Skip to content

This Is the No. 1 Relationship Dealbreaker for Most Couples, Study Says

Pay attention to how you're behaving around your partner.

Not all relationships are meant to stand the test of time. While different couples break up for different reasons, there are of course plenty of common factors that often end up leading to trouble in paradise—from the obvious ones like cheating to more unavoidable struggles like distance. But when it comes to the top concern for most couples, a recent study has pinpointed one problem in particular. Read on to find out what researchers say is the number one dealbreaker in a relationship.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore, Therapists Warn.

There are a number of reasons your relationship could fail.

couple fighting in bedroom

Relationships are a challenge, in part because there are so many issues that can prevent them from working out. Last year, researchers found that time alone could break down a relationship: After six months most couples stop being "in love," according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

There are more minor issues that can also cause drama. A recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoodCook found that something as simple as eating habits can come between a couple. According to the survey of 2,000 Americans, 1 in 3 respondents said that if their partner ate too much junk food, it would be a dealbreaker in their relationship.

But as it turns out, recent research shows an issue that spells heartbreak more than any other.

There is a common factor causing the most strain in relationships.

Shot of a young couple looking stressed out while working on their budget at home

A 2021 study published in the Evolutionary Psychology journal looked to find out what factors were most likely to cause "strain in keeping an intimate relationship." The researchers for the study analyzed over 1,400 participants from China and Greece who were part of a couple and surveyed them in regards to more than 70 different difficulties.

According to the study, there were at least 13 factors found to cause strain in a relationship. But the most common problem? Clinginess. Around 30 percent of participants indicated that clinginess was a major difficulty in their relationships.

For more relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Clinginess can be a sign of other negative traits in a partner.

two women at home eating breakfast, partner chatting on mobile telephone. Young woman being ignored by her girlfriend and feeling jealous

Clinginess is a "normal human reaction that comes from love and affection," says Chris Pleines, a relationship expert with But it's all-too-easy to cross the line into being too clingy, which can negatively affect a partnership. "Most of the time, clinginess can do more harm than good in a relationship. It may not be your intention, but being too clingy only pushes your partner away," Pleines explains.

This is largely because excessive clinginess is often a sign of other significant issues. "Clinginess is a major relationship dealbreaker for most people because it can signal insecurity, lack of trust, and a need for constant validation," says Greg Flemming, a relationship expert and founder of

These are all traits that are "very unappealing in the dating arena," and they tend to "take away the equality in a relationship," according to Samantha Daniels, a dating expert and founder of Samantha's Table Matchmaking.

It can also cause other problems in your relationships.


Following clinginess, 23 percent of participants in the 2021 study said that a lack of personal time and space was the next most common relationship strain. Unfortunately, clinginess often goes hand-in-hand with this problem. "When you have a partner that is clingy, you often don't have a lot of time to yourself," says Rachel Eddins, a relationship expert and therapist at Eddins Counseling.

According to Eddins, it can be difficult to maintain relationships or friendships with people who are clingy, because they're always around. "Space in a relationship can be healthy in order to take care of yourself and your individual needs. Having a partner who is always around makes it hard to enjoy things that you like," she explains. "Someone who is clingy is also usually dependent on you which can pose a whole lot of other issues within the relationship."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
Filed Under