The Wednesday Wondering – what can’t you forgive or forget?

I think for all of us there are probably deal breakers in relationships. That could be something as simple as him leaving the toilet seat up or squeezing the toothpaste in the middle, or perhaps trying to seduce you whilst still wearing his socks! At the other end of the scale it could be a gambling addiction, lying or maybe infidelity. The Wednesday Wondering for this week is, therefore, whether there are any little (or big, if you prefer) behaviours from a partner that you absolutely wouldn’t stand for or that you wouldn’t let the heroine in your novel put up with – whatever the circumstances? Here’s what the Write Romantics had to say…

Hmm, as I asked this one I suppose I’d better start… Infidelity is a definite tried and tested deal breaker for me, in my novels and in real life, but there are just tonnes of tiny things that annoy me too – like a man sneezing so loud that the plates rattle or like being such a hypochondriac that he gets stomach pains too, at that time of the month, just so he can stay centre of attention. The one thing that I really can’t bear, though, from man, woman, child or dog is the sound of someone else eating. There’s even a name for the condition; it’s called Misophonia – the unbearable loudness of chewing! My poor hubby has to eat ice lollies at the other end of our garden in the summer, as otherwise he knows the sound of his slurping will drive me insane. Of course, I, on the other hand, am perfect to live with and have absolutely no annoying habits whatsoever… Just ask my husband. Oh no, you can’t, he’s all the way down the other end of the garden having his dinner, bless him!

Helen R
I love this one, I had a little laugh about some of the annoying habits lots of men, including my partner have. I’m glad that my tolerance doesn’t make each of them a deal breaker though or I don’t think I would be able to find anyone! It would be interesting to have a male perspective on this wouldn’t it? I wonder what annoying habits women have.

An absolute deal breaker for me with a partner, or a hero or even a heroine, is someone who smokes. I have a “baddie” character in my writing who smokes, and a girl who social smokes, but I think that would be my limit for my characters.

I’m going to start by going slightly off-piste and saying I do have a physical rather than behavioural deal-breaker. Moustaches. They give me the fear!!! So sorry for being shallow. Not into beards either … although there are a select few (mainly film stars) who look fabulous with the in-need-of-a-shave look.


As for behaviours, I don’t like snoring but hubby snores so it’s obviously not a deal-breaker for me. I think I would struggle more with attitude than bad habits although I would be embarrassed to be with someone who uses the ‘f’-word constantly as there’s just no need. Oh, and I hate smoking so I could never date a smoker. Or someone who takes drugs. A deal-breaker for me would be someone who is really homophobic or racist, someone who drinks and drives, someone who hurts animals or someone who is obsessed with football.

I know the first three will resonate with many people. The football thing is a real pet hate of mine. Sorry. I know loads of people adore it but I just can’t stand football. It’s not the game itself and I have no issue with men who quite like it and watch the odd match but it’s the absolute obsession that I hate; talking about nothing but football, watching every match, travelling miles to follow their team and getting in a right grump when their team isn’t doing well. Really does my head in!

Mm, interesting question… the answers could be somewhat revealing! I think circumstances always play a part, as do character, age and experience. My heroine, Millie, a 49 year old divorcee, is realistic as to what she expects from a partner, not only because she’s pragmatic by nature but she’s simply seen more of life. She’s still romantic but she’ll pursue her new love with her eyes wide open. Another, Layla, 29, is of an age where certain life experiences have impacted on her and again she’s a realist by nature but romantic enough to believe that love can conquer all. My youngest heroine, Carol-Anne, is only 18, and it’s 1966. Fed on pop songs and with fixed ideas as to how she wants her boy to be, she won’t put up with a single thing that detracts from the dreamy perfection she deserves.

So, what I’m saying, I think, is that the tipping point is never reached in isolation; it’s not the behaviour itself but the character’s reaction to it that makes or breaks. My Carol-Anne would dump her boyfriend if he stood her up on a date, no questions asked. Layla would be annoyed and she’d show it but she’d accept his explanation in the end, and Millie would just shrug and find something better to do. She would still let him know she’s not a pushover, though.

For me, it would have to be something big to be a deal breaker. After all nobody is perfect. Going on from this I wouldn’t let my heroine become fixated on the little things. She probably has a few of her own too. At the top of my list would be infidelity and because of that it would also be at the top of my heroine’s list too.

I can’t abide a man who lies for no good reason; it scares me and I think it’s a serious character flaw.

I also desperately hate meanness. Okay, if you are broke just do what you can, but when you end up subbing someone over and over, then they tell you how much they have in their savings account- just- NO!

Nit picky things I hate in a man that grow BIG. Picking your teeth/feet, burping loud, biting nails (husband does that, but I still love him) fiddling with your ‘bits’ and your fly in public (although I think that might be a nervous thing with some men). One particular man at the swimming pool I go to, sounds like a volcano erupting every time he comes up for air- I mean seriously, a woman wouldn’t dream of making a noise like that. Does he have no self- awareness or does he think it makes him look like a proper swimmer. Rant over!

Hmmm, I think I’m a bit more fussy about partners in my old age than I was in my
youth, I have quite a few deal breakers in relationships. I couldn’t put up with
gambling, infidelity, drugs or excess drink. Nor could I be with someone who
didn’t love my dogs and let them sleep on the bed as ours do, or anyone who
can’t cope with having a teetering pile of books next to my regular haunts. But
worse of all, I couldn’t cope with an Alpha Male, you know, the sort, he is
tough, loud, the centre of attention. He’s more interested in Building his
Biceps than Wooing his Woman. For me, its gotta be a touchy-feely caring man.
One who is in touch with his senses and knows his Freud from his Fist. I’d
snuggle up with him any day and love creating them for my books!

Now that some of the Write Romantics have shared their relationship no-no’s with you, we’d love to hear what yours are too! Especially, as Helen suggests, that elusive male perspective…

Jo x

9 thoughts on “The Wednesday Wondering – what can’t you forgive or forget?

  1. Your swimmer made me laugh out loud, Jackie! And I’m with Julie on the beards, although Rachael has a point and none of us are perfect – so I guess it’s a good idea to try not to get too hung up on the small things. x

  2. Hairy toes like a Hobbit! I love that. I forgot how much I hate people eating loudly too. My daughter must have picked up on it too as when anyone (guests included) eats noisily at the dinner table, she says, “Mouth closed, please!” She is serioiusly scary though!

  3. Fabulous question and brilliant answers! I now feel the burning urge to develop a character who has hairy toes, facial hair, who noisily eats and who makes loud noises in the swimming pool but thinks he’s an Alpha Male!!! How hilarious would he be?!
    Julie xx

  4. I skirted round my personal deal-breakers – bit close to home! – but I’ll just say now that if I was starting again, snoring, including bubbling, puffing and squeaking (yes, squeaking!) would move way up my list! Too late now, I fear… Thank heavens I finally got a spare bedroom 🙂

  5. I enjoyed reading these and thanks for being so honest about them ladies. Like Deirdre it was a bit close to home for me but I’m pleased to know I’m not the only one with a few foibles and pet hates. And I will do my best to remember to eat VERY quietly next time I see Jo!

  6. I could write a whole column on this – unfortunately, my DH would feature pretty prominently! I think, after 32 years together, just about everything he does drives me nuts! The trick is learning to live with them and not let them get to you too much. Maybe that’s what true love is? 🙂 Having said that, I sincerely hope no one ever asks this question to him because I daresay he could come up with a long list about me.
    Julie, that picture you posted is awful. I really hope it’s no one you know as I would hate to offend, but I couldn’t cope with a beard like that on any man. Snoring is a bugbear, but I snore, too, so that’s hypocritical of me lol. What is currently making me clench my fists and try to keep my temper is when DH rests his cup of tea on the arm of our new sofa!! I am furious every time he does it but he’s not taken the slightest bit of notice when I’ve told him so I am no resigned to keeping quiet and just watching that it’s not dripping. Also, he never uses coasters when he puts his cup on the coffee table which drives me insane. Oh, and when he gets home he leaves his coat on the back of the sofa instead of hanging it up on the coat rack in the hall. Why? Why? Oh, and…no, I’d better stop there. Can feel my blood pressure going up! x

    • The husband being drunk, really paralytic and aggressive, that is very hard to forgive because the fear is impossible to forget. Useful on occasion for the writing. Obviously the relationship didn’t last.

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