Sometimes, it seems a non-negotiable issue exists in even the best relationship — something so sour it can't be fixed. (And when it comes to wanting children or believing in different religions, there may be no middle ground for your relationship to live.) But some issues are only disguised as deal breakers, our experts say. Here are seven issues that you shouldn't let wreck your relationship without trying to overcome them.
1. Your partner wants to maintain his opposite-sex friendship.
We get it: it's easy to see your partner's opposite-sex friend as a foe. But, their relationship doesn't have to get in the way of yours, says Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach. Rather than calling it quits, have an honest talk about how you feel and how his friend can fit into your shared lives. "For example, he can limit his virtual and in-person contact, or agree that lunch might be OK but dinner would be a no-go," suggests Coleman, "The key here is to address your partner's feelings and concerns and make them a priority."
You'd get it on every night if you could, but your partner is satisfied with a three-times-a-week kind of schedule. But, says Rachel Needle, Psy.D, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist based in West Palm Beach, Florida, "just because your partner has lower sexual desire than you doesn't mean that they have low desire all the time or that they won't be receptive to your sexual advances," — i.e., this isn't a deal breaker. "Desire discrepancies are extremely common in relationships," she says. "You can work on finding a middle ground that you are both comfortable with. If that doesn't work, seek professional help from someone who specializes in sex and relationships so you can understand more about your sexuality and functioning and increase communication around this issue."
3. You've got different ideas on how to spend your money.
You want to sock your extra savings away for a rainy day while he's itching to buy a new car. That difference in opinion may seem painful, but it doesn't have to be a deal breaker, says Coleman. "In this scenario they could establish an upper limit on what would be spent on the car," she suggests. "Perhaps a used car could be found that would be satisfactory. He could agree to cut back on other spending in order to put some money towards their future purchase, and she could agree to this and then ask for a certain level of saving going forward from there."
4. This long-distance thing is tough.
Says Needle, "Living in close proximity can be helpful in forming and maintaining a relationship." And so, it follows that living far apart can make building a bond seem all-but-impossible. But it's not, says Needle. "Instead of nixing a relationship that could otherwise have great long term potential, with a partner who has so many other deal making qualities, try prioritizing the relationship so that you can spend more time together," she suggests. "Create a schedule that works for both of you. Keep in good contact otherwise by text, call, and video call to remain connected."
__5. Choreplay? What choreplay? __
Despite many an article showing that sharing household chores leads to a happier marriage, your partner may not want to pick up a broom. But rather than give him a relationship-ending ultimatum, Coleman suggests, it's best take a serious look at all your household chores — including the ones that extend far beyond cleaning, like running errands, getting the cars washed, and paying the bills. "Then, you could each pick the ones each of you are most comfortable taking on upfront, then divide the few that neither particularly likes doing," she says.
6. Your sex life lacks sparks.
We all want a sex life that's, well, sexy. So one that lacks a certain passion certainly isn't ideal. But it's also not a deal breaker, Needle cautions. "Perhaps one or both of you could use some psycho-education and clear communicating about what you like or dislike, want or don't want in your sexual relationship," she says. "You can even make it fun to experiment together. And if these things don't work, then professional help can make bad sex into better sex, and then great sex. It might turn out that you are not sexually compatible, but you can't know that from the beginning if you do not try to make it better."
7. Your social inclinations are as different as extroverts and introverts.
If he's party-hardy but you're a wallflower whose idea of a wild night is a Netflix marathon, your social schedules could seem like a deal breaker. But with a little compromise, Coleman says, you can find harmony. "You need to get out and mingle sometimes and he needs quiet time at home, with you," Coleman says. Choose nights for low-key activities and to be out on the town. "This only needs to be a deal breaker if neither is willing to seek a middle ground," she says.