Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Angela Vaz

I don’t deny that forgiveness is often considered a cornerstone for healing and growth.

It allows couples to move forward, learn from their mistakes and deepen their emotional connection.

However, in some instances, I feel that the line between what is forgivable and not becomes blurred.

Each individual obviously has their own boundaries and values – but some actions can push those boundaries too far.

I thought I’d talk about what constitutes an unforgivable act in a relationship.

I still maintain that forgiveness should be encouraged – but at the same time, some actions can irreparably damage the foundation of trust, respect, and emotional well-being.

In this case, I feel it’s best to reconsider the relationship and perhaps end it.

My name is Angela and I have a degree in Human Relations and Psychology so this post is also based on my personal experience as I cite examples.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to click on a link and purchase something. Click here to read the full disclaimer.

1. Physical abuse

physical abuse

The minute your partner lays a hand on you – walk away.

Don’t even for one minute believe that this was a “one-time” event.


It is just going to get worse.

My first ex slapped me in the car and I was shocked.

I remember him cooly driving like nothing had happened and then telling me I made him do it.

He coerced me into believing that I was the reason for his lashing out.

He made me believe that I had brought out his violence.

I forgave him because he told me it would never happen again.

But it did.

And it got worse.

I did end up leaving the relationship but I do regret not leaving sooner.

I have read countless stories of women/men being physically abused by their partners.

They forgave and it kept happening.

It reached a stage where they finally had to ask if it was a reason to leave.

The answer is yes.

It doesn’t matter if the person didn’t cause you physical pain, injury, or endangerment – leave.

When you decide to stay with a person who has hit you – you’re telling them that it’s okay.

They will continue to disrespect you and your body and things will get worse with time.

2. Emotional abuse

emotional abuse

If your partner consistently demeans you, belittles you, or uses manipulative behavior to undermine your self-esteem and well-being – leave.

Let’s say you’ve tried talking to them.

Let’s say you’ve voiced your opinion and you’ve actually spent time telling them that the way they treat you makes you feel bad.

But they continue to hurt you with their words.


Know this.

It’s their choice to disrespect you.

Nobody is forcing them to stay these things. Emotional abuse can come in many forms:

  1. Verbal aggression: Consistently yelling at you, screaming, or using insults all comes under verbal abuse.
  2. Constant criticism: If they constantly find fault with you and pick on you for your appearance, your habits, or other personal traits – this is not something you should tolerate.
  3. Gaslighting: A lot of people don’t even know that their partner is gaslighting them. Gaslighting basically means making you believe that you’re insane. They will rewrite the story and make you believe that you’re the villain while painting themselves as the victim.
  4. Withholding affection or love: Maybe they punish you by withholding love or affection every time they don’t get what they want from you.
  5. Manipulative tactics: Do they guilt-trip you or play mind games with you in order to emotionally black you? This is unacceptable too.

3. Cheating or infidelity

cheating or infidelity

Please know that you are worthy of love.

The whole point of a monogamous relationship is to stay loyal and committed to your partner.

If that condition is not met – then honestly, what is the point?

If your partner has cheated on you emotionally or physically, leave.

It doesn’t matter if they’re just on a dating app or they’re just texting someone – it’s cheating.

They lied, they formed an intimate relationship with someone outside, or are trying to – either way, it’s over.

My ex constantly texted other girls and at some point, I started ignoring it.

Eventually, I discovered he was physically cheating on me with our neighbor for 2 whole years.

I talk about it in this post where I explain what I did after I found out my ex was cheating on me.

I called it quits and I’m so happy I did because I finally learned to love myself and eventually I did find love with a person who actually respects me.

Please know that once the trust and emotional bond are breached – it’s over.

4. Pressurizing you to have sex

pressurizing you to have sex

Your age is irrelevant at this point.

Your gender is irrelevant.

If you’ve made it clear that you’re not comfortable having sex and you find that your partner is constantly forcing you or pressuring you to have sex or engage in unwanted sexual activities – leave.

It means they do not respect you as a person – they do not respect your words and your body.

They do not care about your gratification or your needs in the relationship.

And no, you cannot make such a relationship work because this person is controlling and will do anything to get what they want.

I remember telling my current partner that I wanted to go slow – because I had a pretty awful past. He was more than understanding.

After seeing his willingness to go slow and the mutual respect we shared, we did move pretty quickly.

5. Chronic dishonesty

chronic dishonesty

This is a deal-breaker for me and should be for everyone in a relationship.

Let me lay it down for you – whether it’s a monogamous or polyamorous relationship, honesty is crucial.

If a person is consistently lying, deceiving, or hiding important information from their partner – the trust is gone.

You cannot build a relationship without trust and communication.

6. Financial betrayal

financial betrayal

This is a gray area for most people.

But I do believe this comes under lying – especially if your partner is betraying you by not telling you how they’re using your common money.

Let’s say they’re secretly misusing shared funds and constantly incurring significant debts without having a discussion with you or hiding financial information that directly affects your well-being – leave.

Even if your partner has an excessive gambling problem or sabotages your financial goals, steals, etc. don’t get into that mess.

Just leave.

My first ex would constantly rack up debt and I spent the first 2 years of our marriage working 14-16 hours a day clearing them.

He constantly lied about debts and kept borrowing money from me.

I later realized that he was spending it on the woman he was sleeping with – he had brought her jewelry, taken her on trips, and so on.

It was a mess.

But I’m glad I got out – I hadn’t ever combined our accounts so I cut my losses and moved on.

7. Addiction or substance abuse

addiction or substance abuse

Please understand that addiction is a legitimate problem.

And addiction affects both partners even if only one of them actually has the problem.

Addiction can erode trust.

Because there comes a point where they must choose. And they will break promises, lie about their substance use, or engage in deceitful behavior to hide their addiction.

They may also prioritize their addiction over the needs of the relationship. And addiction will come with financial consequences like excessive spending on drugs or alcohol.

They may struggle to hold down a decent job.

I understand that love is blind.

But love is also a choice.

When you choose to voluntarily stay with a person who chooses drugs/alcohol/etc. over you, the relationship isn’t balanced.

This addiction will create a heavy strain on the relationship.

Know that sometimes you have to choose yourself. And choosing you means leaving.

9. Isolating you from people

isolating you from people

This does come under emotional abuse, but I feel this is something that doesn’t get talked about often.

Maybe your partner is insecure and doesn’t want you to spend time with your friends or family – either way, it’s unforgivable.

Because they are slowly making you dependent on them alone.

And this is dangerous – this gives them the power to do anything and treat you however they wish.

Your partner cannot dictate how you live your life and whom you choose to meet or interact with.

You can’t decide the same for your partner either.

A healthy relationship is built on trust.

Both of you can talk to and see whomever you want.

10. Chronic unavailability

chronic unavailability

If your partner is always prioritizing their personal interests or commitments over the relationship – then I don’t see a point in staying.

I knew a guy who constantly spent time with his mother and ignored his girlfriend.

There was physically wrong with his mother but she demanded he spend time with her.

His partner often felt ignored or unimportant – their relationship eventually ended.

11. Intentional harm to children or family members

intentional harm to children or family

If your partner has threatened or even caused any sort of harm to the children or other family members – leave.

Don’t wait for a threat to turn into reality.

Threats shouldn’t happen in the first place – it’s immoral and disgusting.

There is no “giving another chance” to a person that’s violent or sadistic.

12. Intolerance and prejudice


People who have an intense hatred for certain groups are terribly insecure.

Hatred isn’t something anyone is born with – it’s something that’s taught and inculcated.

If your partner holds and expresses strong biases, or discriminatory beliefs, or engages in hateful actions towards your race, ethnicity, or religion – leave.

Don’t wait for those threats to turn into violence.

13. Overcontroling and manipulating

overcontrolling and manipulating

No matter what, you shouldn’t have to ask permission from your partner to do anything.

You want to travel, you discuss it. You don’t ask.

You want to go out for a coffee, you discuss it. You don’t ask.

You want to meet a friend, you discuss it. You don’t ask.

I live in a country where many women ask for permission to do anything.

It’s my core belief that whether you’re male or female – you have your own rights.

Nobody gets to control you.

And if your partner feels they have the right to do so, leave.

Don’t think twice.

They are disrespecting you by believing they own you.

And if your partner believes that they have to manipulate you by threatening divorce or threatening to break up – then you know that it is something your partner will always throw in your face.

That isn’t by any definition a peaceful and happy relationship – leave.

Don’t feel like you have to sacrifice your happiness to be in a relationship with someone – you don’t.

I realized after leaving my abusive relationship with my ex that I was happier single.

Yes, I did miss the perks of being in a relationship. I also felt that society (especially India, where I live) is very harsh on women who are divorced or single but I learned that it did not matter.

I made a living doing what I loved, I took care of my dogs and I continued to live in an apartment I loved.

I woke up every day to the sounds of birds instead of yelling.

I found time to do everything I loved – I was able to read more, cook more, and I spent a lot of time studying people.

I spent some time being single and loving myself – I deserved it.

And with time, I found a person whom I genuinely found loving and respectful.

When you learn to love yourself, you learn to stop saying yes to people who take away from your peace.

You learn to prioritize your needs.

That’s why learning to love yourself is so, so important!

Here are more posts you may find helpful:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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