share your feelings. 

What to do if you think your partner is turned off by you?

If you suspect you turn off your partner, consider opening up a candid conversation.

If you are open to feedback and willing to address any behaviors, turning them off could work out, and the relationship might be stronger.

While an open conversation is usually the best policy, you can build skills to tell if people are attracted to or put off by you. If you’d like to get better at reading people and the non-verbal cues they subconsciously project, check out this goodie:

Unlock the Secrets of Charisma

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With that said, let’s get into a list of the most common relationship turn-offs.

Physical Turn-Offs

The following turn-offs are related to the other person’s body and appearance and can create a visceral feeling of disgust or repulsion.

Poor hygiene

They’ve taken “au natural” to an extreme, challenging proximity. 

If the other person seems to bathe only sometimes or clean their body, this can be a huge turn-off, especially if you struggle with the scent of their body odor.

Overpowering perfume or cologne

Too much fragrance can cause sensory overload. For many, artificial scents are too intense and create a feeling of discomfort and repulsion.

Long and dirty fingernails

If someone’s fingernails are long and unkempt, or constantly harbor dirt and sludge underneath them, it can be a visual and hygienic turn-off that’s hard to overlook.

Stinky breath

Bad breath is a big turn-off for many folks. The smell can infuse every conversation with feelings of repulsion and cause the listener to hold their breath.

About half of people have halitosis3 (the scientific term for bad breath). So this is a common one. But it’s fortunately overcomeable for most with thorough brushing of the teeth, flossing, and Listerine.

And, as uncomfortable as it is, there is a discreet way to bring up smell with a person.

Too much makeup

Some people can feel turned off when their partner wears too many layers of makeup. For many, makeup is a form of creativity and a key part of their aesthetic. But if there’s too much makeup, their partner can feel uncertain about their appearance or question their motives for going all-out.  

Trying too hard to hide baldness

About half of males start balding4 when they are in their forties. It’s natural! 

But it can be a turn-off if someone goes to too great of lengths to cover up their bare scalp. Elaborate combovers don’t usually fool anyone and can be a turn-off.

Dressing like a slob

For some, it can be unappealing if their partner’s fashion sense seems permanently stuck on laundry day. It can be a turn-off if someone never dresses well and seems to not care for themselves.

Bad kisser

Kissing is an important form of connection for many romantic partners. And when kissing them feels more like a dental examination than a moment of intimacy, this can be a big turn-off. 

Behavioral Turn-Offs

Behaviors can be some of the biggest turn-offs. If someone’s habits constantly get on your nerves, it can make you want to escape. Here are some of the more common turn-offs related to behavior.

Always late

Some people don’t mind at all if their date is late. However, others can feel frustrated or disrespected if their date is constantly tardy.

Tardiness can be challenging to change, but it is possible! 

Constantly interrupts

It can be trying for many people when they can’t finish a sentence. Expressing their thoughts and feelings becomes difficult, and they feel like they have to fight their way into every conversation. 

Some people like an interrupting style of conversation. But for those who don’t, it can be a huge turn-off.

Sees the negative in every situation

Suppose someone is always complaining and consistently focusing on every situation’s downside or flaws. In that case, it can dampen the spirits of those around them and become a significant turn-off. 

It’s one thing to be realistic, but a perpetual gloom-caster can make even the brightest days feel overcast with complaints. 

Thinks they are superior

They walk around with an air of superiority and think that everything they do and say is God’s gift to those around them. 

This attitude can quickly become a turn-off when it crosses into arrogance, leaving little room for humility or the perspectives of others. It’s healthy to have confidence, but a dose of self-awareness and the ability to admit faults makes for a much more appealing companion.

Overwhelmingly insecure

Every moment, they doubt themselves. Compliments bounce right off them like bullets off of Superman’s chest. This overwhelming insecurity can be a major turn-off, as it often requires constant reassurance and can drain the energy from the relationship. 

While everyone has insecurities, finding a way to manage and communicate healthily is key to not letting them overshadow the connection.

Unwilling to try new things

They’ve set up camp deep inside their comfort zone, treating anything unfamiliar with suspicion rather than curiosity. 

This reluctance to explore or embrace new experiences can be difficult for open-minded partners to be around. It makes growth, adventures, and new experiences very difficult. 

It’s okay to have preferences. But if the default response to something new is “no way,” it can kill the spark.

They have no ambition.

They live without a compass pointing towards any particular ambition or goal. They might feel aimless, lost, or apathetic. 

This lack of drive can be a major turn-off, as it may suggest a future stagnant in personal growth and achievement. While not everyone has their life mapped out, a spark of passion or a sense of direction can make all the difference in a dynamic and inspiring partnership.

Always put themselves first

They star in the movie of their life, with everyone else merely playing the supporting cast. Dating this person can make it feel like your needs and desires are always second. 

This self-centered approach can be a significant turn-off, making the relationship feel more like a solo performance than a duet.  

Uncontrollable jealousy

Jealousy is a natural emotion. But it can create distance in a relationship when it flares up and takes over at the slightest provocation. This level of mistrust can be a major turn-off, turning a secure and loving relationship into a series of needless trials and interrogations. 

Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship; without it, the structure could be better at best.


It can be difficult when your partner has built a fortress around their beliefs. And they repel new ideas like an immune system gone haywire. 

This refusal to consider different perspectives can be a significant turn-off because it makes every conversation feel like a debate with a predetermined winner. 


They cling to you like a shadow. They have no concept of alone time or space in a relationship and constantly press you for more time.  

This level of dependency can quickly become a turn-off because it turns a partnership into a full-time caretaking role. While closeness is key in any relationship, so is maintaining individuality and fostering mutual independence.

Always plays the victim

Any time life doesn’t go their way, they point their finger in every direction but at themself. It’s always someone else’s fault. Or so-and-so is out to get them. Or they can just never catch a break. 

This perpetual victimhood can be a major turn-off because it sidesteps personal accountability and can be a disempowering stance. A relationship thrives on mutual support and resilience, not a one-sided rescue mission.

Ignores problems in their life

Some people cross their fingers and hope their problems will vanish if ignored long enough. 

I had one friend like this years ago. He lived in the United States but had a car illegally parked in Denmark and was just ignoring the tickets he was racking up. He also owed a debt to a friend but kept letting it build. His life seemed full of fires. And his only strategy to put them out seemed to be to look the other way.

This avoidance strategy can be a significant turn-off because if you are planning to date this person, you can bet that when a problem arises in your relationship, you might have to face it by yourself. Facing issues head-on is a hallmark of maturity and partnership.

Subtly (or not-so-subtly) prejudiced

It can be pretty cringe when someone lets slip comments that show an underlying bedrock of racism, homophobia, or any other kind of prejudice, whether they do so with a nudge and a wink or outright declarations. 

This undercurrent of prejudice can be a significant turn-off, as it clashes with values of equality and respect, and it casts a long shadow over the potential for an empathetic relationship.  

Communication Turn-Offs

Another area where turn-offs can arise is through communication. It might put you off if someone doesn’t communicate the way you like. Here is a list of turn-offs related to communication and interpersonal dynamics.

Can’t keep their word

They treat promises like light suggestions, and they often fall short of their commitments. This unreliability can be a significant turn-off because it can dissolve trust and make it challenging to rely on them for anything important. 

Pushy with your boundaries

Another common turn-off is when they don’t take “no” for an answer. They may test your boundaries like a persistent salesman, always pushing for just an inch more. 

This disregard for personal limits can be a significant turn-off because it can make it hard to create a healthy relationship where you feel safe and respected.

Always has to have the last word

Every discussion with them feels like a competition, with a relentless need to come out on top. This insistence on having the final say can be a major turn-off because it transforms healthy debates into exhausting battles.

This can also be a turn-off because it can make it hard to bring up difficult issues in the relationship if you fear you won’t be heard. 

Loose with the truth

Their relationship with the truth is flexible, bending it to fit the moment’s needs. This casual acquaintance with honesty can be a significant turn-off because it makes it very hard to trust what they say.

Did they actually have to cancel plans because they needed to give their aunt a ride to the airport? Do they actually want to build a future together? Or are they just saying what’s convenient?

Not a great listener​​

Engaging with them can feel like broadcasting into the void, where your words seem to vanish. You might share your heart, but it slides through one year, bypasses the brain, and falls right out the other. 

This lack of attunement and listening can be a significant turn-off because it blocks meaningful conversation and leaves you feeling undervalued and unheard.

Acts passive-aggressively

If someone defaults to passive aggressive behavior, it’s hard to pin down when they’re actually upset. They might deny having hurt feelings but drop subtle hints. They may show discontent through indirect cues or by giving the silent treatment.

This style of communication is an unpleasant guessing game and can be a huge turn-off because it fills the relationship with ambiguity.

Fills all the talking space

Talking with them feels more like listening to their monologue. This conversational monopoly can be a turn-off because it makes conversations too one-sided and unpleasant.

Can’t receive feedback

Their defense mechanisms go up at the slightest hint of constructive criticism. So when you try to offer helpful feedback, they huff and puff, get defensive, and deny they did anything wrong.

This inability to accept and grow makes it difficult for a relationship to evolve.

Often badmouths exes

Many people willingly talk trash about their former partners, thinking it will make their newest partner feel special and chosen. 

But the reality is this can communicate an inability to respect past relationships and might portend a future where you are the person they are badmouthing.  

Needy for attention and approval

Their need for constant validation and attention can feel overwhelming. If every conversation turns into reassurance, it can become too much, and their low self-esteem can start to feel like your responsibility.

Doesn’t respect privacy

Another turn-off is if they feel invasive. It can be uncomfortable if you’ve seen them snoop through others’ phones or suspect they might be looking at your messages without asking.

This lack of respect for privacy can cause you to feel violated.

They are manipulative

If you see them maneuver through their relationships with a cunning strategy, always angling for the upper hand through deceit, you might feel wary. 

This Machiavellian approach can be a major turn-off because you might fear they are gaming you instead of showing up authentically.

Unwillingness to integrate lives

You never meet their friends, and they avoid yours. Both of your hobbies are like oil and water. 

While some independence is necessary for a relationship, too big of a reluctance to merge can be a turn-off because it signals a lack of commitment or a barrier to deeper intimacy.

Gossips excessively

It can also feel icky if every conversation turns to speculating about other people’s motives, critiquing their fashion choices, and brainstorming rumors. 

Excessive gossip might paint a person as untrustworthy and more interested in others’ lives than in building a genuine connection with you.

Agrees with everything you say

It’s nice to feel heard. But if every idea or opinion you voice is met without a hint of friction, it might seem like they lack an individual perspective and that they are molding themself to please you. 

For many, this type of people-pleasing is a big-time turn-off.

Lifestyle and Habits

Another common place where turn-offs can appear is in lifestyle. If you approach your days with a starkly different attitude, it can create some difficulties.

Smokes cigarettes

For some people, cigarettes are a no-go. The constant scent of cigarettes clings to their clothes and breath and can gross some people out. 

Drinks too much

If every time you go out together, you have to hold their hair back while they puke, it might start to feel like too much.  

Poor financial habits

Everyone is on a financial journey and learns at their own pace. 

However, if it feels like they are in an endless spiral of scarcity, hoping things will turn around and never making a plan, you might be turned off. 

At a certain point, it might feel like they are stuck in an irresponsible or fear-based view of money and are doing nothing to shift it.

No concern for their health

Lots of people care a lot about their health and vitality, and it can be a no-go if their partner doesn’t share this attitude. 

For some, this turn-off might mean seeing someone neglect self-care, overindulge in fast food, or never exercise.  

Flaky and unreliable

It can be a turn-off if plans often change at the last minute and if shared calendar events mean nothing more than “if I’m in the mood.” This unreliability can make it difficult to build trust and rely on them for anything substantial.

Has no friends outside of the relationship

If their social circle seems to begin and end with you, it can place the entire burden of companionship on your shoulders where you need to meet every one of their social needs. This isolation can be a turn-off and hint at over-dependency.

Too messy

If you’ve ever lived with a partner, you know how big of a deal one’s cleanliness habits can be! 

If someone’s living room is decorated with dirty plates, laundry, and trash, this could be a turn-off to someone who is more clean and orderly.  

Neat freak

On the flip side, if someone feels anxious and obsessive about creating a spotless living environment, this perfectionism can come off as too rigid.

Extreme tidiness can be a turn-off because it can turn shared spaces into sterile zones where you’re constantly afraid of breaking a cleanliness rule.

Over-the-top frugal

It’s good to be conscious of how we spend money, but it could be perturbing if a partner turns every shared bill into an argument over how little to tip. 

Money can be a touchy topic, but if someone is extremely frugal, this could be a turn-off to another person who wants to live more spontaneously and abundantly.  

Glued to their phone

I’m sure you can imagine two people on a date, where one just can’t put their phone away. A true plight of our digital age!

Some people don’t mind phones embedding themselves into shared experiences. But for others, it’s a massive turn-off if a person can’t keep their phone in their pocket for the duration of a date.  

Life is just fodder for Instagram

Another turn-off is if you don’t feel like your partner is living for themself but rather for their followers. 

It can be uncomfortable if every moment is staged for social media likes. This performative lifestyle can be a turn-off, as it blurs the line between authenticity and online appearances and can make you feel like a prop in their curated life.

They are judgey of your lifestyle

Our last common turn-off is if the other person seems to always scoff at your lifestyle choices. If your food habits, wellness habits, or career ambitions just never seem to be good enough for them.  

This judgmental stance can definitely be a turn-off and can undermine your confidence and feelings of mutual respect.

Frequently Asked Questions About Turn-Offs

What are some main turn-offs?

Main turn-offs typically include behaviors or traits such as poor personal hygiene, laziness, selfishness, lack of ambition, dishonesty, negativity, and rudeness. These elements can significantly diminish someone’s attractiveness or compatibility in a relationship.

Why do I get turned off easily?

If you get turned off easily, it could mean that having an alignment of values is really important to you, and when someone exhibits a difference in values, it’s a dealbreaker for you. It’s possible for some people with an avoidant attachment style to create turn-offs to protect themselves from intimacy. And for others, if a boundary has been violated, one response is feeling strong aversion to the other person.

Is insecurity a turn-off?

Yes, insecurity can be a turn-off if it manifests as constant neediness, jealousy, or lack of confidence, which can strain interactions and the overall dynamics of a relationship. However, everyone has insecurities, and it’s the extent and handling of these insecurities that impact their effect on relationships.

Can you get past the ick?

Getting past the ick is possible if you’re willing to openly communicate about what’s causing the feeling and work together on understanding or addressing the underlying issues. It often requires patience, empathy, and sometimes a reevaluation of your own expectations or judgments.

How do you know when a guy is turned off?

You might know when a guy is turned off if he shows a lack of interest through his body language, lack of engagement in conversations, or decreased effort in spending time together. These signs can indicate a waning interest or discomfort in the relationship, but there also may be an underlying issue that hasn’t been addressed! The best policy is usually an open conversation.

What does it mean to be turned off by someone?

Being turned off by someone means you find certain aspects of their behavior, personality, or appearance to be unappealing or repellent, diminishing your interest or attraction towards them. It’s a reaction that can range from mild annoyance to strong aversion and disgust.

Takeaways on Turn-Offs

It’s normal to have turn-offs in relationships, and it’s also normal to be the cause of someone else feeling turned off!

A turn-off does not necessarily doom a relationship, but it is cause for a deeper conversation to see if the habit in question is something you can both communicate through or if it’s a dealbreaker.

Red flags are similar to turn-offs but are a stronger warning message. If you spot a personal red flag, it’s usually best to stay away, while turn-offs can often be worked through. If you’d like to learn more (and you date men), check out these 51 red flags in men you need to know.

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