Healthy Relationship

22 Non-Negotiables In A Relationship For All Couples


Let’s be honest: sometimes, there is a thin line between deal-breakers and being too picky. I mean, there is a huge difference between having standards and going on a wild goose chase.

However, there are some non-negotiables you shouldn’t even think about compromising on if you want a good relationship.

What are these non-negotiable things? How do you set them up? There is only one way to find out: to read on!

What Are Non-Negotiables In A Relationship?

couple flirting while sitting in cafe

The word says it itself: relationship non-negotiables are the things you should never negotiate about. As much as compromise is important for every successful relationship, when these things are concerned, there is no such thing as finding middle ground.

You and your partner must have the same (or at least similar) point of view when these core values are in question.

What is even more important is to talk about these non-negotiables before things get too serious – to save both of you the trouble and pain.

22 Non-Negotiables In A Relationship

Should you and your partner have compatible points of view regarding each one of these things? Definitely yes! I know it sounds like a lot, but trust me, each one of the items mentioned below is a condition for a loving relationship!

1. Fidelity

couple sitting on foor talking

What does fidelity mean to you? And most importantly, does it mean the same for your significant other?

You have to be aware of one thing: not everyone is into monogamy. Some prefer open relationships or polyamorous relationships. And there is nothing wrong about that – as long as everyone involved knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into.

If you do choose monogamy, you must establish what cheating is. Is flirting infidelity? Where do you cross the line, and what behavior do you classify as unacceptable?

2. Loyalty

Another thing you must be on the same page about when starting a new relationship is loyalty. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being faithful and being loyal.

Loyalty is all about sticking with each other through thick and thin.

Of course, you can’t expect unconditional loyalty from someone you’ve just met. However, if you want a serious relationship, it is definitely a deal-breaker.

3. Respect

One of the biggest non-negotiables in a relationship is respect! Trust me, there cannot be love when there is no respect.

Nevertheless, first of all, you have to define what respect means to both of you. Is it just about not insulting each other in front of others? Is it not calling each other names and never crossing the line even when you fight?

Or does it also include accepting your partner for who they are without trying to change the essence of their being?

Keep one thing in mind: you can’t demand respect if you don’t respect yourself first!

4. Independence

Just because you promised to be faithful to this one person doesn’t mean that they’ve automatically got the right to control your entire life. It doesn’t mean that they can rip you of your individuality and take away your independence.

If you want to make your romantic relationship work, you have to determine which levels of freedom are acceptable.

Is it okay for your SO to have close friends of the opposite sex? Are you bothered by the fact that they often go out with their friends without including you?

What are the decisions you two should make as a team, and which can you make by yourselves?

5. Money

couple having a cup of coffee

Here’s another non-negotiable thing you must talk to your romantic partner about before planning a future together: finances. I know that this is one of the topics we would all like to avoid, but sadly, money is a huge part of your life.

You can’t expect to have a successful relationship with someone who saves every extra buck they make if you live every day like it’s your last and don’t give a damn about financial stability. I’m not saying either lifestyle is wrong – I’m just pointing out that they’re different and you’ll have a big problem in the future.

6. Religious beliefs

No, this doesn’t mean that you and your partner must have the same religious beliefs or that you have to have any religious beliefs at all. However, there is an issue if your religious beliefs will affect your relationship in the future.

What if their family doesn’t approve of them dating someone from another religion? What if you’re strictly religious, but they think every faith is nonsense and think less of you because of your beliefs?

What will happen if you decide to have children? Can you agree about raising them? What if you want to raise them in your religion while your partner wants to teach them about atheism?

7. Family

Your family is a huge part of your life, and it’s natural that you want to include them in your goals for the future. And your SO feels the same way. That is exactly why this is one of the important non-negotiables in a relationship.

How often should you visit your in-laws if you get married? To what extent will they be allowed to interfere in your life?

What about your parents? What will happen when they grow old? Let’s say that you plan on moving them somewhere near you, but your partner strongly opposes that idea?

What about your siblings? Maybe you plan on having them over at your house all the time, while your SO doesn’t see a reason to be so close with their brother and sister?

8. Friends

The same goes with friends. First of all, there is a social aspect to this non-negotiable list, and that is exactly why relationships between introverts and extroverts are so challenging.

On one side, you have someone who wants to spend all their free time hanging out with people. They enjoy throwing parties, Sunday barbecues and having guests over. On the other hand, you are an introvert who despises social gatherings. What can be done here?

And let’s not forget about your best friends who are almost like family? Maybe your partner doesn’t understand when you go running to your best friend’s house in the middle of the night just because they need you.

9. Children

This is probably one of the most significant non-negotiables in a relationship: kids. First of all, you have to decide whether you want children or not.

I mean, there is nothing to compromise about here. It’s not like you’ll agree to have kids just because your partner is a family-oriented person. You know that a child is not a toy, and you can’t choose to have one just to please your loved one.

Of course, it goes both ways. It’s not fair to sentence someone to a childless life just because it’s what you want.

Basically, there is no middle ground here. Trust me, if you aren’t compatible in regards to this, neither of you will change your minds along the way.

But your troubles won’t end if you both agree to have children. What if one of you is happy with one child while the other dreams of having a huge family?

What if you have completely opposing points of view on parenting and raising your imaginary children? These are all the things you must discuss in time!

10. Abuse

couple fighting while sitting on green sofa

This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyhow: there should be zero tolerance for abuse when starting a new relationship. And it’s crucial for you to make this absolutely clear to your partner!

No, I’m not only talking about physical abuse. I’m talking about other forms of violence, such as verbal and emotional abuse as well.

There is no compromise about this, and it should be one of your most important deal-breakers!

11. Political beliefs

Remember how we talked about religion being one of the non-negotiables in a relationship? Well, political beliefs often go hand in hand with religious ones.

If you’re both political, this non-negotiable shouldn’t concern you much.

But come on, let’s say that you’re a socially-progressive liberal. Can you really picture yourself spending the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t support civil rights and individual freedoms?

Yes, you could agree to disagree on this matter, but sooner or later, your political differences will probably come to the surface.

12. Moral values

The same goes for moral core values. Basically, you and your partner must have the same or similar definition of what’s right and what’s wrong.

That’s what moral values are all about – a certain set of rules and guidelines you live your life by. They’re the compass that you follow every day.

So what if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who has a completely different set of core values? Deep down, you consider them a bad person and judge their life choices.

13. Goals for the future

There is no doubt about one thing: you and your partner should have compatible goals for the future. Yes, it’s true that nobody can predict what will happen with complete certainty. You most certainly can’t know for sure whether something will get in the way of these plans.

However, you can at least have similar five or ten-year plans – if you want to make your relationship work.

This should include the place you want to live, the kind of family you wish to have, your marital plans, and generally, the kind of life you aspire to build.

14. Honesty

I’m warning you: don’t compromise with honesty unless you want to jeopardize your happiness, peace, and mental health. You have to be on the same page about this with your partner; otherwise, you’ll find yourself facing a big problem.

Make sure you both know that harsh truth is always better than a comforting lie – if you want to avoid some serious trust issues in the future.

15. Personal growth

couple laughing at their first date

You can’t be happy in a relationship, as much as you love your partner, if you’re not happy with your own life. That’s why you must be with someone who encourages your personal growth and well-being.

This is the person who will inspire your self-love and help your self-esteem grow. Someone who will push you forward when you need it the most and who will believe in you, even when you lose faith in yourself.

Needless to say, this goes both ways.

16. Jealousy

Some people are allergic to the smallest signs of jealousy. On the other hand, some see it as a sign of love – as long as it’s not unhealthy.

Where do you and your partner stand on this one? Sometimes, it’s about small things, such as following your exes on social media or having a best friend of the opposite sex.

Even though these things might not seem like a big deal in the beginning, they can eventually cause a big fuss in your romantic relationship if you don’t resolve them right away.

17. Commitment

Even though commitment is probably one of the scariest words in the English language when it comes to modern dating, it is still one of the most important non-negotiables in a relationship.

Actually, wait – firstly, you have to establish whether you’ll call your situationship a relationship. Will you label it, and when will it happen?

Are you both fully committed to your romance? What does it mean for your partner? Do you both see a future together?

I mean, the last thing you want is to dream of your happily ever after, just to find out that you’ve been dating a commitment-phobe all along.

18. Intimacy

Yes, I’m talking about physical intimacy. Let’s be honest – you can’t have a good relationship if things aren’t working out between the sheets.

Yes, this is something that can be worked on. However, it is crucial for you and your partner to be on the same page when it comes to intimacy.

That is, unless you want to end up spending the rest of your life with someone who has a completely different level of libido than yours. Or with someone who doesn’t enjoy the same things you do.

19. Substance abuse

How do you feel about heavy drinking every once and a while? Don’t get me started on anything more serious.

I mean, even cigarettes can be a huge problem when you share a life with someone, let alone substance abuse.

20. Dependability

couple on first date in cafe

Dependability is basically the ability to trust someone. But I’m not talking about the fact that you trust your partner not to lie to you.

Dependability is about being able to rely on your person, no matter the circumstances. It’s about knowing they won’t leave your side, whatever happens.

It’s knowing that you can count on them to take care of your well-being and trust them to always put you first.

Among other things, it’s about believing in their promises and knowing that their words will always match their actions.

21. Career

How important is a career for both of you? Would you sacrifice your love life for the sake of it?

Let’s say that you have to move across state for a better job. Would you leave everything behind and do it? What if you’re dating someone who sees their job as a way to make ends meet and nothing else?

What about having kids and starting a family? Would any of you two agree to be a stay-at-home parent? Would you pick your career over having kids?

There are some of the deep questions you have to ask your romantic partner before starting a serious relationship!

22. Energy

I’ll be honest with you: this one is the hardest to explain. But simply put, it’s your gut feeling telling you that the person sitting next to you is the right one for you.

Sometimes, everything seems great from the outside, but they don’t match your vibe. They don’t bring positivity into your life, or you don’t appreciate their sense of humor.

Despite everything, you don’t see yourself with this person. And that is not something you should compromise on!

How Do You Set Non-Negotiables In A Relationship?

couple sitting on floor talking

It’s actually pretty simple to set non-negotiables in a relationship: you just communicate all of your deal-breakers right from the start. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should ask your potential partner about their religious beliefs on the first date.

However, the moment you see that you’re no longer dating and that it’s becoming a long-term relationship, you have to open Pandora’s box.

The biggest problem among most couples is that they refuse to tackle these issues in time, and they are not honest about it.

I get it, you’re madly in love with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and the last thing you want is to reveal that your core values are opposed to theirs. So you pretend to be someone you’re not.

Or even worse, you expect that they’ll change along the way.

You know that you’re dating a heavy smoker. At the same time, you know you can’t stand being in a room where someone smokes.

But instead of talking to your significant other about this, you hope that, miraculously, they’ll stop smoking one day.

Of course, this is just an example of what can happen – you’ve got yourself an even bigger problem when there are more important things in question, like children and finances.

To sum up, the key to settling these non-negotiable things is in communication!

To Wrap Up:

The main question is: Can a couple make things work if they don’t agree on non-negotiables in a relationship? I’ll be honest with you and tell you that it’s not likely to happen.

This is one of those awful situations when love is simply not enough, as much as you want it to be. When there is no compatibility between two people (and that’s exactly what these non-negotiable things are all about), in most cases, everything else is in vain.


Category: Healthy Relationship

Infinity Kelly

Infinity Kelly(she/her) is a freelance writer and astrologer who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including astrology and relationships. She regularly contributes to elitedaily, Wooman’s Day, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Follow her on Twitter.

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