Relationship Deal Breakers

by | Jul 22, 2015

What Are Your Relationship Dealbreakers?

How much are putting up with in your relationship? Is your partner irresponsible with money and constantly in debt, leaving you with nothing but bills and worry? Is your partner so self-absorbed that he puts himself first, even if you are in a dire situation and need his help? Is he controlling? Is she unfaithful? Clingy? Abusive? Codependent? How much are you willing to endure for the sake of staying together with your partner? How much should you endure?

In the Beginning

When you begin your relationship, you may be so entranced with your partner that you let early warning signs go unnoticed. This is just human nature. But it’s worth noting some red flags because they can become dealbreakers. At first, this red-flag behavior may seem innocuous. For example, if he is sweet as pie with you and others he wants to impress, but is brusque to the valet or the waitress. Or, if someone repeatedly drinks too much, or gossips about friends or primps in front of the mirror. These may seem minor in the throes of a new relationship, but could turn into a bigger problem later on.

What Will You Tolerate?

The guy who is brusque to the waitress may become verbally abusive and take out his anger on you. The woman who drinks too much may suffer from addiction and you have to deal with her bad behavior. Certainly that behavior could be a dealbreaker for you. But only you can decide if your partner’s problem is something you can live with. Some people can tolerate occasional affairs and look the other way when their partner is unfaithful. For others, it’s a definite dealbreaker. And sometimes it isn’t even bad behavior that’s a dealbreaker—it’s political ideology or religious beliefs. Only you can determine if it is worth coping with your partner’s issues.

Going Beyond Tolerance

Sometimes, behavior that might be dealbreakers for others is something you tolerate. If you suffer in silence because you hate conflict or are afraid to discuss your needs, you may even be enabling your partner’s bad behavior and you might be in a codependent relationship. If you won’t talk openly about your feelings, your partner may never understand that he has to adjust his behavior in order to make you life better. And to ultimately deepen and strengthen your relationship.

Unhealthy Suffering

When you suffer from your partner’s bad behavior too long, it takes a toll on your mental and physical health. You must ask yourself why you’re putting up with it. Are you a product of an emotionally unhealthy home yourself? Is your self-esteem low? Is your mental health at risk? Are you surviving through denial or unwarranted hope? Have you enacted your own unhealthy behaviors—like drinking too much—to escape your own feelings?

What Can You Do?

Sometimes the best way to love your partner is to refuse to tolerate his bad behavior. And love yourself first. And if you have children, love them enough to set an example about not tolerating situations that are injurious to your own health. In other words, sometimes, if your partner won’t or can’t change, the best course of action is to terminate your relationship. The alternative is to become more accepting of your partner’s bad behavior. The key is to make a conscious choice, as opposed to suffering on and on without understanding your circumstances and being aware of your needs. It’s hard to face up to behavior that you can’t and shouldn’t tolerate. But it’s worth it.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:


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