What is Your Last Straw?
Relationships are hard. They are hard because you are dealing with two unique people, who have their own backgrounds, values, and beliefs. Despite these differences, relationships can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of life. So how do you know when these differences are deal breakers? When are a person’s unique qualities not so unique, but a deal breaker?
Well, it depends on the people. However, I think the most important part to this equation is you. What is important to you? This is where having standards and knowing your life’s direction comes into play. Comparing and aligning your partner’s qualities with your standards should make this decision easier. For instance, if you know having a financial nest egg is important to you, then you would want to date someone, who values financial security as much as you do. Another example is if you know you want children, you would only want to date someone, who also wants children. At the end of the day it is important to remember you cannot change anyone. So making sure their values and goals align with yours is crucial.
The process of determining if someone’s life goals and values align with yours is easier in the beginning of the relationship, if everyone is being honest. This means being honest about who you are and being honest about the nature of the person you are dating. Do not let the honeymoon phase fool you. Plus, if you determine early on that a person life goals and values do not align with yours it is easier for you to cut them off. Nevertheless, this is easier said then done. We are only human and because we are only human, we cannot just stop loving someone after discovering people are not who we thought they were.
So when does your spouse’s baggage, poor judgment or different values become a deal breaker? I think the answer to this question is when their baggage starts to interfere with your personal, professional and spiritual development and well-being. Let’s be honest here - love is a beautiful thing, but love will not pay the bills and it will not put food on the table.
After noticing that your partner’s baggage, poor judgment, and values are interfering with your development it is time to have a conversation. An open and honest conversation is the best place to start. You do not need to let go an entire relationship off one hick-up, because people can change. You cannot change people, but people can change themselves. So if you are good at saving money and your boyfriend is bad at saving this can be a teaching moment.
Nonetheless, if you have exhausted all conversation and are not seeing any improvement in your partner’s behavior you have come to a turning point. This is the point where you decide if this is something you can live with or if your life is better without it. This is something only you can decide and so you should think about it carefully. Most things can be worked on, if the two people in the relationship are willing to work on it.
Nevertheless at the end of the day, you have to be concerned about your overall wellbeing. No one in life will ever care for you with the same delicacy and attention as you can do for yourself. So if a person has demonstrated to you that they do not possess the qualities you have deemed as important you should ask yourself, “Will this person be able to look out and act in my best interest?”