When it comes to romance, there are some sorts of people that you just shouldn’t date. Whether it’s because of a bad personality trait, a particularly harmful behavior, or some other crucial flaw, these are people you should simply stay away from. Here are the six kinds of people to steer clear of when searching for a romantic partner.

  1. People who are selfish. A successful romantic partnership is a delicate balance of give and take between two people. If one half of the partnership only really cares about themselves, the other person will never be truly happy. Stay away from someone who doesn’t seem to ever think about others, or who dismisses your problems and needs as unimportant. Dating a selfish person will be an emotionally exhausting and deeply unsatisfying experience; truly selfish people are not even really capable of loving another person — ultimately, they only care about what you can do for them.
  2. Someone who demands too much change. It’s reasonable to modify some behavior for your romantic partner — that’s just part of the compromise required in all relationships. However, there is a limit. If someone wants to change your entire personality and habits, as if they are trying to mold you into their imagined ideal, they aren’t someone you should be involved with. For example, someone who tries to get you to stop hanging out with your friends, change all your hobbies, and adopt a different wardrobe is asking for too much.
  3. Those with a history of infidelity. Sadly, when it comes to cheating, the past is an excellent predictor for the future. People who have been unfaithful to their romantic partners in the past are likely to repeat this behavior with you. Unfortunately, even those who wish to change their ways often backslide into old bad habits after a while. Unless someone with a history of cheating has truly changed (which is best proven by their last transgression being years and years in the past) you should not date them.
  4. People with a history of violence. As with a cheater, past actions are the best guide to future behavior when a person has committed violence against a former partner. Since risk of physical harm is very serious, exercising extreme caution with someone who has a violent past is wise. While people can change, you must be sure that the change is genuine. This isn’t just a problem for women, either — men shouldn’t assume that their physical strength immunizes them from abuse. Men are significantly more likely to be victimized by their partners than is commonly assumed.
  5. Someone who is controlling. Romance is about partnership, but it’s also about each person being free to be themselves. But some people can’t accept this. A controlling person will insist on being in charge of every detail of your entire life. They will demand you live by their rules. Ultimately, a partner like this doesn’t really respect you, since they don’t trust you to make any decisions on your own. Being with someone like this is like being suffocated. Everyone requires some independence, even in a relationship — so don’t get involved with someone who insists on controlling everything.
  6. Someone who is extremely critical. A person who does nothing but complain about you and your behavior is someone you simply should not date. A negative, overly judgmental person will lower your self-esteem and make you feel bad about yourself. While we all have faults, it’s not really helpful if someone focuses constantly on their romantic partner’s flaws. Perpetual criticism will not help anyone grow and improve. A romantic partnership should be a positive experience and must have a foundation of mutual respect. If someone doesn’t have that respect for you, you shouldn’t be with them.

Life is too short to spend any of it with someone who acts in any of these six ways. Remember, a romantic partner is someone who should make your life better. If someone has a trait that makes a relationship with them miserable, don’t hang around hoping for a dramatic change, no matter how much you want to make it work. Better to move on and continue the search for the right person with someone else.

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