I cannot stand cruelty to animals. For me, even something as simple as seeing a friend or partner maliciously crush a harmless insect can be a deal breaker, no matter how smart, fun, and good looking they may be. A recent study has shown that I may not be alone in my inability to see past otherwise minute imperfections. According to the research, deal breakers are far more common than we may think and may exist to help us weed out potential mates.

The study, now published online in the December issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, examined how much a factor desirable and undesirable traits were in an individual’s decision to pursue a potential romantic relationship. The team used information from six different independent studies to determine the top deal breakers for people who were choosing potential partners. The data was based on the dating preferences of around 6,000 people, UpWorthy reported.

According to the news release, these deal breakers included unattractiveness, unhealthy lifestyle, and different religious beliefs. Other common deal breakers included: undesirable personality traits, limited social status, alternate mating strategies, and incompatible relationship goals. One 2012 survey from dating site “It’s Just Lunch” found that unemployment was a particularly popular deal breaker for straight women. According to a survey of 925 women, only 4 percent responded with “of course” when asked if they would go out with an unemployed man. Another 21 percent responded with yes but were curious of what he was doing in the meantime, while the remainder admitted that they would flat-out turn down a request from such a suitor.

The team then looked at what effect age and gender had on determining which qualities were considered deal breakers for different people. They discovered that while people across ages and of both genders have deal breakers, the effect of deal breakers was stronger for women and among people in committed relationships. Overall, individuals tended to give more weight to negative traits than they did positive ones, and just one or two negative qualities were shown to be enough to cause someone to end a relationship. The trend was seen in both romantic relationships and friendships, although the tendency to part ways over a deal breaker was more likely in a romantic relationship.

“We have a general tendency to attend more closely to negative information than we do to positive information,” said Gregory Webster, one of the study’s authors in a recent press release.

Also, some traits, such as impulsivity, were seen as deal breakers for those who value predictability. On the other hand, the same traits were seen as desirable for individuals who may be particularly attracted to this type of personality.

The study suggests that the idea of deal breakers may have an evolutionary explanation and that deal breakers themselves had a role in survival. It makes sense that being attuned to a potential mate’s undesirable characteristics would be an asset.

“Things that can harm are generally more important [to pay attention to] than things that can help you,” said Webster.

Source: Garcia JR, Webster GD, Li NP, Fisher HE. Relationship Dealbreakers Traits People Avoid in Potential Mate. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2016