Dealbreakers: Part V

Fifth in a series of posts. See here, here, here, and here, for previous dealbreakers.

No romantic relationship is going to be perfect in our fallen world (thanks a lot, Adam and Eve!). Even if things are starting out great, you’ll have fights and squabbles and disagreements eventually.

And a lot of times, whether you like it or not, issues will pop up that makes you question what kind of future the two of you can have together.

Let’s take a look at our last set of issues that may or may not become dealbreakers in a Catholic dating relationship.

Your Significant Other is a Terrible Driver

Dealbreakers || There's one very obvious and real way that this issue could be a dealbreaker

There’s one very obvious and real way that this issue could be a dealbreaker:  his or her driving causes an accident that kills you. Hopefully, the poor driving isn’t as bad an issue as that.

I tend to think that, barring any DUI situations, a person who drives well enough to have been given a driver’s license is probably not endangering people’s lives as a general rule.

There is also a lesser way that poor driving can be a problem. I think of it as the “Honey-what!” syndrome. One half of the couple drives poorly, scaring party #2, causing party #2 to exclaim, “Honey!” And party #1, butt-hurt at being criticized, responds with, “What!”

My husband and I saw it go down just this way between an older married couple early on in our dating relationship, and we’ve joked about it on occasion ever since.

I think the key is that ability to joke about it. My husband and I both do have our near-accident-causing moments, in which we occasionally scare the crap out of our passengers. But it’s only when the two of you let it lead to a lot of unnecessary criticism and fighting that this can start to become a dealbreaking issue.

Your Sleep Schedule Preferences are Totally Opposite

Dealbreakers || No romantic relationship is going to be perfect in our fallen world

It seems that not everyone grew up awakening before 7:00 a.m. every morning like I did. Apparently, there are some people in the world who like to sleep in until 8:00 or 9:00—or (gasp!) even later—and who typically stay up late into the night.

My husband tends toward night-owl-ism, and we started to discover how opposite our preferences were during our dating relationship. If I ever had an idea for an outing that would involve us meeting up early in the day, he tended to agree to it but would arrive pretty tired.

Then, once we got married it started to become a bigger issue, especially when we were working two extremely different but equally terrible job schedules. There was a point early on in our marriage where we would sometimes go a couple days at a time without having an opportunity to talk to one another that didn’t involve one of us being half-asleep.

If it had been this bad before we were married and living in the same house, I don’t know how we would have ever even seen each other at all.

I think our experience is actually a pretty extreme example. And yet, we ended up making it work. It did immediately get easier once I finally (and happily) quit working at Starbucks where I opened at 4:00 a.m. three mornings a week, but obviously that didn’t solve the whole problem.

What we really needed was compromise and sacrificial love, just like a lot of issues. If you’ve read any of my other posts on dealbreakers, you might guess that it came mostly from my wonderful husband.

I do stay up late with him on occasion, but he now always gets up early with me (partly because our early-rising toddler and small apartment wouldn’t have it any other way).

Do opposite sleep schedules sometimes make things difficult? Definitely. But it doesn’t have to be insurmountable.

The Two of You Have Very Different Ideas on Tidiness

Dealbreakers || The Two of You Have Very Different Ideas on Tidiness

In my rather OCD Swiss-heritaged family, I’m actually one of the members least obsessed with tidiness. If given the choice, I’d prefer a non-cluttered living area, but I’m not actually the best at always picking up after myself.

My husband and I are probably nearly equal contributors to the clutter in our home (with our two children out-cluttering us at a rate of about 500%, of course). But for some of my extended family members, these matters can get a little dicey.

Let me tell you about my grandfather. He is the most obsessively tidy person you have ever heard of. If you make a mess, he will come behind you and clean it up. Things go in their place, and there is no other way to it.

Having grown up around him and these behaviors, my sisters and I actually start to worry sometimes when occasionally our children will do things like shut cupboard doors behind us or straighten the shoes we’ve left messy: “Oh no, he’s totally Grandpa-ing!” And we start to fear for the day our kids will be driving their girlfriends or wives insane with these tendencies.

In all seriousness, sustaining a romantic relationship with someone who is obsessed with tidiness can be tricky if you yourself are not; and of course, vice versa.

But—you’ll probably see this coming—sacrificial love can make it work. For that matter, so can taking a chill pill. It’s just mess/non-mess. It shouldn’t have to be a matter of life and death importance, no matter how strongly you tend to feel about it one way or the other.

Your Significant Other Belittles You

Dealbreakers || Your Significant Other Belittles You

Sometimes, things are said in jest. I’m fine with a little teasing. No need to take yourself too seriously (see above).

But then, there are things that shouldn’t be said, jokes that shouldn’t be made, and care for the other person’s feelings that should be taking place.

Maybe you notice early on that there seem to be a lot of jokes at your expense. Talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about it. Let them know if your feelings are hurt. And maybe the issue will totally stop. He/she will understand and be more sensitive.

Or…maybe not. (Sigh.)

I’ve seen it happen in marriages, even. And the bad news is, these marriages (at least from my outsider’s perspective) don’t look like very happy ones.

If your significant other doesn’t seem to have a lot of consideration for your feelings, it might be a serious red flag. Don’t assume the problem will go away or get better over time. From my observations of others, it actually tends to get worse.

So if this is happening to you, do take it seriously and consider that it might be a legitimate dealbreaker.

There you have it—the not so bad, the tricky, the hard, and the potentially hard-core problematic. Sacrificial love can take care of a lot, but not everything. Communicate, consider problems carefully, and in the end, know when it’s best to stay in or get out.