How to Know Your Relationship Deal Breakers
My relationship of five years, and engagement, actual engagement, busted in a toxic crazy way seven months ago. Yeah, he was one of those walk out in a pandemic guys. But of course also throw in some cheating, hidden addictions, no backbone, bad habits, and probably a million red flags that I ignored because - you will never believe it! - I felt special and like I was “the one” who would be able to help him improve and grow out of these negative habits and troubling traits. Lesson learned, right?
Looking back I can see how much better off I am without him. How much healthier in every way I am without him. And I can see how I let myself “self-betray” or “self-abandon” so many times. This term is a new one for me. It might be a new one for you too. But basically it means I sold myself out in the name of lowering my standards, not wanting to rock the boat, or mostly, in my case, hoping that the things that needed to be changed would be changed soon. Soon never came. And heads up: for most of us, soon never comes.
We cannot wait or hope that the people we love will change, that the toxic stuff in our relationships will just disappear, that things will get better if there is no sign of mutual investment or personal drive and desire on the part of both folks in the relationship to do the work.
My bookshelves are full of books that I have read to “do the work.” I have a shelf of marriage and relationship stuff, that he never even looked at. And now I have a shelf of “getting past your breakup” stuff that somehow I never thought I would read, but, that I am now quite the expert on. Who would have thought!
Apparently we all need to be really clear on the things that are no’s for us, the things that are deal breakers. I thought that I was clear, but I was also so forgiving, so in love, and so blinded by hope that all of these things that hurt my soul and went against my values, that he promised he would work on, - I was so believing that he would work on them, that they would pass, that we would be free of them and able to come out strong. But, instead, he opted to keep the things, and they were not great things, and give up me.
So how do we make this list? How do we sit down and just get that there are things that we cannot have in our lives, that we do not do well around, that go against what we need in a relationship? I hear this comes from dating. I guess dating a lot. But, I have no interest in that right now so I might have to have my little list of deal breakers come from reflection on my past relationship, meditation on who I am and who I want to be in this life, and self-love so that I am able to say something when I see something, or leave sooner when things hurt.
Some deal breakers are easy - you just know that you do not want someone who smokes, or drinks too much, or that you do want someone who reads books and is good with kids and cats, right? You just know there are things that fit into your life and things that don’t.
But some of these deal breakers are a bit trickier and you might not see the red flags flying in the beginning because of that love stuff that really and truly does mess with your mind, fam. It is a chemical reaction! Like a drug! So, if you check in with yourself often, if you take actual space and take it slow, you stand a better chance of seeing and reflecting on redflags, pink flags, green flags, and act accordingly in your own best interest.
I am learning to love and respect myself and to do this in concrete ways that involve me standing up for me and what is important to me.
I am learning that I can say no. That I can put myself first. That I can truly enjoy my own company, my own freedom, and my own life and that when the time comes that I meet someone and that love thing happens, I can really truly access that inner voice within me, that sense of wait this feels off, wait I did not like that, wait is this good for me and my needs, and do what it takes to make better decisions in life and love based upon my understanding of no’s and deal breakers.
This is a lifelong lesson and process. Boundaries, personal space, self love, relationships that are healthy - surprisingly this stuff doesn't come easy or naturally for many of us.
It is “the work” of life to get to these good places.
It is the joy of life to find people who see you for who you are and walk with you as they get to their own good places but also, overlap with yours in all of those healthy, loving, respectful, and mutual ways.