Remember dating back in high school? Not only was everything uncharted territory thanks to raging hormones and possible religious shame, but everyone you considered crushing on was pitted against the standards of your peers. Their looks, their humour, their social standing within the clique they were in… It all stacked up. If your friends didn’t approve of a certain aspect it would become a deal breaker. If there was a chance you could be bullied for liking them- deal breaker. If they didn’t have those sweet 90s frosted tips- absolute deal breaker. You’d move on to the next crush and start the vetting process again. Unless you really were in teen-love, then damn the consequences! You could always buy bleach at the supermarket and frost those tips yourself!
As adults deal breakers tend to become more serious. Instead of “he really needs a better chain for his Velcro wallet” it is more about “he lives off welfare and supports the Liberal government with no sense of irony”. Mine, personally, is childbirth. You could be the perfect person, you could tick every single hypothetical box I create, but if at the end of all that you still expect me to get pregnant and push out a baby, you’re no longer perfect, or right for me.
While a lot of people still have silly little hangups they call “Deal Breakers”, most people can overlook the superficial in order to find love, or at the very least, something akin to not being lonely. However, nothing can sink the proverbial happiness boat quite like the words “I dunno, you have a few deal breaker qualities”. Especially when it comes from a close friend or lover. Even in a hypothetical conversation, words like that can send you in to a mental tailspin, especially when you have anxiety, or the comment has come after some intimate moments.
Of course being derailed by being told you have deal breaker qualities is hard to control, but it’s worth reminding yourself of a few important points.
1. You are a complete person by your self.
If you don’t feel whole or like you need another person to complete you, it’s time for some Eat-Pray-Love-esque shit. Let me assure you, while the path to self discovery/self acceptance (whatever you want to call it) is bullshit hard, it is worth it. You will be able to be alone and not feel lonely. You become the person you’re most happy to be around and your own company no longer scares the crap out of you- it actually becomes quite pleasant. Note; this doesn’t mean you won’t want or miss other people. You’ll still make meaningful connections with those around you, but those connections will be more rich because they are a delightful surplus to your already existing contentment.
2. You probably have Deal Breakers of your own.
Within your quest for self actualisation and acceptance you’ll have realised that there are things you’ll no longer put up with just to stave off being alone. Perhaps you’re an avid communicator in your day to day life and you like talking out your problems. So maybe your deal breaker is non communication. Perhaps your deal breaker is drug usage, they don’t play enough video games, or they wear socks with sandals. We’ve all got that list deep inside us somewhere.
3. They’re probably insecure about something.
Insecurities often stem from a sense of losing control over something. There’s a very good chance that whoever has told you you’ve got deal breaker qualities is battling an internal problem. Maybe they’re worried you’re moving too fast and they’re no longer in control. Or perhaps they’re worried you’ll leave them, and again, are trying to take back control by subtly undermining your confidence in your awesomeness. This is on them, not you. You stay in control of yourself and just do you. Their insecurities is a them problem.
4. They’re being open and honest with you.
It’s a blunt way of doing it and it lacks tact, but honesty isn’t something that should be sneered at. It’s very possible the person you’re having this discussion with knows you very well, and they’re trying to convey something you might already want to change. Look at it as an opportunity to see yourself through someone else’s point of view. Are these deal breakers qualities you don’t like in yourself? Maybe it’s time to do some more reshaping!
Those points aside, it is OK to feel hurt and confronted by being told you have deal breaking qualities. Words have power, much more power than people give them credit. This doesn’t mean you should just lay there and mope, and woe is you for the next millennia before Death finally rides up on his white stallion and claims you. The information gives you a chance to create a meaningful dialogue; To expand and change yourself for the better, if you wish. The knowledge lends itself an opportunity to do with it what you will. Own it, or change it.