Being in love is awesome. It makes you feel like you can conquer anything. But in reality, even love doesn’t guarantee that you and he are 100% compatible.
Most couples have at least one big issue where they don’t see eye to eye and if it isn’t addressed, it can ruin a good thing. Here’s a list of some common deal breakers. If any of these come up for you, discuss it and see if you can figure out a healthy way to compromise. With good communication and a game plan, you can work through it.
Deal breaker: Religion
Qualities needed to make it work: Tolerance, openness, acceptance, sensitivity
When it might get tricky: Holidays or if you decide to raise kids together
Try this: Find something to appreciate and enjoy in both your religions (a holiday, a ritual, a prayer) and participate in it together. And before you two have a kid, decide how you’ll raise them spiritually and what that will entail, from which holidays you celebrate to how you’ll answer your kid’s questions about god.
Deal breaker: Politics
Qualities needed to make it work: Sense of humor, respect, maturity
When it might get tricky: Election time, watching the debates
Try this: Agree to disagree and don’t try to change each other’s mind. And for those inevitable arguments when you really take offense, try having a safe word. That’s a special, secret word you say to halt the conversation before it does damage. For this to work, once you use the safe word, the conversation has to be 100% dropped. Bonus: Some couples add a long kiss to the safe word. Makes for a happier transition into the next subject.
Deal breaker: Parents
Qualities needed to make it work: Patience, consideration, courtesy, resilience
When it might get tricky: Guess who’s coming to stay with you. For a month.
Try this: Use the 80/20 rule. Take the high road 80% of the time and do what you gotta do to stay sane 20% of the time. So, commit to endure them and turn the other cheek as best you can. Then, when you can’t take them any more, give each other permission to take time out from having to interact with the parents, without guilt or shame.
Deal breaker: Sexual compatibility
Qualities needed to make it work: Communication skills, creativity, sense of exploration, security
When it might get tricky: You’ve gone from turned on to turned off and tuned out in the bedroom and you’re barely kissing in addition to not having sex
Try this: Each of you gets to take the lead in bed, one night a week or month. On that night, you are in command of the setting, the mood, the foreplay, the positions, the pace, the lube, how you talk, and how you get off. It’s not about being selfish. It’s about setting aside some time to show each other what you like without any pressure. And when it’s not your night, try to be there for your partner and enjoy watching them get off. You’ll want them to do the same when it’s your night. We bet you’ll eventually appreciate each other’s style of sex and you’ll learn how to turn each other on.
Deal breaker: Having kids or not
Qualities needed to make it work: Thoughtfulness, responsibility, practicality, honesty, maturity
When it might get tricky: When the biological clock gets too loud to ignore
Try this: Sit down some day when you have a lot of time to just chill out and talk. Take turns sharing why you want or don’t want kids, how you think it’ll change your life, what you don’t want changed, what you’re afraid of, and see if it’s possible to find middle ground. We realize having a kid or not is a huge decision and if you sacrifice something like that, it can lead to resentment. Couples counseling can help you navigate this topic and figure out if this is something you can or cannot live with.
And while you’re figuring this out, remember that all the healthy rules apply. Like it’s nobody else’s business. You don’t need to settle or suffer in life, and you will find love again if this relationship doesn’t work out. Your opinion, feelings, and beliefs matter. And if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. Don’t force it.