What’s a deal breaker in your relationship?

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It’s important to know before you commit whether there are any deal breakers lurking behind the scenes. 

Relationships are fraught with emotion, excitement, and saturated with hope from the very beginning. When chemistry, attraction, and desire between two people is activated, it becomes an almost overwhelming force of its own.  Of course there are varying degrees, and some people feel it more keenly than others; but we all recognize infatuation, a crush, or a passionate desire as the prelude to love. 

When you hop on that rollercoaster with a new person, it’s a time of discovery and excitement unmatched in human experience. You may be prepared to ride that rollercoaster until the wheels fall off, but for some, there will be a discovery, or revelation that will put the brakes on the ride and end the relationship abruptly.  This is known as a deal breaker. It’s so important that you know what it is you desire in your life partner, and bring up these issues in this tumultuous and exciting time before you commit to a long-term relationship with a partner. 

Deal breakers can be simple things that will be apparent at the outset and  help to weed out candidates for your affection immediately. Habits such as smoking, recreational drugs or drinking, other dangerous behavior such as dangerous sexual promiscuity, violence, anger issues and the like are pretty obvious to the onlooker, and certainly most people will want to steer of people with these types of issues. 

Other deal breakers can be more deeply rooted and less obvious and you may not discover them until you get to know the person you’re dating. People tend to put on their best face, be on their best behavior when they are first dating someone; and it’s not until they’ve spent a great deal of time with someone new, that they begin to let the mask slip a little, and show more of themselves to the person they’re dating.  

Certainly, there can be things in someone’s past that they’re not proud of. Everyone makes mistakes in life, you should not penalize a person for mistakes in their past, if they’ve made a sincere effort to overcome them and make amends and change their behavior so that those types of mistakes won’t happen again. The deal breaker in this scenario, would be a person who either won’t own the mistake, or willfully does wrong or hurtful actions to you or others.  

In your search for your life partner, you need to be sure of the things that, for you, would be a deal breaker, and communicate that to the person you’re dating. Talk about the things that concern you and encourage them to do the same. An authentic and sincere dialogue is needed in order to make these determinations. The last thing both of you would want is to find out years down the road, that the person you’re with is someone you didn’t know at all. 

Listen to your intuition. If your gut is telling you that something is “off”, take that seriously. Trust your feelings. It might be hard to be forthright and honest about difficult topics, especially if you feel that you risk being cut off by the person you hope to partner up with; but trust me, you’ll save yourself a lifetime of heartache in the future if you can identify the deal breakers in your relationship before you commit to a long term partnership. 


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.