If you’re a single woman looking to marry and start a family, here’s a fact that may startle you: The average amount time from single status to motherhood is approximately five to seven years. For a woman now 30, that means waiting until her late 30s or early 40s to have a child. A second one might not be an option.

Now let’s contrast this with the less urgent situation of the man. He many theoretically like the idea of being married one day, but for him the issue of when that day comes isn’t as urgent. Men have the luxury of being more self-centered, putting work and friends ahead of finding a missus.

Here’s my big message: Don’t waste precious time dating the wrong guy. Don’t ignore signs of what I call relationship deal breakers. These are qualities, habits, and attributes you just know you can’t life with. Deal breakers vary from woman to woman. You may not mind a man who smokes, for example, but your best friend could never tolerate it.

Here are the top 20 deal breakers. Consider adding your own to this list.

1. No Prime Time: He’s always busy on Friday and Saturday nights.

2. Nothing in Common: He’s a sports enthusiast, you live for the ballet, and there’s no middle ground.

3. Family Matters: He always has major family obligations or faces significant issues in his family, such as interpersonal strife, mental illness, disease, a disability, or a disorder.

4. Religious Differences: Can you face the possibility of compromising or converting? Can you agree on how to raise children, if desired?

5. Politics: You fundamentally disagree on candidates and ideology.

6. Obsessions: He’s a workaholic, an incessant trainer, a fanatical enthusiast, and these obsessions take up all his time and mental energy.

7. Bad Habits: He is a slave to cigarettes, drinks excessively, smokes pot regularly, or abuses harder street drugs or prescription medication.

8. History of Bad Habits: A man “in recovery” could relapse.

9. Loner: He has no close friends from home, work, college, high school, team sports, or even the bar scene.

10. Jealous: If he doesn’t trust you, particularly around other men, it often means that he doesn’t trust himself.

11. Rude: He’s impolite to strangers, co-workers, friends, family, or people in the service industry.

12. Poor Hygiene: He has bad breath, body odor, or other forms of poor hygiene.

13. Unhealthy: He doesn’t take care of himself and is often ill or tired.

14. Unemployed or Underemployed: He doesn’t work very often, very hard, or at all.

15. Idle Rich: He’s a trust fund baby who seems to have no responsibilities and lacks a value system.

16. Values: He has moral standards you can’t abide, such his views on abortion or whether a woman should leave the workforce to raise children.

17. Lost: He doesn’t know his purpose or have any direction.

18. Boring: Your mind wanders when it’s his turn to speak.

19. Aesthetically Unpleasing: You find him physically unattractive.

20. Hothead: He has a short fuse and possibly a “chip on his shoulder.”

Know your deal breakers and check for them as early as possible in the guy who’s caught your interest. If your gut tells you this is Mr. Wrong, tell him as nicely as possible to take a hike. It’s never too early to ditch Mr. Wrong.

Author's Bio: 

Nicholas Aretakis is author of Ditching Mr. Wrong: How to End a Bad Relationship and Find Mr. Right (Next Stage Press, 2008). He hosts an interactive online community for single women at DitchingMrWrong.com.