When your differences don't work

MEET YOUR MATCH: In some instances loving couples can agree not to have kids photo: thinkstock
MEET YOUR MATCH: In some instances loving couples can agree not to have kids photo: thinkstock

Self-help gurus and relationship experts encourage us to have certain standards when it comes to dating.

Standards are what prevent us from coming across as desperate or settling for anyone who comes our way.

Standards can too often not be met though if there are certain deal breakers that affect a relationship.

It is great to have a check list to determine if your partner is for keeps or if what they do or who they represent is enough to drive a wedge between you.

Relationship expert Elijah Padi says deal breakers are usually subjective.

"What one person has a problem with might not be a big deal for the next person. So we need to explore why certain [issues] might be deal breakers and, if not, how you can work around [them]," he says.

We delve into scenarios that might be potential deal breakers, with Padi teaching us how to manage them and, if we cannot, when to hit the road.

'I don't want to have kids'

There are some people who just do not want to have children, for different reasons. This can be a really big deal for some people who have the picket fence and three kids dream. Can the couple work it out?

Padi says some people have genuine reasons why they do not want to have children.

"Some of the reasons quoted by some people are: the fear of being a bad parent, not wanting to overpopulate the universe, financial constraints, no time for the kids, [fear of] losing their freedom, and lack of energy.

"The relationship will only work if you respect their wishes or if you subscribe to the same idea. But, if you aspire to be a parent or grandparent one day, a partner who doesn't want children is a definite deal breaker for you."

'I don't believe in marriage'

To many people, Oprah Winfrey comes to mind. She has been very vocal about not believing in marriage, and how she will never get married.

But could you be with a partner who will never walk down the aisle?

"The divorce rate gets higher every year. More and more people grow up in abusive and dysfunctional families. Some are afraid to make the same mistakes as their parents or those around them," says Padi.

"For some, staying unmarried is just a way to maintain their independence. In essence, some people have lost faith in marriage. If you are involved with a person who dreads marriage, convincing them will yield futile and painful results in the future.

"Don't waste your time, pack your bags and go."

'I can only have sex with you once we are married'

For most people it may seem honourable to want to preserve the act of sex until you are married. But for some people, the concept of a sexless relationship doesn't work.

Is there a middle ground?

"Some people respect and honour their purity. In sexual intercourse, you and the other person become one. It is such an intimate experience that a part of you remains forever with the other person.

"If you value your chastity more than anything else, then being involved with a person who wants sex before marriage will not do it for you.

"Offload them, and get someone who will respect your purity."

'I have three kids with different partners'

We all know someone who has kids with different partners. For most people, having one child can still be overlooked, while anything more than two can pose a problem for some people not willing to take on the baggage.

Is a partner who has kids with different partners a big deal?

Padi says it depends on why the person has so many children in the first place.

"Some people are just unfortunate with relationships, and others are irresponsible serial fornicators. A guy or lady with children from different partners should not be judged harshly. There may be a good explanation; you may find they are good people who want to have fulfilling relationships.

"If the person doesn't take care of his or her kids, and does not respect you, then let them pass. But if they have learnt from their mistakes, then give them a chance."

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