Suburban Snapshots

This Was Too Long for
a Twitter Response

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A few weeks ago I hopped onto a Twitter conversation between a group of women talking about what would constitute a dealbreaker in their relationships — specifically, whether "sexting" would fall under a strict zero-tolerance policy. Most said that yes, they'd be packed and out under those circumstances, no discussion, no evaluation, no second chances.

I respect the decisiveness of the group, and the right of anyone to decide what they're willing to tolerate.  But I still have to argue the point, because what might be a dealbreaker after a year of dating might be a heated discussion and a week on the couch after a year of marriage. It might be a month of counseling once there are kids involved. And regardless of the stage of your relationship, you just don't know your dealbreakers until you're faced with a difficult situation.

The other day I joked to Facebook that I could never date a guy who didn't know how to parallel park, and you know what? In my early 20s that actually might have contributed to the end of a relationship, or at least stopped the start of one. Back then I had no mingled history, I had the luxury of being flighty, I hadn't contributed half the DNA of an entire other human or half the down payment on an entire house.

What I don't mean to say is that anyone should put up with crap they don't deserve or "stay together for the kids" if everything else has gone to hell. I just don't think we can predict the choices we'll make in hypothetical circumstances.

Long-term partnerships are all variables and attachments, the commitments we make as couples encompass far more than two people, and if a marriage lasts as it's meant to for years, conflict is inevitable.

I just think we'd do better to anticipate the struggles rather than predict our reactions.

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