Relationship dealbreakers, financial or otherwise

It would be really nice to attend a wedding in which the couple was made for each other and we as guests fully supported the union. It’s sad to say that of the two I’ve been to (and one that I had to miss due to being out of town), none quite meet this benchmark.

“Non crazy chicks are boring” is a line I actually heard at the most recent one. Not surprisingly, this is a couple who thrive on drama – or at least, their entire relationship is built upon it. That, and the child they have together. But there’s a lot to be said for stability, especially when you already have a family. And while a little craziness can be fun, abusiveness is never kosher.

Because objectively, that’s what that relationship is. Abusive. While he’s not the only guy we know to be in a seriously unhealthy relationship – my female friends thankfully all have good taste, apparently – the other three I can think of have at least had the sense to get out. This one decided to commit for life.

And somehow, I get the feeling that saying a few vows in front of a pastor is not going to magically fix things. Just an inkling.

Abusive = overly controlling (whether that’s born of insecurity or something else, I don’t know. I’m talking setting arbitrary curfews like a parent rather than a partner, taking all your partner’s money, and so on), as well as physical abuse (manifested through blows, attempted choking, smashing of all your possessions, etc). Not all of these apply to the guy in question specifically, but these are all things that have happened collectively to the four friends I’m thinking of who’ve been in unhealthy relationships at one point or another.

Making things slightly more tricky is when mental illness plays a part. (To my knowledge, it was/is a factor in some of these cases, though I’m not of course saying mental illness is or should be a barrier to happy relationships. Please don’t think that’s what I’m getting at. What I am trying to say is that being a human punching bag, literally or figuratively, is not helping either of you). But it is not an excuse to put up with abusive treatment.

Guys (and gals). You deserve to be in a healthy and loving relationship, one that makes you feel good about yourself more of the time than not. When a restraining order is part of the mix (and you STILL go back?!), if you’re being regularly thrown out of the house, if your possessions are being unceremoniously dumped on your best man’s lawn while you hide inside his house, ALL IS NOT GRAVY.

Despite anything we say or do, sometimes they hang on in there – it’s hard to watch and stand by but sometimes that’s all you can do. Is there anything more frustrating than hearing a friend justify their partner’s unacceptable behaviour?

Though of course you can never really know unless you’re put in a situation yourself, these would be my dealbreakers:

  • Lying about finances
  • Prohibitive amounts of debt (subjective, I know)
  • Other irresponsible money habits
  • Not accepting you for who you are
  • Being overly controlling OR dependent on you
  • Doesn’t put you first (or second. Sorry, I’m still putting on my lifejacket first if the plane goes down
  • Violence of any kind. T is more than twice my size, so this would be an absolute non-negotiable. (The odd bruise caused by him picking me up with too firm a grip, – I’m delicate like an overripe fruit and was basically one giant walking bruise the year I played soccer – is excluded.)

And that’s about all I have to say about that.

With a slightly heavy heart, I ask you – what would your relationship dealbreakers be?

17 thoughts on “Relationship dealbreakers, financial or otherwise

  1. That’s so sad. No one should ever feel they can’t leave an abusive relationship, but sadly many people who do manage to leave, end up going back. A lot of people were shocked that Rhianna got back together with Chris Brown (I only know this because I watched the Grammy awards recently and some women’s groups on domestic abuse were talking about it). I can’t believe you heard “non crazy chicks are boring” at a wedding. That’s messed up.

  2. That sucks! And I’ve definiteyl heard of some of these things you talk about from people I know. It’s hard to see it and then it be repeated by the people that are in a relationship and think that what is happening is normal and acceptable, but all you can do is be a supportive friend, give advice when asked, and help when you can.

  3. Lying about finances is a big one. I’d leave them. Irresponsible money habits is another, and so is spending behind my back without me as a partner.

    I think controlling and overly dependent are big ones too. I’ve been in those relationships. Glad I got out.

    As someone who has observed abusive relationships on TV, what I have learned from the experts is that they think it’s their fault. They don’t see that they deserve better than that because they haven’t known any better.

    It’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

  4. Lying about finances, cheating, obviously physical or emotional abuse, belittling behaviors, bad with kids or animals, basically everything on your list. I’ve been in bad relationships in the past, but thankfully not abusive ones. One of my co-workers has a quote on her desk something to the effect of, “If a woman knows god’s love she’ll never settle for a man who loves her less”. I’m not super religious, but obviously I remembered the quote because I think it’s powerful. Substitute whomever (dad, granddad, uncle for god if you’re not religious).

    1. This was one of those. Not even “not 100% in support of” in this case but “100% against”. T was best man. All our conversations at the reception (outside of earshot) were about how awful it was that it had finally come to pass and there was no going back.

      Nothing you can do, really. He’s voiced his opinion often enough; beyond a certain point you just have to go along with it (or refuse to partake? thus damaging the friendship, perhaps permanently?)

      1. Interesting. The bf was also in a wedding that he was not 100% support of. I was not in the wedding party myself, but I also was not in support of the wedding. But what can you do? You can tell them what you want but at the end of the day, it’s their life.

        Biggest dealbreakers: emotional and physical abuse, and being really irresponsible with money, being a douchebag

  5. Respect is essential in a relationship, and that means respect for oneself as well as the partner. If a partner is abusive or controlling, that is not respectful behavior and the relationship must be ended. It is also disrespectful if a partner is not giving the attention and care that one wants, although one must take responsibility to ask for/articulate what one wants. (Mind reading never works in a relationship.) If a partner is disrespecting him/herself through mishandling of money or career/work options, then that is a bad situation, too. I’ve broken up relationships (including a marriage) for any one of these reasons. Luckily, I’ve been pretty quick to spot the easy ones and stayed away from drunks and addicts. (Unfortunately my sister had to learn the hard way and married/divorced TWO drunks. Ouch!)

  6. A man who wants kids is a deal breaker, because I KNOW I don’t want them. I used to think I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t want to get married, but now that I’m a little older, being in love and having a solid bond is more important than a silly ring.

  7. I think all the obvious ones…along with smoking, drugs, excessive drinking. I watched my mom in a physically abusive relationship with my stepdad (yes, they are still married) and have also witnessed emotional abuse from couples I know (mainly the woman being abusive to the guy). I would like to say I would never tolerate any of that for a second. So far, so good!

  8. Verbal and emotional abuse take a toll far worse than physical abuse would take, for me, because there is no obvious snapping point–you just find yourself slowly sinking lower and lower while making excuses for the guy, as in my last relationship.

    I would never marry a guy that couldn’t be on the same page as me financially–I have seen what that has done to my parents.

    On a lighter note, I *have* noticed that NZ guys LOOOOOVE you crazy NZ girls. I haven’t met many NZ girls from my generation who weren’t absolutely bat-sh*t like you describe above (present company excluded, of course!!). I haven’t been able to figure out if one begets the other or what. My friends and I who try to date NZ men are completely discarded, probably because we aren’t trying to control or manipulate and are actually NICE and REASONABLE?? We just can’t seem to get anywhere with the dudes. NZ dating rituals are a complete mystery to us…

    1. Argh! I don’t know! I am too ingrained in westie bogan/white trash culture because of T, and all those girls are nutso. Get it together! I wonder what the underlying causes are…

      I haven’t dated much, so I can’t really compare. (Not that we really DATE in NZ, to my knowledge – isn’t it more of either you hook up randomly then drift into a relationship, or you get asked out once and that equals committing to a relationship?) My guy friends are all lovely (not macho but still manly enough I think) but again, most of T’s westie male friends, I wouldn’t go near.

  9. Oh, wow. That seriously is too bad. I wish he had the sense to stand up instead of marrying her, but things do get a whole lot more messy when kids are involved. My deal breakers: -if you’re cheating. No second chances. -Physical Abuse. -Emotional Abuse. (But people shouldn’t overuse that term….there’s a difference between emotional abuse and going through the normal ups and downs of a relationship.) -The guy just being too dumb. It doesn’t mean I hate the fact that you’re alive. I just don’t want to be with you. I need quality conversation.

    I truly hope things work out for your friend.

  10. I feel kind of sad when reading this, I’m often surprised at how much sh*t one person can take. I’ve had my share of issues in relationships, but if I knew the person was truly not interested in making me happy, that would be a deal breaker.

  11. This makes so sad. We’ve all prayed and begged someone we love to get out of a relationship that was unhealthy, even if there was no abuse. I feel blessed to be in a loving marriage, 20+ years, that is still going strong. I pray my daughters have the same good fortune so I can enjoy the moment, rather than have an awful pit in my stomach. For me, reckless debt that they’re unwilling to fix or stop spending would be a huge deal-breaker for me. Abusive or controlling personality. Being unkind. All major dealbreakers for me.

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