Relationships are all about give and take, and compromise is a necessity if you’re going to stay together long-term. However, there are some things that are non-negotiable and that you should never have to sacrifice.If you end up butting heads about these things, you may be better off on your own.
An understanding of what respect means. If he belittles your emotions or tells you that you need to feel a certain way, then he doesn’t respect you. If he acts like an a-hole to your family or friends, he doesn’t respect you. Respect isn’t optional in a relationship — it’s mandatory.
The ability to voice concerns. If you can’t feel comfortable talking things out with your partner, you shouldn’t be in that relationship. It’s just that simple. If it gets to the point where you’re walking on eggshells, it’s usually best to leave before it gets any worse.
Whether or not you want kids. Children aren’t a topic you can afford to compromise on — you either want them or you don’t, and having one “just to see if you’d like i” can lead to decades of resentment. Don’t try to coerce a partner who doesn’t want a kid into having one with you, or a partner who wants a family to give up on that dream.
Hard limits. In other words, you can’t negotiate on things that you don’t find tolerable. Either they take that practice off the table, or you walk.
Major lifestyle goals. This is very similar to the issue of kids, and technically, kids fall into this category. If you want to live a vegan lifestyle in NYC and he’s a hunter from Alabama, resentment will most likely build up if you end up sacrificing one goal for another.
Whether you’re monogamous or in an open relationship. If you want to be with just one person forever but your partner would rather keep their options open, you’re in trouble. It can’t be done, primarily because people who want to be monogamous will always feel cheated when in a polyamorous relationship.
Major religious issues. This is a category of issues that can be avoided completely, or can break even the strongest of desires to stay together. If their religion basically tells them not to marry you, or will inevitably end up making your life miserable, then it’s a dealbreaker.
Sex — how often, what kind, etc. You need to be sexually compatible. Not having that spark in a relationship is basically asking you to make your life miserable for years to come, or to open up the door to infidelity. Don’t do that to yourself, or to your partner. If you aren’t getting your needs met, things will turn sour, and you’ll end up resenting them.
How they handle family issues, and how they see family dynamics. There are certain things that aren’t negotiable in the world of family. If your partner continually chooses their family over you and never stands up for you to them, it’s clear that you’ll always play second fiddle.
Feelings about drugs and alcohol. This topic is much more divisive than you would think, and it’s definitely not negotiable. A person who’s a recovering alcoholic can’t safely enter a relationship with someone who regularly drinks. There’s a reason why smokers date smokers, and why many hard partiers often find themselves single.
Cleanliness. Believe it or not, cleanliness is in the eye of the beholder. Some may view it as just showering and keeping things in neat piles. Others might be more OCD about their partner’s cleaning habits. Either way, it’s really hard to deal with a partner that has cleaning habits that are far below yours (or way more anal than yours).
Similar philosophies on money. Money is important in a relationship — very much so, in fact. If you’re dating someone who’ll put you in financial ruin, it’s not going to be a good relationship. You can’t eat love for breakfast, and love doesn’t pay the bills. At the very least, make sure your partner is at least as financially independent as you are.
Having their own interests. There’s no feasible way to have a healthy relationship when one of you has no hobbies, goals, or interests outside of being with you. This is how codependency starts, and how a relationship ends.
Kindness. If they’re being a jerk to others, they’ll eventually be a jerk to you. If they have a violent streak, you better be prepared to see the ugly side of it one day, as well. Showing a genuine concern for others is absolutely crucial to a person’s ability to contribute to a relationship. If your potential mate isn’t good at heart, then you can bet they will be pretty terrible to you as a whole.
Both people’s desire to make it work. You simply can’t do all the work in a relationship, and you can’t constantly fight an uphill battle just to stay with someone. Unless you’re both committed to it, your partnership won’t work.
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