Traci Golden is a survivor of abuse, survivor of adoption, and she is passionate about discussing topics that some might deem controversial.
Why Establishing Deal-Breakers is Important
In the dating world, the term “deal-breakers” is tossed around, but figuring out what exactly your deal-breakers are can, unfortunately, be realized when it is too late. Establishing deal-breakers in advance can save a lot of time and possibly relationship failure in the long-run.
Many people often wait too long after meeting someone to be faced with a conflict of values. And while you may feel the chemistry and feel confident that a person is everything you’ve ever wanted, it is important to know if their values align with yours. While physical attraction is important initially to establish chemistry, common values will be the bond that holds a relationship together.
The best way to have a firm idea of what your deal breakers are is to truly know your inner self and if you aren’t sure you do, a simple assessment can help you understand these things so that you don’t find yourself compromising what feels true and right.
Below are questions to ask yourself that will provide insight so that you know where you stand and what to look for in a partner.
After answering these questions, you will then determine how flexible each value is. For example, “Do you want kids?” If your answer is “yes,” how willing would you be to develop a relationship with someone that does not want kids?
20 Questions to Ask Yourself to Establish Deal-Breakers
1. What are your religious or spiritual beliefs? Could you spend your life with a person that believes in something completely different?
2. What are your beliefs about marriage? If you meet someone and want to get more serious, would marriage be an expectation?
3. What is your outlook on children? If you have children, do you want someone that also has kids or has no kids? If you don’t have kids, are you open to having a relationship with someone with children? Do you want more children? If not, would you change your mind if the person you like does want kids?
4. If you are a parent or intend to have kids, what are your parental values? What is your parenting style?
5. What are your priorities? In order, what is of utmost importance to you when you aren’t involved in a relationship?
6. Which priorities will you want to maintain? Which are you willing to give up or change?
7. What are your beliefs about sharing responsibility in a relationship? Should both people work? Should one partner work and the other person handle domestic duties? Are these ideas you are willing to change?
8. Do you believe manners and old-fashioned courtesy are important? How important is this to you in a partner?
9. How important is a good sense of humor and what is your idea of a good sense of humor? What kind of sense of humor do you have, and do you want a partner that matches your style?
10. What are your sexual values? Do you want someone that will wait for a certain period before sex? What are you comfortable with and is this standard something you are willing to compromise? Note: If you feel pressured, are you willing to stand your ground and maintain your boundaries?
11. What, if any, are your political values? Could you ever be in a relationship that does not share the same political beliefs?
12. What are your financial goals? Do you manage money well? If you have grand expectations and your focus is to make more money or become wealthy, are you willing to compromise? Or, if you are more focused on a humble lifestyle, could you handle someone that is more focused on financial success?
13. Do you like to go out a lot? Are you a social a butterfly or do you prefer to stay away from a lot of people? How important is it that your partner share this quality? Are you willing to be flexible with how often you go out?
14. How important is age to you? Do you prefer someone in the same age range, someone older, younger, or is this not a big deal?
15. How important is fitness and exercise? Are you a health and fitness buff? If you are, do you expect your partner to share these characteristics? And if you aren’t big on fitness, would you be able to have a relationship with someone that is?
16. Is fashion a big deal to you? Do you invest a lot of money and time into your clothing and appearance? Do you expect your partner to share this quality?
17. Are you selective about physical characteristics? Are you picky about height, weight, hair color, eye color, or other physical traits? If you are a man, are you picky about a woman’s hair length or body shape? If you are a woman, do you like a man that is clean-shaven or a man with facial hair?
18. Are you particular about cultural beliefs and traditions? Would you prefer a relationship with someone that has similar cultural values, or would you be open to diversity in a relationship?
19. Where do you stand on unhealthy habits? Do you smoke? If you do, would you prefer someone that is also a smoker? If you don’t smoke, could you be with someone that does smoke? Do you drink? What are your expectations of a partner regarding these habits? This can include standards regarding marijuana, prescription medication, and other substances.
20. What are your career and education standards? What is your level of education? Do you prefer someone with the same level of education or higher? Do you have aspirations or standards regarding social class?
The Importance of Boundaries
Not only will knowing your deal-breakers help you to find the partner you desire but establishing these as boundaries for yourself are important. You will need to maintain and enforce these boundaries no matter how great the chemistry is. When infatuated, it can be very tempting to overlook certain things that you find unacceptable deep down. By compromising your values, you are taking a big risk that can lead to failure when the "honeymoon phase" passes. After the infatuation dies down and you settle into each other, the little quirks will start coming up and then the bigger issues that have to do with values will come up if they have not already been addressed. Maintaining these boundaries are essential to success.
© 2017 Traci L Golden
Traci L Golden (author) from Texas on December 26, 2017:
@dashingscorpio: I agree that exceptions can be made, which is the purpose of self-inquiry when establishing deal-breakers. Each person must ask what is negotiable when it comes to these deal-breakers. However, one must not be too flexible once establishing deal-breakers. When infatuated, it is very easy to accept a lot. Once this infatuation passes, what is tolerated initially will probably become major irritations down the road in a relationship if too much compromise is made.
LimeyFeline on December 26, 2017:
I used to think that having a partner that's allergic to cats would be a deal breaker but my husband is allergic to cats and we still own cats, so it turned out not to be a deal breaker.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 26, 2017:
It's important to know what your "deal breakers" are and just as important to have the self discipline to stick to them.
"You will need to maintain and enforce these boundaries no matter how great the chemistry is." - Very true!
Each of us chooses our own friends, lovers, and spouse.
The problem with asking someone else questions early on during the "infatuation phase" is they're likely to tell you what (they) think (you) want to hear in order not to "blow it".
Generally speaking we have to invest a certain amount of time to truly get to know someone. There is a tendency early on for people to bend over backwards to impress one another or put one's "best foot" forward.
As you noted there is also an issue with people (knowingly) compromising their values or "deal breakers".
Imagine a guy at a cocktail party meets a drop dead gorgeous woman, they hit it off laughing and talking for a good 30 minutes. At some point she asks him to excuse her as she is going outside to smoke a cigarette.
Now if this guy hates the smell of cigarettes this should be the end of his pursing a date/relationship with her!
Instead he goes outside with her and continues their talk.
If you're willing to make "exceptions" it's not a "deal breaker".
Fowosire Halima Adebola from Osogbo, Nigeria on December 26, 2017:
Establishing deal breakers is truly important for a successful relationship. This makes it easier to make relationship decisions with your head and not just with your heart