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How to Handle a Surprise Dealbreaker

We’ve all had those moments when we realize we’re dating someone who just isn’t right for us. But what about a situation where everything seems perfect — great conversation, shared interests, amazing chemistry — and then you come up against an unexpected deal breaker? The one thing you just can’t accept in a partner.

How should you react? Is it fair? Is there a solution? This is Andreana’s situation:

April, I love love love your advice and columns! I am a horrible dater! I rush everything, don’t use my head and well, continue to date the same losers over and over. This time…’s different! I need your help…he is amazing, thinks I am amazing, he is so unbelievably good looking makes me weak in the knees! And he can’t keep his hands off me!! Love this feeling! So trying not to rush, be smart, talk and get to know him.

Well, then it happened. He has said some things over the course of the weeks that were odd, and I just shrugged it off. I came to find out he is a Jehovah’s Witness. He just told me yesterday, and I am crushed. I told him that should be something that is told upfront! He said he was shocked we were even talking about it so soon. He actually asked me…this isn’t a deal breaker is it?? Wow, yes actually it is!! But April, is it?? Does it have to be? I am very very sad. Our connection was amazing. Should I be so close minded?! Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Andreana, thank you for being such a wonderful and loyal fan!

You say in the beginning of your email that you’re a horrible dater. You mention that you don’t use your head and you rush too quickly. I know you see this situation as being different, but guess what? You’re doing the same thing with this new guy. You’re still rushing, and now, you’re rushing to judgment. Even your question to me seems rushed!

So take a deep breath, and let me explain.

Adopt a Broader Perspective

First of all, no one is a horrible dater. Dating is simply relating and getting to know new people, while being open, honest and communicative. If you can master that, you’re in good shape. What hurts one’s dating life is misinformation and over thinking. I know you mention that you never think things through, but the problem is that is all you’re doing. Thinking, not feeling.

Dating is a two way street. It’s a game of tennis, not solitaire. Your thoughts, judgments and feelings are only one side of the equation. The people who find wonderful relationships are usually the ones who are quick to see the other side, not just their own. Try to feel some compassion for him.

Remember, Your Deal Breakers Are Unique

You’re using the term deal breaker in the wrong context. Deal breakers are personal to you. In other words, they serve you for information purposes only. For example: he smokes, he’s a liar, a big drinker, he’s married, doesn’t want kids, practices a different faith, etc. Deal breakers don’t automatically give you the right to be quick to anger or judgment. They’re simply your own guidelines to ensure you’re on the right path with the right partner.

You seem to have certain assumptions of being a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t know a lot about the faith, but I do know that it’s nothing to be angry about. And you do seem angry. I’d like to ask you why…

Is it because he believes in matters of faith that don’t match your own? Therefore, you believe the option to create a future and family with him isn’t possible?

Or, is that you feel betrayed in some way. As if he lured you into a relationship without giving you all the facts and now you feel duped…?

Be Open and Non-Judgemental

My guess it’s more of the later. So here’s what I want you to think about:

This seems like a relatively new relationship. Yet, within a few weeks of knowing you, he’s told you about his faith. That indicates to me that he wasn’t trying to trick you or sneak something past you, he simply told you when he was ready to and when he thought it mattered. It’s possible that he has lost relationships in the past due to this, and maybe he just reserves this news for a time when he’s sure of the connection and there’s a feeling of trust.

This brings it all back to you being open minded and non-judgmental. You have a right to your own feelings about religion, but this does not make him a bad guy, wrong or devious in any way. You noticed certain things he would say earlier on, but you shrugged them off and ignored your own instincts, instead of asking the right questions. So, here you are feeling like you were misled, but you actually had a part in this.

You’re not a bad person and certainly not a “bad dater” as you say. You simply need to trust your instincts, be inquisitive and when you learn about people it’s simply just that. Learning.

An excellent dater (if there is such a thing) is someone who can get to know someone new without judgment, expectation or an attachment to a certain preconceived outcome.

Let Go (It’s Not All About You)

When you can get to the point of letting go and allowing people to unfold as they wish, when they are good and ready, you’ll be so much happier and peaceful with your love life.


Andreana, if you are still feeling conflicted about whether the difference in faith is really a deal breaker for you personally, take a look at my post about my friend’s Hinjew wedding. You might find some valuable inspiration there. Maybe this isn’t the deal breaker you think it is. Good luck!

Would love to get your comments on this everyone. Did you ever overlook the signs of one of your personal deal breakers until your heart was deeply involved? What’s the most unusual deal breaker you’ve ever encountered? Share your stories in the comments below!

Much love,

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