As you are dating and getting to know someone, there are positive things you are hoping are there with the other, and there are other negative things you hope are not there with them. “Deal breakers” can be thought of as certain negative attributes possessed by the other person to a degree that leads you decide this will not be your future spouse. Some deal breakers are bad enough to conclude right there are then to stop dating the other person immediately. What exactly constitutes a deal breaker is an individual decision. This article will review some potential deal breakers to be aware. If the deal breaker is not excessive, perhaps the issue can be discussed, worked on, and improved enough to salvage and continue the relationship. Otherwise, such deal breakers mark the reality that the relationship will soon be over.
Potential Deal Breakers:
*A past criminal history. True, people can change and improve. However, if a person has had a criminal record, this may lead you to second guess whether or not to continue. Some examples may include past time spent in prison, violence, arson, experience as a drug dealer, stealing, etc. At the very least, people who have had criminal problems should made it clear what they have done to change their ways.
*Pedophilia or a past history as a child abuser. Those with a history or physical or sexual abuse of children tend to have a high recidivism rate where they usually return to their habits. This is especially true of sexual abusers. The difficult truth is that when adults have engaged in abuse of children, they are far more likely across the board to repeat such behaviors in the future. This is a very likely deal breaker
*Domestic violence. If the other has been physically violent with an ex—or even worse—has crossed that line with you, this well could make for an immediate deal breaker. Of course, the nature and extent of this violence matters, especially if it was in self-defense vs. an outright assault on the other person. Also, was it a one-time situation or a repetitive pattern? Note: verbal/emotional abuse at a high and repetitive level can also be considered a form of domestic violence. For more information on abusive actions/tactics in a relationship that may be deal breakers, see: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/abusive-tactics-in-relationships-103/
*Sexual Assault. If this individual has initiated a sexual assault/rape on another other person through physical force or threat, this could be a deal break. If the assault was towards you, this very well could be an immediate deal breaker. Like with the other points in this article, the nature, circumstances, and extent of the problem matters. In my opinion, there is no room or excuse for either domestic violence or sexual assault in any relationship.
*Addiction issues. Addictions are common deal breakers: drugs, alcohol, sexually acting out, gambling, and other addictions can potentially signify the imminent end of a relationship. When a person has notable, highly problematic addictions, the addiction often takes priority over the other partner, work, church, kids, and other important areas of life. Some people with addictions may not be ready and able to participate in a healthy relationship.
*Cheating/Infidelity. If your partner has cheated on an ex, this is a big concern. If your partner has cheated on you, this is an even bigger problem. Cheating can involve sex or emotional infidelity, and it can be live or virtual (over the internet or phone). If your partner cheats on you during dating, the likelihood of that happening again after marriage is higher as well. Cheating may or may not be a deal breaker, but at the very least it is highly painful and hurts trust. For more ideas on dealing with and deciding about infidelity, see this article: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/cheating-to-end-or-continue-the-relationship-262/
*Largescale religious differences. If one partner is very strong, active, and involved with church but the other person is a nonmember or possibly against your religion, this may be a dealbreaker. The religious difference will likely cause a wedge and conflict throughout the relationship and may be a big enough problem to rethink the relationship. A good rule of thumb: when people are roughly at the same level of spirituality and have a peaceful agreement/arrangement on the subject.
*Child problems. If one side wants future children and the other does not, this may be a deal breaker. If one side has a highly difficult child or children from a previous relationship, this may be too much for a new relationship. If the two partners have highly different parenting styles and discipline approaches, this also might a potential dealbreaker. All child issues should be thoroughly discussed and worked through until an acceptable arrangement to both sides is created. If not, it might be better to reconsider the relationship.
*Money problems. Finally, the earning, spending and budgeting/money management habits of both sides should be discussed, negotiated, and mutually agreed upon. If one side is in excessive debt from poor choices and is not demonstrating a responsible and feasible way to remedy the situation, that might be a deal breaker. Finally, if one side or the other is highly controlling and argumentative with money, that might signify the need to end the relationship.
Be aware of potential deal-breakers. Talk out issues you may be able to work through, and walk away from those that are not tolerable for you. It is OK to move on and look elsewhere for a person without such issues. Find a person you can live with and have a basically happy, healthy relationship with. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).