As a coach, I believe wholeheartedly in the grey areas—of life, and of relationships.
Few things are black and white.
There are so many negotiables.
We choose to honor certain values over others. We decide that there is enough “right” to make it worth accepting or working on the “wrong.”
Yes—when it comes to differences, conflicts, and incompatibilities in a relationship, there is a lot you can work with.
There’s room for give and take.
There’s a place for reevaluating what you thought you needed, and being flexible enough to accept someone as they are and make the relationship work.
But there is one fundamental quality that your partner MUST have, and it’s so important that I’m willing to put a stake in the ground for it. So important, in fact, that I’ve named it the Golden Dealbreaker. It will not steer you wrong. Here it is:
Your partner must want to be with you.
If your partner doesn’t want to be with you, let go.
If you have to convince your partner why your relationship is worth it, let go.
If you have to show your partner why you’re too good to lose…let go.
You deserve somebody who wants to be with you.
You deserve somebody who can, and will choose to, bear the discomfort of ambiguity and arguments and see them through to the other side.
You deserve somebody who already sees how wonderful and worthy you are.
Have you ever tried to convince someone why they should stay?
“If I could only help him see why what we have is too good to pass up, he wouldn’t want to leave.”
“If only I could show her why I’m perfect for her, and how much I love her, she’d change her mind.”
And then what? What about next time? You deserve a partner who doesn’t need to be shown or convinced how wonderful and right for him or her you are. (And, it bears noting, your partner deserves to make his or her own decisions.)
A disclaimer here: There are some who would take this principle to its greatest extreme and say you should never, ever, not once fight for a relationship once someone says s/he wants to leave.
To my mind, there is a place to fight for what you believe is important. If you’re on (or just over) the threshold of a breakup and you believe your relationship is worth fighting for…
If your gut tells you that your partner just got scared and is experiencing momentary deer-in-headlights panic…
If your partner’s animal insticts kicked in (it does happen!), and given fight or flight, she chose flight…
it’s okay to go to bat for the two of you and give it the old college try.
But if you do, and your partner still doesn’t want to stick it out and get back in the game—it’s time for the Golden Dealbreaker.
Don’t keep fighting for someone who isn’t willing to fight for you. If you’re the only one fighting, walk away.
Rechannel that energy and fight for yourself.
The Golden Dealbreaker can be applied to casual dating, too. I worked with a woman who often found herself “chasing” people who, though they seemed to like her when they were actually on dates, didn’t invest the time and energy to take initiative with her or keep the momentum going.
When she explored the concept of the Golden Dealbreaker, she decided that she was worthy of a partner who wanted to be with her enough to make the effort. She implemented the Golden Dealbreaker and soon noticed a massive transformation in her ability to let go of people who weren’t reciprocating. Her dating-disappointment recovery time diminished drastically.
Around the corner, there could be someone who will love you as you are, who will stick around without any convincing. So start walking.
Are you struggling to get over a breakup? Coaching can help.
Share this article with a friend in need, and share how YOU can use the Golden Dealbreaker in your life in the comments below.