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Title: Relationship Deal-breakers Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2005 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 802 Category: Relationships
Relationship Deal-breakers By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
In 37 years that I have been counseling couples, I have discovered that there are only a few issues that are true relationship deal-breakers. Many of issues that tear relationships apart are not actual deal-breakers. Rather, most divorces and breakups are result of one or both partnerís unwillingness to learn from conflicts that exist in all primary relationships. But some conflicts and differences are actual deal-breakers.
Early in my career as a psychotherapist, I worked with Mary and Cal. Mary and Cal met when Mary was 38 and Cal was 47. Cal had been married before and had two adult children, while Mary had never been married. Cal made it very clear to Mary that he did not, under any circumstances, want more children. Mary seemed to accept this, but secretly hoped to change Calís mind once they were married.
A year after they were married, Mary brought up issue of having children. Cal was appalled. He felt angry, trapped and betrayed by Maryís secret hope, as well as by her dishonesty. Mary begged and pleaded, hoping Calís love for her would soften his position. But he stayed committed to his decision not to have any more children.
This situation has a very sad ending. Mary was devastated. She loved Cal, but having children was actually extremely important to her. She didnít want to leave him and she couldnít let go of wanting a child. The stress of situation eventually eroded her immune system and she died of ovarian cancer of few years after bringing up baby issue.
I learned a lot from Mary and Calís experience. I learned that baby issue is a deal-breaker. It is not healthy for someone who really wants a baby to give that up, and it is not healthy for someone who does not want a baby to go along with having one. This deep and basic issue needs to be dealt with head-on, early in a relationship, before people move ahead with commitment and marriage.
Rhonda and Fred fell in love in their late 30ís. Each had jobs that they loved and that were very important to them. Fred was vice-president of a large company, while Rhonda had a flourishing practice as a pediatrician. They both lived in Los Angeles. All seemed fine until an incredible opportunity opened up for Fred Ė one that he had always dreamed of. The problem was that it meant moving to New York. Fredís work became a deal-breaker.