Deal Breakers

Posted by on Aug 22, 2011

It seems like we spend the majority of our lives on one constant mission and journey, the quest to find (and keep) love.  At least women do anyway.  Friends come and go, so do jobs, money and seasons, but the one thing that remains stable through it all is the fact that we are on a constant search for “The One”.

So now you’ve found them or at least someone you feel has the potential to be “The One”. Months and maybe even years go by and things between you two are good.  You’re both putting in the work necessary to keep the love you’ve found, and then the unthinkable happens.  They cheat.  They lie.  They kill.  They have another child.  Develop a substance abuse problem. Whatever it is they do, it’s serious and it has sent waves of trouble through your otherwise happy home.

What do you do?

I’m sure you’re reading through the list I just gave above and your first reaction is “Well if s/he does xxx, then I’m out. It’s over.”  But is it?  Are you sure you would leave if it happened to you?  How do you know?  What if the situation isn’t so cut and dry and there’s more at stake than a bf/gf relationship. What if there are kids?  Property?  What if you’re married?

Is your answer the same?  Could you still leave?

In this life we’ve been drilled with tips and tricks on how to seek, get and keep love, but not how to get rid of it.  Now I know it sounds crazy, why would someone want to get rid of love, especially after going through the headache to find it?  But what happens when the person you love does something to hurt you or something that threatens to hurt your relationship?  What happens when that something goes against everything you believe or is so wrong that you don’t know if you can ever forgive or love them again?

When do you throw in the towel?  When is enough, enough?

Many of us have been programmed to settle and “stick it out,” “stand by our man/woman” or to keep true to our word or vows. We’ve been bombarded with messages of slim pickings in the dating world and lines like “nobody’s perfect.”  While I agree no one is perfect, where is the line?  I’m sure all of us know or are related to someone who has stayed in a clearly unhealthy situation.  The father has cheated numerous times, the mother is 45 and still partying in the club, one is on drugs or verbally abuse…the list can go on….yet they stay.  You can see that they are unhappy and desperately long for change, yet for whatever reason…they stay.

I personally watched my grandmother for many years deal with an alcoholic grandfather (he doesn’t drink anymore) who used to be fall down, can’t put his key in the door drunk.  Granny just dragged him inside, undressed him and put him to bed, all while cursing like a sailor in her thickest West Indian accent.  But she stayed.  There were even a few times where I and my younger sister mistook his rum for water as kids and grandma just told us “No”, cussed him out for not watching his glass….and stayed.  She probably rationalized it as a thing that island men do, because I know she hated that he drank, we all knew she hated it, hell the neighbors even knew. But she never left, she never drew the line that said that she deserved better and wouldn’t live like this. I’m sure she told herself at some point she would never deal with a drunk, but she did.

My grandmother is like many people we know….like us.  How many times have you told yourself you would never do or accept xyz only to turn around and allow it?  How many times after that did you say never again only for again to come over and over?  We’ve all drawn lines in the sand and we’ve all stepped over it or allowed someone else to.  But when do you stop drawing new lines and stand firm?  When do you decide that no matter how painful the consequences of leaving, the consequences of staying could be much worse?  When do you decide that you’ve tried everything, given it your all and now something has to give?  Where is the final line and how do you know that once faced with it, you won’t cross it?

What’s your deal breaker?


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