“You don’t want this, I promise!” (May 18, 2022)

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What is something you know deep down inside would break any trust or connection you had with a person? Is this something physical or psychological? Is it something that a person could recover from and change? Chapter 9 of Love Unf*cked by Gary John Bishop discusses the “deal breakers” process we all or should at least be attempting to keep as boundaries with a result of these ‘deal breakers’ that can, and will, bend throughout time. As we are programmed with the values our parent’s response to situations that are modeled for us as a child, what we pick up within interpersonal relationships along the way to marriage and what we take with us into other types of relationships is what ultimately morph how we treat ourselves when we are alone.

“What do I mean by your ‘deal breakers’? Simply put, these are the things that might happen in the course of a relationship that could have you considering if it can continue.

As we’re creating the values that guide how we want our relationships to go, part of those values include how we want to be treated. Becoming a more loving partner doesn’t mean becoming a doormat. It means taking agency for your actions and reassessing if things change.

The problem with the idea of deal breaking is that many people feel as if they already know what theirs are. Stuff such as infidelity or stealing or violence or abuse or whatever springs to mind for you when you think of this subject. The problem is, when you’re two, three, or twenty years into a marriage and one of these comes up, it may well NO LONGER be a deal breaker for you.”

Bishop, Gary John. “The Deal Breakers.” Love Unfu*Ked: Getting Your Relationship Sh!t Together, HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, NY, 2022.

Friendship Goals

Do not lie, steal, cheat or tell me what to do. Don’t lie to me to save yourself. Don’t steal the energy I have so little of to do something you won’t do for me. Don’t cheat me out of walking away. I don’t care if you are the Pope, don’t tell me what to do if you aren’t willing to accept the same criticism. “

“Friendship Goals 101” — Austin Smith

If at one point in time, you hated my guts, get in line. I don’t like half of what my body does before my brain realizes I am being judged for it, not just my mouth. Like what the fuck is a rhetorical question for outside of a classroom, seminar or training? The fuck do I need to think about ED when I am trying to eat dinner? Don’t get me started on subliminal messaging. Does this mean I will never watch TV again, hell no.

Based on the fact that someone, somewhere, wrote something you watched on an afterschool TV program might dictate the kind of relationship we grow up to have, might as well be just as much to blame as our parents’ marriage goals from outside. These “real life” situations cause us to look inward and make a stand on a boundary we know very little about. I am that asshole pointing out the discrepancies in these scenarios in my teen years. There is no way I would choose to response that way, or had a scenario play out in 30 mins or less from beginning to end, to a friend making self-destructive behavior and lying to me about the why. This is why friendships don’t work with me; you can’t be the ‘nice’ one and get me to shut up at the same time, lol.

THIS HAS BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE Y’ALL. Trying to figure out what the hell so-in-so was just hinting to. Don’t HINT at it, motherfucker; just say it. But I am rude that way, I guess. I just see it as giving back all this time y’all complain about me wasting. Why must we spend hours on end trying to communicate what we need or want from another human being by using innuendos or subtle hints?

“What the fuck is flirting, anyways?” — Austin Smith

Acquaintance’s gets the same loyalty as a co-worker, context = payment. Some sort of services and payment must exchange hands: We coffee buddies, I got you. You pay this time, and I will grab yours next time, I already got down your fav order the second time around because it’s what I do. Then I would surprise you just as a 2:30 pick me up at the end of a shitty workday. These relationships bring me peace of mind surrounded by the same people, daily, usually based on politics and I hate it. These relationships tend to fizzle based on the lack of consistency or develop into another form below and it never seems to be based on a timeline.

If you my ‘best friend,’ we struggle together. That means I share what I have to give and nothing more, energy output is important. ‘Best friend’ to me is such a definite label in our society, meaning you have a level of expectation that is not always reciprocated and those expectations in any relationship can cause hostility and resentment. These relationships also seem to shift power back and forth without my knowledge.

If you my “sister / brother,” Yes I will help hide the body. Family to me is something more than webster or the urban dictionary might define it. I’d give my life to save my children and my last dollar to help a homeless person. When it comes to my family members, I am willing to endure pain — mentally, financially, physically, psychologically — to save them an ounce of the same pain. The ‘why?’ to that has been mislabeled so many times. Never would I imagine that it was my love language.

“I am that bitch! I will be the first one to admit I am wrong in any relationship because I misspoke. Yeah, I am full of inference, regardless of the relationship. I watch your patterns, reactions and responses to fight, flight or freeze. This has been the downfall of many of my relationships. No one wants to be reminded that we don’t know ourselves better than someone else.”

Rules to go by If you want to be my friend.” Austin Smith

The need to be accepted and held accountable for my actions has always been rule #1 when it comes to my interpersonal relationships. Having someone tell me when I was doing something ‘wrong’ so I could evaluate it and change it if I needed to. This was based on survival as a child and acceptance within in my teenage years until my mid-20’s. Bishop goes on and I quote, “…’What if they don’t accept my deal breaker?’ Well then, you saved yourself a lot of time and unnecessary heartache, yeah?” and I had to giggle.

The difference between me and you are that if you go against your own principles too many damn times IN FRONT OF ME — I will take that loyalty and give it to someone else; that is my right. See, I am that bitch because I can only repeat myself so many times before I get tired of it too. I can’t sit and watch others suffer. I am willfully ignorant to the reasons we as human beings want to hurt ourselves or each other because the knowing why makes me hate the system of things even more. Why would someone want to keep up another ‘side’ of how they see themselves to someone who doesn’t know them as a whole?

Ball & Chain

“So, you want to take me on the town. You sure about that? What part of town? When should I expect to be back where you picked me up? Should I tell someone I am breaking from my routine? They get nervous when I do. lol” an actual text response to a formal request back in my early 20’s. Why? because I knew him. His usual ‘type’ was not me, not even a shimmer of close to me. I should have asked him more open-ended questions to be honest. I should have seen the red flags when he responded with, ‘I don’t know” and still wanted to keep the date.

Consistency and growth go hand-in-hand when I commit to someone. Meaning the compromise game is strong; you must be willing to be as raw and emotional as I am if you want the real me. I am the sum of all my parts and nothing in life comes for free. The hard work needed to maintain a relationship to me seemed daunting so I can honestly say I expected a drunken Vegas drive thru wedding as a kid, if any. Not only because I saw no need in spending my life savings to show the world how much love I had for one person dictated how long I had to commit to that one person no matter what.

Reframe Your Deal Breakers

The point is not to get rid of deal breakers. We just frame them a little differently and, in doing so, make them a little more real.

Instead of a binary yes or no, together or not together system, it’s more of a spectrum, one that’s activated once that button is pushed or the seal of trust is broken.

Once that situation kicks in, you’re reserving the right to question your commitment to the relationship. And you’re not making any guarantees about how it’s going to turn out either.”

Bishop, Gary John. “The Deal Breakers.” Love Unfu*Ked: Getting Your Relationship Sh!t Together, HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, NY, 2022.

You see, Bishop talks about integrity at the end of this chapter, and I relate. He goes on to explain how our ‘deal breakers’ should make a clear stance on what it is we are willing to forgive and try our hardest to forget. No one, except me I think, comes prepared with a ‘to do’ list of scenarios pre-planned to do if someone breaks these ‘deals’ we’ve made because it isn’t something atypical. I am probably the only friend you will have that comes with a list of “Do this if you want that” based on past relationships I have taken personal accountability for; things I know I can’t bend or break on. Believe me, I have tried to ignore them and forgave so many people I should never have because of this list.

The many relationships I avoid now trigger the pain I felt watching my parents argue but gives a template of what your responses may be in the moment. This is where I have to mention that our childhood traumas will not coincide with anyone else in your family based purely on internal and external ways in which we recall it. These relationships ended based mostly on communication issues. Expectations I couldn’t possible have forget but never lived up to. Deals I never knew I made with the boiled down excuse of, “everyone knows this about me.”

Bishop finishes this book on a high note. Bringing us back to what it is that is important about us and why we want to be better for the relationships we care for. I hope that if you choose to read the book in its entirety, that you take the time to ponder the ‘deal breakers’ you started your present relationship. Which one’s made you laugh?

On to the next one …

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