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Minor Flaw, Major Breakup

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The asymmetry, man! The asymmetry!

"I thought after all these years of searching around
I'd found my soulmate finally.
Then one day I found out she actually owned a copy of
Joe Dirt on DVD."

A Guy or Girl of the Week who is practically perfect in every way, except for one glaring flaw that any normal person would probably be able to live with, but which the protagonist feels is too much for them to handle. The 'glaring' flaw is often something incredibly minor, and may be used to show that the protagonist is a pretty shallow, self-absorbed, petty character. Other times, the writers just wanted to hit the Reset Button.

A frequent subversion used is for the character to eventually get over their partner's minor little flaw, or finally decide to dump them — only for their partner to dump them first over something equally small and petty.

For the sake of comedy, the more that one of these breakups sounds like an example of a tale from Cloud Cuckooland, the better. Usually.

Sister Trope to Ridiculously High Relationship Standards. Compare Derailing Love Interests, Girl of the Week. Contrast Differing Priorities Breakup. See also Toilet Seat Divorce, Proxy Breakup, Second-Act Breakup.


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  • A number of ads for Burma-Shave revolved around couples breaking up because the guys refused to shave.
    Ben met Anna
    Made a hit
    Neglected beard
    Ben-Anna split

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
  • Kindergarten Wars: Rita repeatedly falls in Love at First Sight with the various assassins sent to kill the kids she's supposed to protect. She just as quickly shoots them dead when they fail to align with her interests (e.g. not waiting for the end-credits scenes when watching movies, not liking ramen, etc.)
  • Osomatsu-san: Desperate to get married in her prime, fishmonger's daughter and fish-themed idol Totoko ends up falling in with an Arab Oil Sheikh and enjoys the luxury. Said Sheikh ends up being repulsed by her fishy smell, leading her to kick him out of his own palace and hightail it back to Akatsuka Ward.
  • While not being a romantic situation at all, one Soul Eater episode has Hero, the one student mentally capable to have Excalibur as a partner (because he was the only one that didn't find Excalibur's behavior annoying). While they were perfect Meister and Weapon, the former dumped the latter because he sneezed too much and in a very disgusting manner.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Luann: Bernice dumped her boyfriend Zane because he failed to immediately notice her new glasses. Keep in mind that Bernice was a Clingy Jealous Girl who proposed marriage to him while she was still in high school, and also accused him of cheating on her with Crystal just because she kept bringing her little brother to visit him at his work (Crystal's brother was in a wheelchair like Zane, and Zane was bonding with the boy), so Zane might have dodged a bullet there.
  • There was an entire story arc dedicated to somewhat shallow Jeremy from Zits obsessing over a large mole he never noticed on the back of his girlfriend Sara's neck. It gets to him so much he begins to start seeing her as a mole herself. Eventually, he confesses to Sara and "forgives her" for her imperfection.

    Fan Works 

  • Better Bones AU: Harestar's dates don't go well do to his tendency to eat tunnelbuns by biting straight into them (they are supposed to be sliced open with only the meat inside eaten, with the unleavened bread coating being used to not keep the tunneler rations dirty when cats are underground).

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Eddie Murphy's character in Boomerang spends most of his relationships doing this to women due to an unconscious fear of commitment. He waits until after they've had sex, then breaks up with women because they don't have tiny feet and other such jackassery. Then he finally meets a woman he can't find fault in and falls in love. And she leaves him.
  • One could argue Rob's character did this — rather abruptly — to one of his teenage girlfriends in High Fidelity, dumping her on her doorstep with the line "What's the point — it never goes anywhere", after being firmly denied any boob action for several weeks.
  • Inverted in Love Actually, wherein everyone goes on about how fat the girl who makes the tea for the Prime Minister is (she isn't) and how she has 'huge thighs' — except for the Prime Minister himself, who can't see what they're going on about at all.
  • In My Blue Heaven, Barney's wife leaves him for a younger man because Barney eats his pancakes in an unusual way.
  • In Shallow Hal, Hal's friend Mauricio breaks up with a gorgeous woman far out of his league because her second toe is longer than her big toe. At least, he claims that - but later, it's revealed that he avoids closer relationships because he has a vestigial tail that embarrasses him. It's so upsetting that he turns her down when she invites him to a Beatles reunion — an event so exclusive that only 70 people are allowed to attend. (And which included George Harrison less than a year before he died.)
  • In So I Married an Axe Murderer, main character Charlie has a bad history of breaking up with his girlfriends for petty and probably made up reasons (she's a klepto, she's in the Cosa Nostra, she smells like beef soup) because he has commitment issues. This makes it hard to convince his cop friend when Charlie starts to suspect his current girlfriend might be an axe murderer.
  • Mentioned briefly in What About Bob?. Bob claims that he left his wife because she liked Neil Diamond; his psychiatrist sees through this and points out that the relationship probably ended for another reason:
    Dr. Leo Marvin: Are you married?
    Bob Wiley: I'm divorced.
    Dr. Leo Marvin: Would you like to talk about that?
    Bob Wiley: There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.
    Dr. Leo Marvin: I see. So, what you're saying is that even though you are an almost-paralyzed, multiphobic personality who is in a constant state of panic, your wife did not leave you. You left her because she... liked Neil Diamond?

  • In the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story The Birth-Mark, the Mad Scientist protagonist Aylmer obsesses over a tiny port-wine stain on his wife's cheek and eventually attempts to remove it with science. This is by Hawthorne, so you can probably guess what happens.
  • In the fifth Captain Underpants book, Ms. Ribble is briefly engaged to Mr. Krupp, but calls it off. This is not because he's her boss, or the fact that he's a sadistic Child Hater (she respects that!), and it's nothing to do with the fact that the entire engagement is one of George and Harold's pranks Gone Horribly Right. No, it's because he has a stupid-looking nose. Which, as accentuated via close-up, is identical to her own.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ron finds trivial reasons not to ask girls that are suggested to him to the Yule Ball. In this case, it's not to show Ron is shallow, but to subtly hint at his feelings for Hermione and that he wants to go with her but can't pony up the courage to ask.
    Ron: I'd rather go alone than with — Eloise Midgen, say.
    Hermione: Her acne's loads better lately — and she's really nice!
    Ron: Her nose is off center.
  • Inverted in the Jeeves and Wooster story "Jeeves Takes Charge". Bertie's engaged to Florence Craye, a girl with a terrifyingly bad temper who bosses him around, treats him like garbage, and forces him to read improving literature. He stays with her because she has such a lovely profile.
  • In Woody Allen's humorous short story "The Lunatic's Tale", the narrator breaks up with a woman because she "made the fatal mistake of defending candles shaped like Laurel and Hardy".
  • Variant: Marry Him: the Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, discusses women whose standards are set so high that they frequently reject men over trivial reasons (such as not being tall enough) only to look back 10-20 years later, wishing they hadn't. By that time, the men they had rejected are often married or no longer interested and the women are still single. A study in the book added that, when rating potential partners out of 10, the average man would consider dating a woman with a 7 out of 10 rating to be 'a catch', while the average woman would consider dating a man with an 8 out of 10 rating to be 'settling'.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Valentine convinced Stephen to divorce Amatis because of her "undesirable family connections" — her brother was a werewolf — and convinced him to marry Celine instead.
  • Lampshaded and invoked in a story story by Agatha Christie featuring Parker Pyne. After a young woman asks him to help her convince her boyfriend's My Beloved Smother that she will be a good wife to him, Pyne says he will on the condition that she answer three questions about her and her boyfriend,including whether they are, respectively, morning or night people and how they like to have the window when they sleep (open or closed). The girl thinks they're ridiculously small things, and Pyne cites that he knows of several instances where each of these questions have broken up couples, and even marriages.
  • In Thud! Nobby Nobbs manages to convince Tawneee, an exotic dancer, to go out with him despite the fact he is required to carry a piece of paper to prove he is human. The girl is described as being so ridiculously beautiful that a bar was destroyed just because she gave one guy a look, but by the end of the book, he considers breaking up with her because she can't cook. However, it turns out she only went out with him because he's the only guy who ever asked her; seeing as he has zero chance with other women he might as well try, but the fact that she has a body goddesses would kill for means every man she ever met thought she was was out of their league and didn't even try. As a result she's terrifyingly sheltered. Make what you will of the fact that Nobby is remarkably comfortable with being Disguised in Drag for a considerable portion of Jingo (and a chunk of this book as well), to the point of coming off as Ambiguously Gay, or at least more certain of his gender identity than previously suspected. In the same book, he rejects Verity Pushpram because she has "the exact opposite of a squint".
  • Played for Drama in A Song of Ice and Fire, given the horrible consequences it caused. Elia Martell had been visited by numerous suitors, the best of whom was Baelor Hightower. However, her brother Oberyn had a habit of making fun of them all, and when Baelor farted in their presence, Oberyn dubbed him "Baelor Breakwind", and after that, Elia couldn't look at him without laughing, which put the chances of them wedding at zilch. Elia ended up marrying Rhaegar Targaryen instead, with dire consequences. In the present, Tyrion idly wonders how many lives were snuffed out by that fart.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock: In a plot arc in the third and fourth seasons, Liz writes a sketch in which a fictional relationship expert advises women to break up with or reject advances from men based on inane criteria such as wearing an Atlanta Falcons jersey to a wedding with the catchphrase, "That's a dealbreaker, ladies!" The sketch is defictionalized in-universe as Liz starts giving out such advice in real life, culminating in a book deal and a short-lived talk show.
  • Ally McBeal: Ally would often dump a guy after one awkward date over a minor flaw. One guy could not eat properly and put salad on his face, or once a guy had Annoying Laugh.
  • One episode of Becker deals with Jake going on a date with a blind girl. The date seems to be going badly as Jake has apprehensions about being in a relationship with another blind person, but is talked out of ending the date just in time for the girl to find out that he's black and abruptly end the date herself.
  • An episode of Belle had the title character dating a nice guy who was wealthy and successful but when she found out he was an atheist (without showing the usual Hollywood Atheist quirks), she dumped him. This was considered to be this trope by atheists, especially as the episode somewhat clumsily states that he is worse than a killer and a drug dealer because "they can be saved and he can't". However, Christian/non-Christian marriages do tend to turn out badly, since for the Christian, their relationship with Jesus should be even more central to their life than their relationship with their spouse. Understandably, this often leads to resentment on the part of the non-Christian and over time generally result in either serious problems with the marriage, or the Christian ceasing to put her faith into practice for the sake of her spouse. For the sake of both parties, devout Christians (and the Bible) therefore generally do advise against such relationships, and so wouldn't consider the episode to contain this trope.
  • Leslie had a brief relationship with Leonard in The Big Bang Theory, but she broke it off over philosophical differences regarding their preferred model of spacetime (Leslie supports loop quantum, and often clashes over it with Sheldon, who goes in for string theory, but Leonard doesn't actually care, and would have let their hypothetical children decide for themselves).
  • Inverted in Black Books: Fran finds an old boyfriend incredibly annoying but can't resist him because he has a sexy voice.
  • Played with in Castle; Martha offers some of these kinds of reasons for breaking it off with her boyfriend. Castle explicitly notes that these are "sitcom reasons" for breaking it off with someone, and it's later revealed that this is just Martha's insecurities establishing themselves.
  • In Drake & Josh, Drake dumps his girlfriends over an Annoying Laugh and toughness. The laugh probably wouldn't have been so bad if she didn't laugh at every single little thing, which is closer to Drake's actual grievance.
  • Frasier:
    • Just about every girlfriend Frasier ever had fell under this trope. He eventually began to force himself to ignore flaws in his love interests, leading to him dating horrible women with flaws no sane person would put up with. A good example of the latter is when he wanted to break up with a woman because he knew they were entirely different people and had no mutual interests except having sex, but decided to roll with it and just enjoy the fun of having an active sex life...which lead to him forcing himself to ignore "minor" quirks such as how she howled at the moon, liked to spontaneously cut her hair and use the trimming to stuff pillows in her apartment, and make artwork out of dead mice.
    • The women themselves would often dump Frasier for the most trivial of reasons. In the episode "Three Dates and a Breakup" Frasier ended up with three dates over three nights. The first was justified in dumping him because he lied about being an animal-loving vegan, but the second storms out after she found out the first woman had been in his apartment, because of some bad blood between the two women. This despite the first woman having a perfectly valid non-romantic reason to be there and the second woman having no evidence anything happened between Frasier and the first woman (which it didn't.)
    • One episode revealed that what Frasier was doing was a subversion. Subconsciously he actually had a habit of dumping the women who were perfect for him and dating the ones whose flaws would have ruined to relationship eventually because he suffered so much heartbreak that he developed a fear of relationships.
    • Parodied in the episode "Out With Dad", when Niles has to dump his father (as he's pretending to be gay).
  • One episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had a similar scenario to the Full House example below- Will convinces Hilary to date his professor as part of a plan to keep him from flunking the class, but she decides to break up with him due to the size of his Adam's apple. Will confronted her on this, pointing out that she was still recovering from Trevor's death and just looking for excuses to not date. She got over that, but then started fixating on his mole (or perhaps the mole was first), leading to a great line:
    Will: You're making a mountain out of a mole, Hil!
  • Friends:
    • Many episodes had an example of "Major Flaw, Major Breakup." A character would seem perfect in every way but then reveal himself to have a flaw that would be taken to cartoonish extremes, and an immediate breakup would ensue.
    • Chandler in particular had a habit of breaking up over nothing: he refuses to date one girl because she "has a big head", and talks about breaking up with other women for such reasons as large nostrils and "not hating Yanni enough" (the other friends are willing to grant that breaking up with Janice was totally fair). He does end up giving the girl with the "big head" a chance, but finds that he still can't get past it. This was only mentioned once, in the episode "The One Where Heckles Dies", until "The One With Phoebe's Ex-Partner", when Chandler gets freaked out by the fact that his new girlfriend has a prosthetic leg. He gets over it, but then she discovers that he has a third nipple and breaks up with him.
    • Discussing this with Chandler, Joey says he once broke up with the perfect girl because of her gigantic Adam's apple. The others explain to him that women don't have Adam's Apples - but at his confused expression quickly backtrack and pretend they were joking.
    • Averted early in Monica and Chandler's relationship. The two try to have a romantic getaway together, but Monica keeps making them change hotel rooms due to them not meeting her standards of cleanliness, which annoys Chandler because he's trying to watch a car chase on TV. They have a fight, which causes Chandler to thinks they've broken up. A rather confused Monica points out that they just had a single fight, and it doesn't mean the relationship is over. This leads to an amusing realization for both of them:
      Monica: If you give up every time you'd have a fight with someone you'd never be with anyone longer than — Oh!
    • In "TOW Ross's Thing" Phoebe dates two guys - a kindergarten teacher and a firefighter. Eventually they find out about each other. The teacher dumps her because she had had sex with the firefighter but not with him, but then the firefighter dumps her because she had made the teacher a candlelight dinner in the park... a severe fire hazard.
    • In "TOW Ross's Teeth" Hilary breaks up with Ross just because he accidentally overwhitened his teeth while trying to impress her.
  • Danny Tanner from Full House. Earlobes that were different sizes. Though it turned out this and his other reasons were just excuses; he was reluctant to get close to another woman as he was still in mourning over his deceased wife.
  • Gilmore Girls usually had fairly realistic relationships for their main characters, but it seems like side characters couldn't catch a break, specifically Rory's closest friends Lane and Paris.
    • Henry, Lane's first major romantic interest is, in her own words, perfect for her. The flaw that worries her is that she's falling for a guy that her parents would approve of and she never tells them about Henry until it's too late.
    • Jamie, Paris's first boyfriend on the series is likewise seemingly a perfect match for her. He's an attractive Princeton student who accepts Paris's neuroses and can even keep up with her intellectually, but she breaks up with him after having an affair with one of her professors at Yale. Even Rory calls her out for being out of character.
  • Girlfriends:
    • Joan dates a man who while fairly attractive, has girl hips. Her constant obsessing over this causes them to break up.
    • Toni refused to date a guy because he was darker than her. Although this type of behavior is typical due to her being shallow, it's quite hypocritical since she herself is dark-skinned. Eventually it's revealed that when she was young, she was teased for being dark-skinned and doesn't want her children to go through the same thing.
  • Done several times on Glee to facilitate the endless Dating Do-Si-Do-ing, but the most egregious example is arguably Jesse St. James going suddenly evil again and breaking up with Rachel by egging her because...she secretly cast Puck and Finn as well as Jesse as her "boyfriend" in her So Bad, It's Good video for "Run Joey Run" without telling any of them. It's worth noting that Jesse had been manipulating Rachel the entire time, but he seemed truly hurt by the Joey debacle.
  • A two part episode of Good Luck Charlie had a fortune teller tell Teddy that she'd meet the love of her life on a ski trip. She meets two guys, the first is ignored before he even gives his name because he laughs weird. The second guy, who gets to talk long enough to tell them that he's a professional chef and model, is ignored because he tells his mom they aren't prettier than her. Her friend agrees that these boys are not good enough.
  • Half & Half:
    • Played straight in one episode where Mona's date dumped her because she wasn't "black" enough.
    • Subverted in another where DeeDee and a guy she was seeing broke up due to his foot fetish—she was fine with it at first and only wanted him to pay attention to the rest of her body as well, but when she donned a pair of knee-high boots to emphasize the point, he balked and they split.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Lampshaded in an episode when Ted thinks his new girlfriend is perfect, but everyone else finds her hard to deal with because she talks way too much. Barney describes it as "the oh moment": the moment you realise a person's fatal flaw and your perfect image of them is shattered. The rest of the episode revolves around everyone coming to notice each others' flaws: Lily's is that she chews loudly, Ted's is that he's always correcting people's grammar, Marshall's is singing about everything he does, Robin's is overusing the word 'literally', and Barney's is... basically his entire personality. The episode ends with them learning to live with these flaws, but Ted still breaks up with his Girl of the Week.
    • When Lily reveals that she has made a habit of sabotaging Ted's relationships when she doesn't like the girl or feels they're futile, she recalls planting a CD in a college girlfriend's dorm room:
    Ted: Creed?! Oh my god, I have to break up with her!
  • In iCarly, there is a "horrible" fact about Griffin in "iDate a Bad Boy" that shocks and disgusts Carly about her otherwise perfectly fine boyfriend. The horrific, awful, scream-inspiring fact is that he... collects Beanie Babies. Of course, the main character is not considered at all shallow for dumping him based on a fact that had not come up until she commented on it. And none of the other characters call her on it. Even Freddie thinks it's weird, and he's pretty nerdy/subjected to odd things via his mother. Like tick baths. And anti-bacterial underwear. Although, as shown in another episode, Griffin can be extremely obsessive about the beanies. When the power in the apartment building goes out during summer and Carly and Spencer have the only air conditioning machine in the building, Griffin hijacks the machine to keep his Beanie Babies at "optimal temperature".
  • iCarly (2021): Carly's latest boyfriend Justin in "iHate Carly" is revealed to be an internet troll who has been harassing Carly online, all because a video he submitted for iCarly was rejected. Sounds pretty serious, right? Well, that's not why Carly dumped him. She dumped him because she didn't like his poem. These types of minor flaws are discussed throughout the episode, with Harper referring to them as "the ick".
  • The IT Crowd:
    • In the third season, Jen finds herself unable to continue dating a man because he "looks like a magician". He tries to rectify this by learning magic ("would it be less weird if I actually was a magician..?"), but he's hopeless at it.
    • There is the time she dumps her boyfriend Peter after finding out his last name was File. If you don't get it, say the full name out loud a few times.
      Moss: In America they say "pedophile", perhaps you should move there.
  • In Jonathan Creek, Jonathan decides that a girl he's dating wouldn't work out because of her habit of sticking out her tongue when she eats. Later, he had a much more legitimate excuse not to date her: she turned out to be that week's killer.
  • In the Just Shoot Me! episode "In the Company of Maya", Elliott can't handle the fact that his girlfriend is in a hemorrhoid cream commercial. Then she breaks up with him because he wipes his nose with a handkerchief, which she finds disgusting.
  • Martin has the title character and his girlfriend, Gina, end up doing this in the first season after a rather vicious argument that included nasty comments against his mother and her father and disrespect over one another's feelings, likes and dislikes. What caused this blowout to happen in the first place? Gina gave Martin a sculpture of a woman's butt.
  • Scrubs lampshaded this when Turk and Elliot stage an intervention for J.D. because of his tendency to do this (specifically, because of a problem he has with how his current girlfriend reacts to his jokes). He manages to overlook her saying "that's so funny" instead of actually laughing, then realizes that her hopes/plans for the future aren't quite compatible with his, so they split because of that. His friends actually console him after the two break up, pointing out that this is actually a totally fair reason to end a relationship. Curiously, this was a Compressed Vice example, as it had earlier been established that J.D. finds it impossible to break up with girlfriends no matter the reason. In the same episode, it was revealed that J.D. almost broke up with Elliot back when they were dating because she had a mole on her butt.
  • Seinfeld:
    • This trope used to be known as "Man Hands", for the episode "The Bizarro Jerry". In it, Jerry eventually parts with a girlfriend with because she has huge, man-like hands (" George "The Animal" Steele!") which poorly complement her otherwise modelesque looks.
    • Elaine breaks up with a man because of his scarce use of exclamation points. The specific incident that drives her over the edge is him not using one on a note about her friend giving birth: she thought he dismissed something very major as unimportant.
    • In "The Engagement", Jerry resolves to stop ending relationships over minor things. Then he finds out that his Girl of the Week eats her peas one at a time. Then we find out that Jerry's real problem is with her inconsistency. She only does it with peas. With similar foods like corn niblets, she scoops them. The episode makes a great case for the idea that Jerry and George both find these kinds of reasons to break up when there's no major problem because they actually have Commitment Issues.
    • Jerry once dated a girl who was absolutely flawless. The fact that she had no flaws, he considered a flaw, so he broke up with her for it.
    • Half-mocked in "The Pie" when Jerry is angry with his current girlfriend because she won't eat a piece of pie Jerry offered her, and won't tell him why.
      Jerry: There was no reason for her not to taste that pie.
      Elaine: Dump her.
      Jerry: Well, I've never broken up with anyone for not tasting pie...
      Elaine: I once broke up with a guy for not offering me pie.
    • It worked both ways. In "The Ex-Girlfriend", Jerry's girlfriend dumps him because she doesn't find his comedy act funny. In "The Soup", George's date is turned off when he begins talking about manure.
    • In "The Butter Shave," Elaine takes it to the next level when she breaks up with David Puddy (for the second time in twelve hours) because he's sitting still and doing nothing. (They're on a plane and he won't read or otherwise entertain himself, but also refuses to nap.)
    • In "The Big Salad", George's new relationship ends when he makes a big fuss over his girlfriend "taking credit" for buying a salad for Elaine (she just handed over the bag and accepted the thank you, while George was the one who actually ordered and paid for it), while Jerry's ends because he can't get over the fact that his otherwise flawless girlfriend not only used to date Newman, but got dumped by Newman for not being pretty enough.
      Jerry: All I could think of when I was looking at her face... was that Newman found this unacceptable!
  • On Sex and the City, Charlotte breaks up with a seemingly compatible guy when she discovers that he has different preferences for china patterns. She also dumps another promising date when it turns out he's afraid of mice, which she considers an unmanly trait.
  • An episode of Still Standing had Bill, Judy, and Linda attend a high school reunion. Linda hits it off with her old boyfriend Steve Upton, but then can't get over the fact that he doesn't like The Beatles. He remembers that they broke up in high school because Linda couldn't get over the fact that Steve ordered a plain burger when they went to a burger joint.
  • In an episode of Succession, Kendall falls instantly in love with Jennifer, the lead actress of Willa's play, even convincing her to abandon the play and fly out to Scotland to be with him, only to break up with her that same episode because she came across as being shallow when he introduced her to his dad.
  • On The Suite Life on Deck, Miss Tutweiller refuses to date Mr. Moseby because he likes The Three Stooges. They get back together though. And get engaged in the finale.
  • In one episode of That '70s Show, Eric & Hyde compete over the affections of a girl. Hyde ultimately wins, but dumps her because she likes the Little River Band (and Eric is disgusted by that as well).
  • Will & Grace has this every so often. One episode has Karen falling for a servant and pretending to be one, worried he'd leave her if he found out she was rich. When he does find out, he accepts her regardless, and she gets excited and calls for champagne.
    Servant: I don't drink.
    Karen: It can't work. We're from two different worlds.
  • Wings:
    • The episode "Exit Laughing" has Helen deciding to dump her boyfriend because of his Annoying Laugh; however, he ends up dumping her first, because he cannot stand her Southern accent.
    • A subversion occurs with Lowell.
      Lowell: Sometimes a person has annoying habits that you just can't overlook. Take my wife Bunny, for instance. Every morning as she read the newspaper, she would drum her fingers on the table. Drove me crazy. That's what broke up our marriage.
      Helen: I thought it was because Bunny slept with other men.
      Lowell: Okay, make that two annoying habits.

  • The Aquabats!: "It's Crazy, Man!" from Return of the Aquabats! is about a guy who goes to a rock show with a girl, only to ditch his date when she turns out to have really bad halitosis.
    We got to the spot
    I knew something was wrong
    When she opened her mouth
    To sing along
  • The Arrogant Worms song "She Talks During Movies" is about a case of this, although what attracts the narrator to the girl in the first place is a hilarious varient of shallow attraction:
    She had beautiful eyes; two of them,
    A nose on her face and arms of equal length.
    She walked pretty well
    And had most of her teeth.
    That a girl like her could like me was beyond belief!
    So we went on a date and had dinner.
    Man, you should've seen the way she ate those chicken fingers.
    We went to the theatre; I was feeling loose...
    Then I discovered the terrible truth!
    She talks during movies!
  • "Mein Baby war beim Frisör" (My baby's been to the hairdresser's) by German Punk Rock band Die Ärzte. It's exactly what you think it is: A guy breaks up with his girlfriend because he can't stand her new look.
  • Amanda Palmer, "The Vegemite" is a downplayed example in that the singer is still at a "either it goes or I do" stage.
    I cannot hold a man so close who puts this cancer on his toast
    It is the vegemite, my darling, or it's me.
  • Jack Stauber: In "Two Time", the singer breaks up with one partner because he doesn't like the way she licks envelopes, and another because she gave away her last piece of gum to someone else. Although it's most likely just excuses for deeper Commitment Issues.
  • Todd Rundgren, "Flaw".
    You could be my everything, the envy of them all
    You'd be perfect... but you've got one fatal flaw.
  • Paul Simon's "You're Kind" from the album Still Crazy After All These Years (1975):
    So goodbye, goodbye
    I'm gonna leave you now and here's the reason why:
    I like to sleep with the window open, and you keep the window closed
    So goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • His 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood features the song "Close, But No Cigar," which is all about a lecherous guy who dumps otherwise perfect girlfriends for idiotic reasons (like owning Joe Dirt on DVD, or having an earlobe that's "just a little tiny bit too big"). In other words, the guy in the song makes Jerry Seinfeld look like James Bond.
    • In "Albuquerque", the singer dumps "the girl of [his] dreams" because she asked him if he wanted to "join the Columbia Record Club" and that was too much of a commitment. This was after years of marriage and two kids. For those who don't get the joke, the Columbia Record Club was notorious for being impossible to leave. The joke is that it's much easier to walk away from a wife, two kids, and a mortgage than that.

  • Tom Leykis once told the story of a graphic artist he knew whose girlfriend dumped him when she found out that he occasionally used Microsoft Paint in his work.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A Cards Against Humanity expy called Red Flags is partially premised on this. Each round one person is The Single, and everyone else is trying to construct the best date for The Single from cards in their hand. Every player plays two positive cards for their person, which are often wildly amazing, such as "best sex ever", "billionaire", "enjoys all of your hobbies", "has a time machine", etc. Then, each person plays a single Red Flag card on the date to their left to undermine them. Some of the red flags are pretty major, like "looks and smells exactly like your father" or "is actually six years old", while others fit this trope, like "always chews with their mouth open" or "always forgets their wallet, but always has their ID".

    Video Games 
  • Alex, the spineless protagonist of Stephen Bond's Interactive Fiction story Rameses, goes on a double date with a girl named Claire. Toward the end, he meets her by the quay and is about to kiss her but gets distracted by a mole on her face. It's enough for him to ruin the moment until, it's implied, he regrets it for quite a while after.

    Web Animation 
  • In the OverSimplified video about the War of the Bucket, the conflict between the Pope-supporting Guelphs and the emperor-supporting Ghibellines sometimes had the two factions warring over ridiculous differences. A pair of Star-Crossed Lovers from both sides lament not being able to be together because their families wear feathers on opposite sides of their caps and cut their fruit differently. They decide to overlook these arbitrary differences and toast their love. But as soon as they brandish their slightly different goblets, the guy tells the "Pope-loving wench" to get out of his sight.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has a girl breaking up with a boy for being unable to grow a beard and having one ear pierced, which the boy blames McNinja fornote .
  • A variant appears in this Girls with Slingshots strip where poor grammar is a deal-breaker enough to call off a sexual encounter. And this has happened before.
  • Non-romantic example: In Gunnerkrigg Court, after changing from fairies to humans, Red is convinced that the reason that Blue doesn't want to be her friend anymore is because Red's hair doesn't stick up anymore. Antimony and Kat try to convince her that it's probably Red's horrible behavior and mistreatment of Blue (such as not even knowing Blue's real name), but Red is insistent that that never mattered before they got human bodies. And she's right — as soon as Red figures out a way to get her hair to stand up again, Blue begs her to take her back. Fairies aren't quite like us.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella episode "LED Astray" points out how Wonderella dumps people over the smallest things. This time, she can't get over the fact that the guy she's seeing hasn't bothered to set the clock on his microwave's display.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, after slashing his way through the roses that have killed many princes, Ricardo finds the Sleeping Beauty. She snores. He turns and leaves. He has a history of this. There's a good reason his nickname is "Dick the Picky". Or, rather, a long string of shallow reasons, that was even put into song.
  • This particular variant is termed "Solar Geeklipse" in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
  • "Lycanthropy" by the infamous Scythemantis
  • This xkcd comic.

    Web Original 
  • Seinfeld - "The Twin Towers":
    • Elaine wants to dump Brian because of his annoying voice.
    • Jerry freaks out after meeting a girl and refuses to kiss her because he sees a piece of dust (which he paranoically suspects to be from the Twin Towers) stuck in her teeth. She ends up dumping him because he's so petty.

    Western Animation 
  • Caitlin Cooke, one of the main six on 6teen, has a new boyfriend/love interest in pretty much every episode where her love life is a plot point and calls practically every single guy she gets romantically involved with "The One" (Jonesy even once said outright that "Caitlin's dated more guys than I've had jobs"). However, Caitlin's notorious for dumping guys for largely superficial reasons—to name just two of the many instances of when Caitlin has dumped guys for shallow reasons:
    • Early in the series, Caitlin dated a guy named Talon, one of the few boyfriends of Caitlin to last beyond more than one episode, only for Caitlin to ultimately dump him simply because she considers him to be a bad kisser (as Caitlin describes it, "[Talon kisses] like a golden retriever!"). And this was after Caitlin was worried that Talon was going to break up with her due to him acquiring enough injuries to "almost put him in the hospital," as Jen points out to hernote .
    • In a later episode, she forced Jen to sit through two double dates with a gross (but ultimately nice) guy named Carl while Caitlin went out with Carl's (considerably hotter) best friend, Billy. After Caitlin ditched Jen to have some alone time with Billy, Jen ultimately tells Carl that while he's a Nice Guy and all, she feels that they just don't have enough common to make a compatible couple, which Carl seems to understand. To get back at Caitlin for what she put Jen (and Carl) through, the duo ends up splurging all of Caitlin's money by going to the mall's arcade and amusement park—the next day, Jen returns Caitlin's wallet, but discover Caitlin has now dumped Billy simply because he had a bunch of pimples all over his back. Furious to learn that all the sacrifices Caitlin forced to her make were for nothing, Jen reveals what she and Carl did, and Caitlin's shocked to discover her now lighter-than-usual wallet.
  • Futurama:
    • Leela has trouble keeping boyfriends because of her single large eye. (She also has large feet, but most people who get past the eye can accept that.) Not that she's any better; in one episode, she dumps a guy because of his long reptilian tongue.
      Leela: I could have liked Zapp Brannigan if he wasn't a pompous nitwit who threw me in prison.
      Bender: You really are too picky!
    • Her longest and most successful relationship ends up being with her co-worker Fry and even then, she turns down his advances for years due to him not being mature or successful enough for her and after she does return his feelings, they have an on-again, off-again relationship
    • The Professor used to go out with Mom when they were much, much younger. He eventually dumped her because she decided to make a soft-toy of his fifteen feet tall, and weaponise them. The Professor objected on the grounds that big toys "aren't cute". When they eventually reconciled over this fact, he broke up with her again for saying she'd made new sixteen feet versions.
      "Sixteen feet?! Go to Hell! I WAS A FOOL TO THINK YOU'D CHANGED!'"
  • King of the Hill:
    • A non-romantic example when Hank suddenly loses faith in then-presidential-candidate George W. Bush after finding out that he has a weak handshake. Even his friends realize how dumb it is.
      Dale: That makes a lot of sense. A lot of nonsense.
    • Bill tries to invoke a romantic example the episode he dates Reverend Karen Stroup. After she quits her job and is no longer Forbidden Fruit, he becomes bored of the relationship. Boomhauer suggests he get her to break up with him, resulting in one of the weakest attempts in television history.
      Bill: If I want to drink beer with my friends in the alley and talk about—the Devil! Then I will! Now, do you want to break up with me? Please say you want to break up with me!
      Stroup: I don't want to break up with you! I love you! [smiles]
      Bill: [sighs] Of course you do.
  • The Robot Chicken episode "May Cause Internal Diarrhea" has a sketch where a Garbage Pail Kid named Mitch (full name presumably Itchy Mitch or some variation due to constantly scratching himself) introduces his Cabbage Patch Kid girlfriend Babette Jocelyn to his family. In spite of Babette Jocelyn being repulsed and weirded out by the deformities and disgusting habits of Mitch's relatives, it isn't until Mitch's mother Bloody Mary objects to Babette Jocelyn having an Xavier Roberts tattoo on the small of her back that Mitch decides to dump her.
    Mitch: Sorry, baby. My family thinks tattoos are disgusting, and I do, too, so y-you better go.
  • The Venture Brothers has one between McManus and S-464, but it turns out to be subverted. The two of them get into an argument over S-464 having "pee pee" on his belt, and while everyone else who hears this exchange takes that as being an example of this, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch realizes McManus is referring to the letters P P, signifying that S-464 is a spy for the Peril Partnership. They reconcile (but later fall out again) after the Guild forces S-464 into becoming a mole for them.
  • In an episode of The Weekenders, Carver's new secret admirer is minor recurring character Nona, who is significantly taller than all her peers. This eats Carver up at first, but he eventually gets over it... only for Nona to suddenly realize that Carver's head looks like a pineapple, get weirded out by it (she had a fear of pineapples), and nervously back away.

    Real Life 
  • Real-life example: Glynn Wolfe, who famously remarried and divorced 29 times in his life, once divorced one of his wives because she kept eating sunflower seeds in bed. He also divorced a woman after she used his toothbrush.
  • The recent discovery that Megan Fox (yes, her!) has "toe thumbs" was apparently enough to disgust many male fans (although it's equally possible that a lot of people are just plain sick of her, and the "toe thumbs" are just an excuse or a joke.)
  • Non-dating example — in the 2007 series of Celebrity Big Brother (UK version), when several of the other female housemates were picking on Shilpa Shetty, they resorted to making fun of the fact that her second toes were "almost as long" as her big toes. Yes, something that was actually a joke in a comedy about this very topic was all they could come up with. It should be noted that the ladies in question were not up to Shilpa's level looks-wise, and a close-up showed her feet to be rather yummy (if you're into that) despite this crippling handicap, so they sounded pretty hypocritical from the off. Then the racist remarks started...
  • A somewhat popular JPG has a Fark post of someone looking at a supermodel and complaining that her knees are too pointy; superimposed over this is a photo of the stereotypical ugly nerd one imagines posted it. This has spawned the meme "2/10 would not bang", in which a photo of a supermodel or other attractive person is heavily annotated with complaints about minor or even completely imagined flaws about them or the setting of the photo (and by extension what living there implies about them).
  • Some of the entries on the "Dealbreaker" blog, the whole purpose of which is to list those irritating things which can derail a relationship from the start, can come across as this; there's lots of significant reasons why someone might be turned off by someone else, but there's also a few tiny things which suggest that the author in question has standards that are just a little too high (or superficial, or Control Freaky). Such as the person who complains about the type of .mp3 player the other person bought. And the person who breaks up with their partner because the other person doesn't like sushi (and they had this whole thing planned about about sharing sushi on the first date and the other person ruined it...).

    The blog also appears to contain some inversions, where people appear to have put up with a hell of a lot of crap for fairly superficial reasons (i.e. he's gorgeous so I can live with him being a complete sponger) only for their personality faults to eventually grow way out of control.
  • This secret from Post Secret confesses to leaving someone because of the way they put forks in a drainer... although the poster seems aware that this is ridiculous.
  • One writer has called this the Taquito Moment, after a date who bought and ate some gas-station taquitos at 3 a.m.
  • In a (possibly apocryphal) example that's Older Than Feudalism, Plutarch tells of a Roman who was divorcing his wife over his friend's objections. Holding out his shoe, he pointed out that, while it was new and well-made, "none of you can tell where it pinches me."
  • Interestingly enough, some of the flaw examples might be valid. A couple where one is a morning person and another likes to sleep in, means that with different body clocks the couple might not end up spending much time together, or one person might be constantly listless or unenthusiastic when they are. Ditto the open/closed window during sleep; if the issue is street noise, then one could be a light sleeper constantly being woken up - thus getting much less sleep and therefore grumpy. If the issue is temperature, one person constantly being hot or cold could have the same effect.

Alternative Title(s): Man Hands