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s/o (sort of from) attraction in a marriage : deal breakers


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This is rambling thoughts from the thread about the spouse no longer attracted to their mate.  The discussion included some thoughts on how weight might be related to a person feeling that their partner had given up on themselves, their spouse, the relationship... and it made me wonder if weight was a deal break for some.  And, then I was thinking "what are deal breakers for people?" 

 

My spouse recently said to me that the only thing he couldn't forgive in our marriage is the irreversible thing (suicide).  He can work with me on anything and everything else, but only if I'm there.  He's quite recently proven this, so I know it's no lovey-dovey line of smarm or anything like that.   I admit it surprised me.  I'm sorry I underestimated him.  It made me really think hard about things that I had held as potential deal breakers.  

 

If you choose to reply, please know that I judge no one.  I'm curious and interested in hearing thoughts and having a respectful dialogue.  I hope that others will also be respectful. 

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For me, it would be abuse. Of myself, probably, but definitely if there was abuse of the kids. 

 

And even at that, I'd likely begin with a legal separation, and if he pursued counseling, found help, and truly recovered from that, I may be open to reconciliation. But if abuse of the kids happened, we would not continue living together where it could keep happening. 

 

Other than that....I think I could forgive pretty much anything and still be married to him. We've been through a lot together, bad and good, and we keep coming out stronger for it, so......most things I would, I think, at least try to work through so long as he was willing to try also. 

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I'm wary of picking one firm line in the sand because I truly think that intention and context are important. I'd have to weigh those along with whatever [dealbreaking choice or behavior] against the best OVERALL interests of my children, our families, and ourselves. E.g., I might be able to overlook adultery in some instances, but not others. 

 

I'm on my second marriage, FWIW. It took a lot for my first husband and I to abandon our vows, we did not make the decision solely or due to any single dealbreaker. 

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A politician here recently immediately walked out, divorced and testified against her husband after finding child pornography on his computer. She's my new hero.

 

Something like that is a deal breaker. Something that means he was lying to me about who he is at his core.

I admit, reading Ravin's posts in that thread made me think. I don't think that I could stay through a transition.

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A politician here recently immediately walked out, divorced and testified against her husband after finding child pornography on his computer. She's my new hero.

 

Something like that is a deal breaker. Something that means he was lying to me about who he is at his core.

I admit, reading Ravin's posts in that thread made me think. I don't think that I could stay through a transition.

 

Ok add child porn to the list.  That would gross me out and yes that would be a deal breaker.

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I know myself well enough to know that I would not be able to reconcile cheating. Abuse, sex crimes, absolute deal breakers. Apart from that, what comes to mind is some type of addiction like gambling or drugs that would put me in such financial peril that I had to divorce him to save myself and our adult kids from more harm.

 

We have a great relationship so it is hard to imagine him engaging in any of that. Almost 30 years in and no signs of that. He prefers to be at home with me than with other people, and works from home remotely a lot so his opportunity to get in trouble is fairly limited. 

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This might be a kind of out there thing, but if my spouse told me he wanted a sex change operation.  I would be there for him as a friend, but I'm not attracted to women so that would probably be a deal breaker.  If he was ok with never having sex with me I'd probably be able to deal with it..  Otherwise, no.

 

 

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I don’t have a ton of dealbreakers. Pre-marriage I was extremely picky, but now that we are hitched I consider things like abuse or ongoing affairs deal breakers, as well as financially ruining us if there is an option to NOT do it (ie: being a wastrel or gambler is a big issue that would be hard for me, but just becoming disabled and unable to work would absolutely not be a dealbreaker).

 

I'd say the same as this.  Pre-marriage there would be a lot of deal breakers.  Post?  Very few and only huge things like other posters have said:  ongoing affairs, abuse, financial ruin due to recklessness, ...the obvious things that can destroy a life. 

 

Not being happy in the marriage?  Not a deal breaker.  Not being attracted physically?  Not a deal breaker.  Most things are not deal breakers for me.

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Abuse. Take a swing at me, abuse my kids, that's it. No second chances. Other than that...playing off of what others have said (which really didn't occur to me), child porn or sexual assault would also do it. Not all crimes, though--we've already weathered that storm together (not that he actually did what he was accused of, but you don't actually have to do something to have charges pressed on circumstantial evidence, and deciding to take a plea to avoid prison can be a rational choice.)

 

Cheating is a "N/A" here. Pretty hard to cheat in an open marriage. A truly spectacular misspending of community property would probably also do it, but I'm the breadwinner and the only money DH controls is his student loans, which are separate debt. When he was the breadwinner his whole paycheck pretty much went to bills and there was no leeway for discretionary spending. We've always discussed large purchases/debt decisions.

 

Going behind my back regarding parenting in a truly spectacular and unanticipated way might also do it. I recall when DD was on the way and we were going to be new parents and didn't know whether baby would be born a boy or girl, discussing circumcision and I basically told him that baby would NOT be circumcised and if he tried to make it happen behind my back it would be the last parenting decision he made without a court ordering him permission. I would feel the same today, though there aren't any new babies in our future. By the time DS came along he knew better than to even bring it up.

 

 

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It's close enough to cheating for me to count it under the same heading.

 

It would be an immense shock too.  Cuz wowsers there is just no indication of that. 

 

I do know someone who was shocked to find bondage type porn and communications about that flavor of things on her spouse's computer.  Yikes.  I could deal with porn.  Not a huge fan, but so long as it's not crazy stuff I'd not flip out.  But something like that would shock me.

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I hadn't even thought of some of the things being brought up.....most of this is so far removed from anything I can even fathom my dh ever doing that it isn't even on my radar (including abuse, even though that's the one thing I mentioned). 

 

But yes, some of these other things would be on my list....child porn, other sexual crimes......mainly those. I think other crimes I could work through, depending what they were, what the motives were, etc.

 

Financial stuff.....I can't even begin to imagine something he could do that would be a deal breaker. I hear what y'all are saying, but I can't wrap my brain around it actually happening. I had an aunt who spent gobs of money behind her husband's back, not putting them in ruin but definitely doing some damage; they worked their way through it and out of it. I think we'd find a way to do the same. 

 

Someone mentioned a spouse transitioning to the opposite gender....I don't see that happening here, either, but I'm thinking it's a thing we could probably make work. 

 

I think like Arctic Mama and someone else said, pre-marriage there were a lot more things that were "deal breakers" going into marriage; now that we are married, it would take an awful lot to end things and break our vows. 

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Untreated mental illness.

 

Chronic cyclical depression (likely subclinical bipolar since two of our kids have it) and ADHD which caused marriage and livelihood threatening behaviors almost ended our marriage 15 years ago. It was either therapy/medication or divorce.

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I probably have a list of half a dozen things that have already been mentioned, and could be lumped together into "willful commission of a felony."

 

I don't think I could forgive cheating. It makes me feel like a small person to spell it out, but there it is. Perhaps if it ever became something to actually challenge our marriage, I'd find the grace and strength to work towards restoration. God often has a way of supplying those things when we really need 'em.

 

Divulging private information to loco extended family members is not quite at the dealbreaker limit 😂, but it's mighty close.

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Illegal activity, possibly if he took up drinking or smoking, and definitely if the result of his choices was me developing character flaws that were not naturally mine. Maybe other things that I haven't discovered because I'm single. I don't think I'm any where near as generous as I used to be.

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Untreated mental illness.

 

Chronic cyclical depression (likely subclinical bipolar since two of our kids have it) and ADHD which caused marriage and livelihood threatening behaviors almost ended our marriage 15 years ago. It was either therapy/medication or divorce.

This would do it for me - not the illness itself, but if there were a consistent refusal to seek medical and therapeutic help - I'd have to make space in our lives for the kids and I to have a safe zone.

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I've already told Dh that gender reassignment would not be a deal breaker, and he thought I was insane. But hey, it wouldn't be.

 

His deal breaker is infidelity. I don't know that it necessarily would be for me. If it didn't impact me or the kids, I might decide that an "arraignment" was better than ending the marriage.

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Untreated mental illness is a tricky one because the illness sometimes prevents the person from making good decisions (about treatment)

 

so that wouldn't be an instant deal breaker for me...

Yes, it only became a deal breaker after a decade of marriage. At that point I felt like I had exhausted my ability to cope. Actually, what the situation was doing to our kids was the main motivating factor. The ultimatum was a gamble, but he valued family enough that he agreed to do it, even though he didn't believe he needed it. It could have just as easily gone the other direction.

 

ETA--actually I'm counting the years wrong. I guess the ultimatum was around ten years ago after fifteen years of marriage. It was a year or so after we moved to AZ so I guess it was more like 2007.

Edited by Barb_
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Smoking would also be one for me, but that's never going to happen.  He despises it as much as I do and it certainly isn't something like an affair that one can hide pretending to not be involved.  I guess we eliminated that one prior to dating each other.

 

Mental illness would only be an issue if it started leading to abuse - or cheating.

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Not much honestly sex crimes and abuse I'm not really worried about those.  I can work with anything else if he is willing to work on it.  This isn't just talk we have gone through some pretty bad stuff (things on lists here) and got through it and have a wonderful marriage now.

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Lying, apparently. The lying was to cover up a broken promise (not cheating). It was at the moment I found out he was lying that I knew we'd end up divorced. I stuck with him through hell and back, but him not trusting me enough to tell me the truth made me realize he didn't care about many things as much as he claimed to.  4 1/2 years since then and no regrets. 

 

Cheating would have been another big one. I've seen marriages mend after one spouse cheated, not sure I have that in me either. 

Edited by elegantlion
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Cheating would be a deal breaker.  I don't believe DH would EVER do that....but if I found it, that would be an instant divorce filing.

 

Abuse-myself or the kids, verbal or physical.   Full stop.

 

Committing a violent crime, of any sort.  I have an aunt who actually divorced her H after he was convicted of murder.  She didn't just divorce, she changed her name and her son's name back to her maiden name.  My cousin still carries that name, as do his wife and kids.

 

Child porn.  OMG, Hell to the no. 

 

Financial infidelity in the extreme.  Spending away like $4k on a CC or something.....I could deal with that.  Gambling away $100k and a house or something...not so much.  A CC of a few thousand can be paid off.  Putting the shelter of my children in danger....not so much. 

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I guess I have more deal breakers than most.

 

Abuse - even verbal, or even him getting depressed to the point of blaming me for his problems.  I can draw a boundary there emotionally but if he continued to blame me for things or try and make the family walk on eggshells, I'd be done.

Addiction - alcohol, drugs, even porn if he refused to address the issues.

Cheating - even emotionally

Refusing to work despite the ability and opportunity to do so

Being emotionally un-supportive for more than a few days at a time (when not obviously being caused by a newly stressful situation such as a death, etc)

Illegal or Unethical behaviors of a serious sort - think felonies, not a 5mph over speeding ticket

Anything that continually undermines my respect for him, his decision making abilities, or ethics.

 

My ex violated almost every one of these in one way or another, and they're not negotiable to me now.  That relationship was awful, but it did teach be very good boundaries. 

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It's close enough to cheating for me to count it under the same heading.

 

Hmmm.  IMO, not all close to cheating.  Cheating typically involves two consenting parties.  Child porn(should be called child rape)--making it, watching it, possessing it, whatever it is--is flat-out contributing to horrific exploitation and victimization of the innocent.  

 

 

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I guess I have more deal breakers than most.

 

Abuse - even verbal, or even him getting depressed to the point of blaming me for his problems.  I can draw a boundary there emotionally but if he continued to blame me for things or try and make the family walk on eggshells, I'd be done.

Addiction - alcohol, drugs, even porn if he refused to address the issues.

Cheating - even emotionally

Refusing to work despite the ability and opportunity to do so

Being emotionally un-supportive for more than a few days at a time (when not obviously being caused by a newly stressful situation such as a death, etc)

Illegal or Unethical behaviors of a serious sort - think felonies, not a 5mph over speeding ticket

Anything that continually undermines my respect for him, his decision making abilities, or ethics.

 

My ex violated almost every one of these in one way or another, and they're not negotiable to me now.  That relationship was awful, but it did teach be very good boundaries. 

 

For me, the concept of a deal breaker is something that I would file divorce for, no questions asked.  Some of the things you listed, might, at some point be grounds for divorce in my book, but not necessarily immediate divorce.  Like at some point, if I found my DH falling into a med or alcohol addiction, I would try to work through it with him first.  But if I felt he was completely frefusing to work the problem....divorce might be a consideration.  But, if he had sex with a coworker, or he committed a murder, or I discovered child porn on his computer...there wouldn't even be a confrontation or discusssion.  I would change the locks before he got home from work, that's how fast he would be gone. 

 

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I don't know that I ever thought about deal breakers prior to the downfall of my marriage.  Once the clock was ticking and we were in counseling and he had been diagnosed I made it very clear that the deal breakers for continuing to work on the marriage were that he stay in therapy and on meds.  He faltered, very deliberately, on both.  I have been divorced for 2 years now.

 

Many of the things others have listed led to the demise of our marriage, but they were not deal breakers in and of themselves (perhaps they should have been?).

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Probably unwillingness/inability to address serious mental illness. It has too much potential to cause long term harm to my children.

 

Fortunately, while we have had a rough road, dh has always managed (with all the support I can give) to pull himself together enough to get the help he needs and push forward.

Edited by maize
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Self-destructive behavior that he refused to stop or make a diligent effort to get help for. That would cover a wide range of things.

 

Adultery it would really have to depend on the circumstances and what efforts he took in order to make sure it doesn't happen again. Could absolutely be a deal-breaker but it's not an automatic one.

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Abuse, of me or our children.

 

Sex crimes or child porn.

 

Cheating on me — it would be a huge issue. Unforgivable? I don’t know, I hope I never know, and I can’t see it happening. So much would change. Our entire relationship would crumble. (Then again, it would also crumble if I found out that he’d cheated on me when we were younger/before we were married, because then our relationship would be based on a lie.). Whether or not it could be rebuilt is something I don’t know, and I hope I never have to find out.

 

Smoking cigarettes — that’s a major health issue for the children and me, and I’m super sensitive to cigarette smoke, so I would not be able to stay in a house where someone smoked, and I wouldn’t expose my children either. I wouldn’t automatically file for divorce over it, but we’d be separated.

 

Illegal activities or illegal drugs — it would depend on what and why and all. Drugs, and serious alcohol addiction, would be like cigarettes — I wouldn’t subject us to them, and we’d be separated until he got help.

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Just add all of your lists to this post and you'll have all of my dealbreakers.

 

I didn't realize I had so many until I started reading all of your posts and I kept saying, "Yes, that would be a dealbreaker for me, too. And so would that. And that. And that. And that. Oh, yes, and that, too..."

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A lot of the things people already listed would possibly be for me, but it would really depend on the circumstances.  So drugs, financial stuff, abuse, crime, infidelity - all possible but it would depend.  My thinking would be - are we able to live together in a family life that is workable and safe?  Can we get there with some effort and is he willing.

 

Sex change I hadn't thought of but it would probably mean a celibate relationship from my POV.  45 year old pudgy, balding men don't make girls that I could reconcile myself to being attracted to at all.  Shallow but there you go.  And philosophically we might fall out over it too.

 

Sex crimes would be a almost certain no-no, unless it was something like being a flasher or on the more technical side.

 

Mental illness almost certainly I would stay, unless there was a real legal need to separate our circumstances.

 

 

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Having been there once, I find it hard to make a list.  I mean, sometimes you don't know what you can't live with until you're trying to live with it, KWIM?

 

Definitely the biggies - abuse, cheating, anything that makes it unsafe for the kids or I to continue to stay with him.

 

That said, I'm not at all worried about dh.  Our 13th anniversary is today.  

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Having been there once, I find it hard to make a list.  I mean, sometimes you don't know what you can't live with until you're trying to live with it, KWIM?

 

Definitely the biggies - abuse, cheating, anything that makes it unsafe for the kids or I to continue to stay with him.

 

That said, I'm not at all worried about dh.  Our 13th anniversary is today. 

 

:party: Happy Anniversary!!!  :party:

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Violence of any kind, illegal activity, crimes against children, etc

 

I could deal with adultery, smoking (? this one surprised me).

 

If DH changed and became an ass, which seems much more common than things like adultery, it would be over. 

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Deal breakers in ending the marriage or ending intimacy? I would end the marriage only for adultery. In regards to abuse, I have not had to deal with that, so I can only assume I would be brave and get safe. Maybe not. Since I have my own money, I have more choices than many.

 

In regards to intimacy, there is much more to it. It basically is an effort on both our parts to be what the other wants in terms of kindness, appearance, knowledge, spirituality, shared history, etc. For example, we would not be attracted to each other during a serious disagreement, after one of us drained the bank account of the other, or while one of us was a sweaty mess, any more than if one of us became a drunken fool, obese, or shaved our head and eyebrows. In other words, we know that not only must there be a physical attraction, but, a mental one as well. We strive to do the best we can, within reason, on both parts.

Edited by Minniewannabe
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Putting the abuse and cheating issues aside...

 

We're on vacation with the kids, and there was a loud, boisterous, extroverted, man-splaining dad in the lobby with us at our destination this morning. The kind that is way overly familiar with everyone, especially employees, and you can hear every word he says over everyone. He wanted to be everyone's "tour guide". All the other families hung back and let him go ahead. Too, too, too much.

 

If my introverted, quiet DH had a complete personality change and turned into that guy, I'd demand a CT scan and psych workup. And if that turned up nothing, I'd consider separation. I don't think I could love and live with DH's (incredibly attractive) face on a personality I would never, ever have married. Zero attraction, and it makes my skin crawl thinking of it. Honestly, I could probably forgive an instance of infidelity (although I'd still demand a medical exam with that too) before I could live with that.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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Deal breakers in ending the marriage or ending intimacy? I would end the marriage only for adultery. In regards to abuse, I have not had to deal with that, so I can only assume I would be brave and get safe. Maybe not. Since I have my own money, I have more choices than many.

 

If it makes any difference, not all kinds of abuse would be deal breakers for me. I wouldn't be "brave" enough to lose any more kids, if I had any more to lose.

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