The term “dealbreaker” is used in a number of contexts, from the dating world to the halls of finance. In all cases, it is an issue which is so important that it cannot be overlooked when negotiating a deal. If the dealbreaker is not satisfied, “the deal” will be called off, whether it's a trip to the Bahamas or a corporate merger. Identifying dealbreakers is very important, as it is a good idea to know where you are willing to negotiate and where you cannot back down.
In some cases, a dealbreaker is an issue at the outset. For example, someone looking for a new partner might decide that he or she does not want to date someone who does drugs, making drugs a dealbreaker when evaluating someone. Or a company considering a merger might think that it was extremely important to keep certain staff members employed, stipulating that their inclusion in the future of the company is a dealbreaker.
In the context of romantic relationships, a dealbreaker can also emerge in an established relationship. In some cases, one partner simply grows irritated by something which wasn't an issue before, and in other instances, people overlook an issue in the hopes that they can get used to it or reform the other person. As the relationship progresses, the dealbreaker can become a larger and larger problem, eventually spelling the end of the partnership.
Having dealbreakers is not a bad thing. By being clear about things you will and will not tolerate, you can probably establish more successful relationships and financial deals. If you know, for example, that you cannot stand people who jog, you probably shouldn't date someone who expresses a fondness for jogging. You can find plenty of other non-jogging partners in the world, rather than constantly doing battle with your partner and yourself over the issue. Or, if you're a vegetarian, you might want to think about the ramifications of dating someone who eats meat, which might not seem like a major issue in the beginning, but could develop into a dealbreaker.
It is also a good idea to discuss potential dealbreakers with people at the early stages of a relationship. A dealbreaker might not come up immediately, causing all the more disruption when it emerges in an established relationship. This is one instance in which personal ads can be extremely useful, because they allow you to clearly list your dealbreakers to potential partners from the outset.