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Relationship Dealbreakers: What Are Yours?

We all have them. And for most of us, at one time or other in our dating history, we’ve been in a relationship that ended because the other person crossed that line – or, as a friend once put it, “failed the test they didn’t know they were taking.”

I’m talking about dealbreakers here, people.

Oh don’t play innocent. Fine, you want me to go first and talk about mine? Okay. *DEEP BREATH*

Back when I was dating in my 20s, I once dumped a guy because he insisted on constantly wearing Teva sandals (HATE). In another instance, I dumped someone when they told me they LOATHED the movie Citizen Kane. (I mean, COME ON!) There was one dude who was a ringer for Kurt Cobain, but he smelled vaguely of patchouli, and I just couldn’t shake it as some kind of symbolic marker of WRONGNESS. DIRTY HIPPIE-TINGED WRONGNESS.

To a lesser extent, this is true of friendships as well. I’ve met people and hit it off with them, only to later overhear them talking enthusiastically and with zero irony about their abiding love for Celine Dion. And… yeah, umm, we’re just not going to work out, you know? Sorry, I’m sure you’re a lovely person and I see that you indeed have many fine qualities, but I cannot get past the fact that you consider listening to melodramatic shrieking a satisfying musical experience. My bad. It’s me, not you.

So I started thinking: what would constitute a dealbreaker for me now? What would, for me, be a difference in opinion that would nullify (or at least cast a deep, deathly shadow on) a relationship?

I have a few Important Things Of Importance (beyond the obvious stuff like “treats me with respect,” and “doesn’t openly mock me”) that I’m pretty sure at this point are non-negotiable:

1. You must be able to appreciate sarcasm and irony. I’m sorry, if your sense of humor isn’t relatively complex and flexible, or if you’re just OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING OMG, I really want nothing to do with you.

2. You must have an opinion about things, and be able to express your thoughts with a degree of feeling and conviction. I don’t care if we’re discussing abortion or The Beatles vs. The Stones, you *should* have your very own personal opinion about the topic, which is naturally backed up by your own reasoning/thoughts/ideas. Basically, YOU MUST THINK FOR YOURSELF. Citing the bible or any other external text as the reason behind/justification for your opinion doesn’t play well here, incidentally.

3. The Wire. If you haven’t seen it, that’s okay, we can still get you the help you need. But if you HAVE seen it, and you don’t like it? Yeah, we’re just not meant to be. It’s all in the game, cuz.

4. If you’re really into any of the following things, I’m not really sure if this is a good match: NASCAR; Precious Moments Figurine Collecting; RIVERDANCE; Real Dolls; Thomas Kincaid Paintings; The Musical Stylings of The Black Eyed Peas, Nickelback, or Celine Dion. AND SO ON, AND SO FORTH. NO THANK YOU.

I guess the difference between twenty something me and the me of now is that I wouldn’t ever intentionally put someone to the test with these things — essentially challenging them to dislike something important to me so I could locate that destructive kernel of disagreement and stew about it. I’ve frankly got too much stuff to do to focus on the negative, people.

And while I’m sure there are more dealbreaking-type examples I could personally point to, I’d be more interested to hear from all of you on this.

So. Tell me. What, if anything, would be (or are) YOUR deal breakers? Are they different for friends and romantic relationships, or do you hold everyone to the same standard(s)?

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Read more from Tracey at her personal blog, Sweetney

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More of Tracey on Sweetney & Spice:
- Does Your Marriage Have an Expiration Date?
- What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Divorce
- Do Parents Have the Right to be Happy?

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