A relationship between two relatively well-adjusted adults can be challenging enough. If you add to the mix a partner with a serious character flaw, then the relationship at best will be rocky, and at worst may be life-threatening. One of the smartest things you can do to increase your odds of sustaining a long-term, fulfilling relationship is to avoid partners with serious character flaws. The major flaws you want to avoid, numbering 12 in all, are as follows:
Any form of abusive behavior such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse or mental abuse will cast you in the role of a victim, and will make your life a living nightmare. Avoid partners who have an abusive streak. It rarely changes, and frequently escalates.
Addictions of any type, including gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, etc., are a plague on a relationship. Therefore, if you notice any addictive tendencies in your partner or prospective partner, then your interests are best served by looking elsewhere for love.
Uncontrollable, inappropriate or overly defensive anger is very stressful to live with. It will cause you to either walk on eggshells around your partner, or change you into an angry person yourself. If your partner or prospective partner has a temper that is "out of control," then you definitely want to look elsewhere for a mate.
If your partner or prospective partner acts entirely helpless and is constantly being victimized, yet does nothing to change his or her circumstances to avoid being victimized, then this is evidence of a serious character flaw that will make for a difficult relationship. Best to avoid this one altogether.
Controlling people have great difficulty trusting others. Their controlling behavior can range from mild to extreme. In extreme cases, they can be suffocating, and sometimes dangerous. If your partner or prospective partner displays a pervasive, unrelenting pattern of controlling behavior, then he or she is not a good relationship prospect.
If an intimate, pleasurable sexual relationship is important to you, then you are likely to become very frustrated and impatient with any partner who suffers from a sexual dysfunction such as impotency, inhibited libido, arousal issues or premature ejaculation, particularly if the problem is severe and longstanding, and has been unresponsive to a variety of treatment interventions. Unfortunately, since most partners are not likely to share this information with you upfront, it may take some time before you discover the truth. However, once the truth is known, it may be in your best interest to let go and move on.
IMMATURITY AND IRRESPONSIBILITY
Some people are never able to fully grow-up and take on even the most basic responsibilities required of a functioning adult. Still others address certain responsibilities, but are completely neglectful, immature or irresponsible in one or two aspects of their lives. These people can be extremely frustrating to be in a relationship with, and may even cast you in the role of parent. If this behavior is longstanding, it is unlikely to change. Consequently, you would be best served by avoiding this type of mate.
CHILDHOOD EMOTIONAL DAMAGE
While all of us can claim some emotional damage from our childhoods, those who were subjected to extreme and unrelenting emotional pain and abuse for sustained periods of their childhoods often enter into adulthood with a host of problems. These problems frequently make them unable to fully engage in an adult love relationship in a healthy, intimate, and sustainable way. Though it sounds harsh to say so, many of these people end up as "damaged goods." And, while it is noble and right to empathize with their plight, it's probably in your best interest to look elsewhere for a relationship partner.
UNRESOLVED RELATIONSHIP ISSUES
When a relationship ends, we all carry a certain amount of emotional baggage from our ended love relationship into our next relationship. However, if your partner or prospective partner cannot shake their attachment to a prior relationship partner, or continues to harbor unreasonable anger, hostility, or sadness relative to a past partner, then these unresolved issues will make this person emotionally unavailable in this next relationship. If the issues are extreme, then this constitutes a flaw that you should definitely avoid.
For any number of reasons, probably dating back to childhood, many people are not able to achieve, much less sustain intimacy. While such people may be extremely competent, and even successful, they nevertheless lack an essential ingredient for building a close, loving relationship. If we accept the precept that a loving, growing, and sustainable relationship requires an intimate connection between the partners, then those who have difficulty achieving intimacy are not good relationship prospects. Consequently, it's best to avoid them altogether.
INSECURITY AND JEALOUSY
While we are all subject to bouts of insecurity and jealousy in the context of our interpersonal relationships, many people suffer from a more pathological form of these reactive states. Relationships with people who are pathologically insecure or jealous can be extremely difficult and tumultuous, to say the least. The more extreme the behavior, the less likely it is to change, and the more difficult the relationship will be. If you are involved or contemplating an involvement with a person suffering from this character flaw, you should rethink your involvement, and consider another relationship partner.
People suffering from personality disorders pose the greatest challenge of all in forming meaningful interpersonal relationships. Personality disorders include such character types as: borderline personality; narcissistic personality; and antisocial personality, to name a few. In a nutshell, these personality types are formed very early in childhood, and are the result of faulty parenting. The two things these personality types all share in common is a lack of empathy for others, and a very low probability of ever overcoming their emotional and empathetic deficits. If you are currently involved, or are considering a relationship with someone you know or suspect is suffering from one of these personality types, you should give serious consideration to avoiding this person at all costs.