Relationship dealbreakers: The things we can't get over
HOW many times have you heard that? "I love him, but..."
In the case of the bolting bride on Nine's Married At First Sight last night, it could very well be that her husband - who she had never met - did not fit the height restrictions she'd made up in her mind for potential partners.
We're yet to know the real reasons for Lauren ditching Andrew but he had a theory: "She does like tall guys. I go between 5-foot-11-and-three-quarters and 6-foot. In heels, she would tower over me," he said.
"I don't feel like I did anything wrong on the night. We both had a really good time."
Some people might believe that love is not conditional but relationships most certainly are. We all have deal-breakers. Regardless of the way we feel about someone, certain aspects of a potential partner might be too much for us to stick around. But before that decision to run is made, there can be times of conflict and confusion.
How do you know when to stay and work through it or when to let them go and admit that sometimes love is not enough?
To help answer this, we need to break the issues into the three different categories. This way we can decide if the "but" is too much.
For example: I love them but they don't dress well.
It's important that we are physically attracted to the person we are dating or in a relationship with. But at what point do their physical attributes become deal breakers? For some women, like potentially Andrew's new wife, it's height. For others it could be body type, dress sense or no hair.
These superficial "buts" need be internally challenged. Are you being blinded by your prejudices and not seeing who the person is on the inside? Consider whether you are about to dismiss a really great partner on a physical element or if this is more to do with general attraction or insight to who the person really is.
Sometimes a great personality is what can win someone over but what superficial compromises are you willing to make in the name of love? This is the one area you need to be more mindful of how quickly you could be rejecting a potentially great partner who could treat you well all in the name of superficiality.
Put the shoe on the other foot. How would you feel if someone didn't want to continue dating you because you were a size 12 instead of a 10?
For example: I love them but they have kids.
These situations should not automatically be deal-breakers. You have the option of changing the way you see and deal with the circumstance that you originally aren't comfortable with.
In addition, circumstantial issues tend to change over time. If they live at home with their parents, there is hope they may one day move out to their own place. But if he or she has children, these extra additions are not going anywhere. At first you might be hesitant but continuing on you might see them as a positive extra.
The next issue - how long will you wait for that change in the circumstance or from within? Can you be patient for a few more years until they find their own place? What impact will it have on your relationship if you continue to see their children as baggage for more time than they'd like?
If your "but" is circumstantial, continue on with the knowledge of where your time limit lies and know how adaptable you are to changing your mind.
For example: I love them but they're insecure.
Psychological "buts" can be the most complex of them all. These are not just things I will encourage you to look beyond like the superficial as certain elements might impact the way you are treated and unlike circumstances, things might never change. There are things that someone can work on, like commitment phobia or issues stemming from childhood.
However, you need to acknowledge when this thing you are pondering on is concrete in their personality and after some time exploring this, you know will never change. I use the example of being insecure as this trait is something often perpetrators of domestic violence suffer from.
Not everyone who is insecure will commit acts of violence against their partner. Psychological issues can turn into "I love them but they hit/controls me".
Whatever "but" you are dealing with, the most important thing to acknowledge is your individual boundaries. But do you know what they are? You are the only one who knows what you are willing to overlook and what you can't live without.
No relationship is perfect and there will always be something you have to work on or work to get over. If there is a "but" and you stay, make sure it's something that can be worked on and someone worth working on it for.
Dr Nikki Goldstein is a Sexologist and Relationship Expert.