Deal Breakers

Ben, who is wise far beyond his years, has a great post up about "deal breakers." Those things that simply cannot be tolerated by you for people to be in your life.

Through the years, in my personal relationships I have had many "deal breakers" in the past. Most of these have fallen by the way-side over the years as I have become more tolerant of foibles in myself and others. However, I have one "deal breaker" that remains. I simply cannot compromise on this one. I require honesty from others in my life. If that one key cannot be provided, the value with which I hold the other person plummets. For me this is the distinguishing quality between those I trust and hold dear and those I do not. Certainly other qualities matter and attract me (kindness, compassion, humor) but none are as essential or as dear to me.

However, honesty is not always kind. I still remember vividly a moment of complete honesty from July 4, 1999, my personal independence day. My then husband had been unhappy. He came home on that day and said "I do not love you as a wife. I have never loved you as a wife. Why did we get married?" Honest things all, but painful. Obviously that marriage ended. Within 2 years we were both remarried to others that suited us better. He now has a beautiful wife and two young children. I know that I am happier and presume that he is also. So for me anyway, honesty is key. Everything else can be worked around.

6 comments on “Deal Breakers
  1. Kyra says:

    Honesty is my major sticking point too. Unfortunately, it’s amazing how FEW people actually follow that. I think because people misunderstand the difference between honesty and brutality. There are times when you withold an opinion because it will only devestate, and not cause any positive outcome in the long run. But lying isn’t part of that.
    Seems like a week/end of rather painful past experiences being remembered, doesn’t it?
    From what we know of each other, you really seem to be someone who is fairly straight forward in every aspect of your life. You like the facts, to know where you are going and are not afraid of hard work or picking yourself up if you hit a speedbump. Honestly, Cathy, I really admire you.

  2. Cathy says:

    Thanks Kyra. I tend to remember this time of year. The past shapes us and yet I much prefer to see where I am going than where I have been. While I did not appreciate it at the time, I am very grateful NOW to my ex for his awareness and honesty. I think we are both in much better places then we would have been had he lacked the courage to speak up. So he is still in my like, trust, & respect category in spite of us having a marriage that didn’t work out.
    I still struggle with tempering my need for honesty with compassion. Especially those loaded questions like “does this dress make me look fat?” Is there a correct answer to this type of question?

  3. Kyra says:

    Yep, it’s either a NO, or a “you know, the cut of that dress is just poorly done… maybe we can find a better one?”

  4. Irene says:

    I grew up with a mother who was brutally honest. At first, her oppinion seemed harsh, especially if it’s not what you wanted to hear, BUT it was honest. Her friends appreciated her candor and “ballsy-ness.” If someone wanted a very honest oppinion they would always “ask Gloria.” Don’t get me wrong, my mother wasn’t a harsh person, as she also had a fabulous sense of humor and would go out of her way for people. My mother never lost friends because of her honesty. People would be thrown at first but then they would take her oppinion into account. Her funeral service was crowded to standing room only with many, many of her friends, and who all said she was their best friend… And more than likely, at some point, she probably told them if that dress made them look fat. 🙂

  5. Cathy says:

    Irene, your mom sounds like she was a true gem. I’m sorry you lost her so prematurely. My favorite folks are those who will be completely candid with me and “hold up the mirror” for me when I need it.

  6. Ben Casnocha says:

    Honesty is a good one.