What is the one thing that would be a relationship breaker for you?
If you asked me this question a few years ago, I likely would have said infidelity. Though that is still something I hope to never have to deal with, after almost 13 years of marriage and 17 years together, I have realized through life experience that it might not be the deal breaker I once assumed it would be.
It is still difficult for me to imagine and I am sure it would be devastating if it were to happen and I found out. However, one thing I have learned through my life experience is that we truly don’t know how we will react to something until we are in a specific situation. We may think we know what we would do or what we believe others should. But the reality is unless we are faced with the actual circumstances, we can’t say how we would handle being in those shoes.
I do not see life as black and white. I recognize there are so many grey areas and factors that contribute to why people do and say the things they do, infidelity included. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be hurt or upset if I found out that Bob was cheating on me, but I like to think if he was sorry and it was over, I might be open to trying to forgive him and make our marriage work.
Of course this is not a free pass for my husband to sleep with another woman. My gut feeling is still that if he betrayed my trust and our fidelity that our marriage/relationship might not last.
I just don’t know.
There are so many things I have done in life, for good reasons, that if you asked me years ago I probably would say I would never do. So I have come to believe that though I have a sense of how I might react or behave in certain situations. I can’t know unless or until I am there.
Likewise, I have learned to try not to judge the choices and actions of others for the same reasons. I don’t know how it feels to walk in their shoes and thus who am I to think I understand their circumstances.
We all try to make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. That is how I make peace with choices I have made in the past, which in some cases I later have regrets about. It is also how I do my best to appreciate why others in my life choose to do and say the things they do.
I believe most people have good intentions and thus hope that, within reason, nothing would be a deal breaker in my marriage and other close relationships I have with friends and family members. But I really can’t know if that is true until something happens to test that theory. In which case, I will try to give whomever is involved the benefit of the doubt, if they have earned my trust and respect in the past, and handle whatever the situation is the best I can with the information and feelings I have at that time.
What is the one thing that would be a relationship breaker?
Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.