Love is a funny thing.
We fall in love with excited, hopeful expectations about how the relationship will go. Sometimes, because we feel so hopeful and enthusiastic about this new person that we gloss right over major things that we shouldn’t.
Unfortunately, this leads to one of 2 hard situations in the long run:
Either one of you freaks out, drops a bomb about years of crushing, mouldering resentments and hits the door.
Or, you look up after 20 years and realize that this situation, this person and this life you’re now leading is wrong, has always been wrong, and you can never, ever get that time back.
Either way, it was likely always the wrong relationship and you’ve been trying to “see the good” or tell yourself that the fact that they don’t want kids is really for the best.
Save yourself time and heartbreak by never settling in a relationship on these six crucial things:
1. Personal values.
You shouldn’t ever settle for a relationship where the other person requires that you sacrifice your values to continue with them. Lots of things can be negotiated, but the more you sacrifice on this front, to please them or keep the peace— you’re playing with fire.
You shouldn’t ever violate your morals to maintain a relationship and the right person would never dream of asking you to.
Agreeing on whether or not to have children seems obvious but so many people email me about this that it belongs on this list.
To an extent I get why disagreement on this can end up causing conflict. You meet someone and they seem perfect in every way, EXCEPT they don’t want kids and you do, or vice versa. For awhile, it seems like they might change their mind or the issue feels somehow unclear.
Children represent a big deal issue that no one should compromise on. They are life changing little beings that vastly affect your happiness in every. single. way. Whether you want them or not, you cannot settle on what someone else wants for the sake of keeping a relationship with them.
If you’re with someone who you know has the opposite desire than you in this respect, you owe it to both of you to let them go, immediately. The huge amount of resentment that will eventually crop up if you compromise on having a family is likely more than your relationship can bear in the long run anyway. Save both of you the pain and trouble right now. You’ll both be better off in the long run.
3. Major life goals.
Widely varying life goals— like one of you wants to move to the Sudan for the Peace Corps and the other wants to buy a white picket fence in Cleveland, are going to cause problems. Compromise can help, but it only goes so far before one or both of starts cultivating crushing, relationship-killing resentment.
If you know that your beloved’s ideal lifestyle just doesn’t match up with yours long-term, or you would be seriously holding one of you back in some way, it isn’t fair to continue the relationship.
No matter how happy you feel now, neither of you will happy long term if you give up on your lifelong dreams for someone.
4. Abuse and disrespectful treatment.
If you’re hurt, angry or upset with the person you’re with, it requires a conversation at least— otherwise you’re selling yourself AND your partner out.
If you feel like they regularly disrespect you and it’s a pattern that your best attempt at rational conversation hasn’t handled, it’s time to make a choice. You can decide to stick around and see if it gets worse (likely) or you can make a new future for yourself. And, you ALWAYS owe it to yourself to gather up your strength and get out if you’re truly being abused.
5. Lack of passion and sexual satisfaction.
Without regular, enthusiastic sex (barring any medical conditions), your relationship ISN’T a relationship, it’s a roommate situation.
Passion waxes and wanes throughout people’s lives and this is normal.
However, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT marry or make any deeper commitment with anyone who will not participate in your sex life. Having a dead bedroom is a nasty, sad way to live. Things might be happy now, but if you’re a sexual mismatch with your beloved, the love between you will eventually become mired in hurt, resentment, pain and anguish.
You might love someone to the moon and back, but continual sexual rejection will gnaw away at one or both of you until your relationship is a hollow shell of what it once was. You deserve better. You owe it to both of you to make sure you’re well matched up in the bedroom.
6. Being someone’s option when they’re your priority.
If someone is your priority, you deserve to be more than a mere option to them.
It’s one thing if you’re both on the same page. It’s a whole other if they continually toss you crumbs when you’re chasing after them, trying to give them the whole cake. Refuse to settle for less than you really want in any given relationship. There are too many fascinating people out there for you to cling to the hope that they’ll suddenly wake up one day and realize your worth.