8 Faith-Based Relationship Deal Breakers to Keep an Eye Out For
In a new relationship but not as content as you thought you’d be when you started dating? It could be that you’re running into red flags or relationship deal breakers.
If you find yourself wondering if things are going well or if you deserve better, it’s worth it to take a look at these common relationship deal breakers and see if any of them apply to your relationship.
In this blog post we’ll talk about:
- Knowing what our deal makers and deal breakers are
- Common deal breakers some Catholics will run into while dating
- How to discern whether a deal breaker is a big deal
- Whether to work through an issue or see it as a deal breaker for the relationship
Most of us know our deal makers
If you were asked what qualities or characteristics you’re looking for in a future spouse, would you be able to respond with a quick list? Most of us would answer ‘yes’. Maybe you have that list in mind right now.
But even though we have an idea of who we’d like to spend the rest of our life with, sometimes our real-life relationships don’t quite match up to that ideal. Instead, we may settle into relationships that lack our deal maker qualities, but have some serious relationship deal breakers instead.
But what about our deal breakers?
When we think of deal breakers in relationships, issues like abusive behavior, excessive substance abuse, or anger management problems may come to mind. While those issues are definitely red flags in a relationship, there are other, more subtle deal breakers that Catholics should keep an eye out for.
8 common deal breakers for Catholics
Are you a single Catholic emerging onto the dating scene? In a relationship and evaluating how serious things are getting? Here are eight common relationship deal breakers to consider.
1. Level of involvement in the church
Do you love being involved in your parish, but find that your partner is hesitant to participate alongside you? Are you passionate about learning more about your faith, but find that your partner is hesitant to learn alongside you?
You both may have different ways you like to pursue your faith, but if you find that your partner is apathetic when it comes to their faith, this may be a red flag to pray about and discuss with them.
2. Lack of practiced Catholic values
Just because someone you’re dating is a Catholic, doesn’t mean that Catholic values impact their daily life. If you and your partner don’t see eye to eye when it comes to living out Catholic values in your life, that may not be a good sign for your relationship.
If you are a more traditional Catholic, not only is a lack of practiced Catholic values a deal breaker, it probably will prevent a relationship from ever taking shape.
You can’t change anyone, and it’s not a healthy relationship if you’re constantly wishing your partner was different. However, you should talk to each other about what being Catholic means for your day to day living.
3. Not including faith in future plans
Is Catholicism optional when it comes to your partner’s future? Would they rather skip a Catholic, sacramental wedding and head out to the beach to exchange vows? Are they iffy on whether they’d like their future children baptized?
If you value Catholicism in your future plans, but find that’s not a shared value in your relationship, that’s a good reason to have a serious conversation with your partner.
4. Political views
It used to be socially taboo to bring up politics at the dinner table. But in today’s political climate, debates and conversations about politics are common place. But what if you don’t see eye to eye with someone that you’re dating when it comes to your political affiliation?
Are political views a deal breaker? Not if you’re able to have civil conversations about the topic and walk away feeling respected and listened to. But if your partner berates or harasses you for your political beliefs, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to be in that relationship much longer.
Just because someone is a registered republican, democrat, or libertarian doesn’t mean they agree with all the values their party emphasizes. When politics come up, see if you both are able to understand each other’s perspective and acknowledge their opinion. If you can, that’s a great sign that things can work out.
But if politics leave you both heated under the collar and at each other’s throats, it could be a deal breaker for you two.
5. Views on kids
Maybe you want four or five kids, but find that your partner would prefer just one. Perhaps you feel passionate about foster care and adoption, but your partner would rather pass. Discerning your family together is an important aspect of Catholic marriage, and it’s something you should talk about before you or they pop the big question.
Even if they came from a big family and you’re an only child, it’s possible to find a place to collaborate together when it comes to your future family size. Ultimately, it’s God who brings life into this world. But if you and your partner don’t agree about openness to life or how you’ll plan your family, it’s time for serious conversation and discernment of the relationship together.
6. Overall values
If your list of relationship deal breakers include things like “He/she must be a certain height” or “I’m not going to date them unless they have a certain hair color,” it’s time to reevaluate your relationship deal breakers. But if your list of deal makers focus on values and shared goals, you’re in a great spot.
If you find that you and your partner butt heads when it comes to the values you hold dear, it’s a good sign to take a step back and evaluate the relationship.
7. Views on relationships
Are you discerning a relationship because you’re called to marriage? You may not get along so well with someone who just goes on dates for entertainment, or who isn’t looking to settle down for a while. You also shouldn’t feel like you should have to budget when it comes to boundaries and chastity in your relationship, either.
8. Views on personal or financial growth
According to a 2018 study, money worries are the biggest issue causing marriages to fail. Are you a spender and your partner is a saver? You may not agree when it comes to future budgeting, or how you spend your date nights.
Again, if you and your partner are able to come together and collaborate on a plan for future financial decisions, this may not be a relationship deal breaker. But, despite conversation on the topic, if you continue to clash when it comes to finances, this may be a reason to back away.
Be especially aware if your partner is secretive about their money habits or intentionally hides details about their life from you. Honesty is always necessary in conversation about growth, especially when it involves your future together.
What do you do if you identify a deal breaker?
It’s not a bad thing to have a list of deal breakers and deal makers when you’re discerning a potential relationship. After all, the point of dating and relationships is to find someone to strive alongside you to get to Heaven. In that discernment process, you get to choose whether this is the person you want to journey to sainthood with or not.
Serious relationship deal breakers are good to be aware of. For instance, say you’re deeply devoted to your faith and want to raise your future family in a Catholic environment. The person you’re dating may not be interested in having faith be a major factor in the family. That difference in your lifestyle and faith choices may cause resentment and problems down the road.
Is it worth working out?
It goes without saying that any relationship that witnesses abuse of any kind (spiritual, physical, or emotional) is a reason to leave the discernment process with that person. But if the issues that you’re running into in your relationship aren’t abusive, but leave you wondering if you’re dealing with red flags, there are steps you can take.
First, take time to evaluate the issue. Some red flags are easy to detect, but others can be more subtle. Spend time reflecting on the deal breaker you may be experiencing in your relationship.
Then, in that time of prayer and reflection, work to get to the root of the issue. What exactly about the person’s behavior bothers you? Once you’re able to identify an answer, take the issue to a trusted friend, spiritual director, or relationship counselor.
Once you’ve clearly communicated your concern, bring up the topic in conversation with your partner. Ask him or her specifically about the issue and begin with “I” statements such as, “I noticed that in our conversation you brought up this stance, and I was wondering if you could explain that.”
Then see what resolution comes about. If you continue to see a pattern of red flags and deal breakers, this may be a good time to back away from the relationship.
Asking your partner about tough subjects can be hard, but those conversations are necessary in the discernment process for a healthy, wholesome relationship. In the end, you deserve a relationship that leads you to the Lord and isn’t the cause of stress and concern in your life!
Of course, you can always find faithful Catholics by going to a dating website that is made by Catholics, for Catholics! Sign up for a free trial account today to see whether online dating is for you.
Chloe Langr is a very short stay-at-home-wife, whose growth has probably been stunted by the inhumane amounts of coffee she regularly consumes. When she is not buried in a growing stack of books, she can be found spending time with her husband, geeking out over Theology of the Body, or podcasting. You can find more about her on her blog "Old Fashioned Girl."