After a new TV series, called The ancestorNPO commissioned an investigation into deal-breakers in a relationship.
What should you or shouldn’t you share with your partner? Relationship therapist Rianne Roes believes that you don’t always have to share everything with your partner. “It’s very important to protect your autonomy. Even if it’s rudely picking your nose or just sitting all alone on the sofa shameful pleasure watch series,” she says.
“It will be risky when you do something and you consciously choose to keep it quiet from your partner. For example, you want to trick your partner or send the sneaky message to your colleague. That’s really the limit,” she says, “So ask yourself: what’s keeping you from sharing this with your partner?”
“If you as a couple say: ‘we share everything with each other’, for example there may be a fear of abandonment, or that someone else may know or feel more than you”, explains Rianne, “You may not be able to put up with it and then you demand that everything must always be shared. With 100% transparency, you end up losing yourself, your identity and thus also your relationship.”
The desire to have children is also a common discussion that occurs in a relationship. Is it wise to stay together if someone in the relationship indicates in advance that they really do not want children? Rianne doesn’t think you make a stupid choice if you choose to stay together at the beginning of the relationship, despite the fact that you don’t have the same opinion when it comes to wanting children.
“It makes sense that you continue your relationship for a certain period of time, because ideas and feelings are changeable. But if it turns out after a few years that you’re still not on the same page, it can suddenly cause big problems”, she says, “I think it’s a shame if people give up on their relationship at a very early stage, because in in the future, your opinion about children may be different.” According to Rianne, it’s important to keep the conversation alive during the relationship. So start low-threshold about it once in a while, to gauge how you both feel about it.
The research shows that young people today look less critically at the potential partner’s common interests than people from the 1970s. “In the past, people lived much more in groups, today we are more focused on the individual,” says Rianne. “In the past, it was expected that you did everything together as a couple. Cycling together, going to the card club together and watching sports matches together e.g. You didn’t do much individually back then.”
For example, according to the relationship therapist, it is now much more normal for a couple to do activities separately from each other. “In those days, you did many things to be together and feel connected to your partner. It is still possible now, but if you do activities separately from each other, you will find that connection in other areas and depths.” This is probably also why people used to look more critically at the interests of their potential partner. So it’s nice if you have a lot of common ground.
The NPO research also shows that many couples find it a deal breaker if one of the two withholds information about his or her family history. According to Rianne, it is much more nuanced. For example, you may deliberately withhold information about your family history, or you will gradually find out in your life that some things in your family are not quite right. “When you deliberately withhold something about your family, it becomes a problem when it comes up,” says Rianne. “The fact that you withheld something is nine times out of ten worse than what you actually withheld.”
Rianne also sees the second situation more often with her own clients. “Often later in life you find out through outsiders that things in your family may not be quite as you’ve always been told.” According to Rianne, this situation can be overcome for many couples. It is then up to them to explore this further through e.g. therapy.
Should you be open to a new partner or would you like to get to know your current partner better? Then ask yourself or your partner these questions (prepared by relationship therapist Rianne Roes) to avoid potential deal breakers.
- What are elements of my life that I really want to keep/don’t want to give up? (A hobby, sport, etc.)
- What are three important values in your life? (e.g. freedom, trust, autonomy, connectedness)
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Things you absolutely want to do/achieve in your life? (Work abroad, for example)
- What is a deal breaker for you in a relationship? And is it realistic?
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