Identifying irreconcilable differences

Identify incompatibility issues early on in a relationship:

1. What is a Minimum Standard of Care:
Derived from a legal term used in Tort law which is used to define negligence liability, and whether a person was negligent by not utilizing an expected minimum standard of care (doctor, plumber, etc). In relationships, a minimum standard of care is basically a list of things composed prior to getting into a relationship, which states ones expectations for their potential partner, and guidelines for how they expect to be treated in a relationship. For example: A potential partner...Must be a non smoker, must believe in God, must not curse at me or call me names, must take responsibility for his children from a previous marriage/relationship, must be a hard worker and have a steady income, must understand the role of a man in a relationship, etc.

The things on the list are often deal breakers to the list maker, and will cause problems down the road if they are overlooked when selecting a potential mate. Now, true enough, ones potential mate may quit smoking, have never been introduced to religion, or be in between jobs, but issues such as cursing women and not taking care of his children are character flaws that simply cannot be overlooked or "loved away".

2. Define incompatibility issues:
If you want children, don't waste time with someone who states that they don't. If religion is very important to you, don't choose a partner who does not share this core value, which becomes even more complicated once children arrive. If you are an extremely jealous person, or your potential partner has a history of cheating, don't choose to be with someone who is very flirtatious with other women or who has relationships with women which make you uncomfortable? Even if it is your issue to deal with, it is never a good or healthy idea to be in a relationship with someone who will increase your insecurities or drive you crazy. Hoping you can change an adult who has shown you their true self is a useless waste of time and energy. Therefore, find someone who shares your views on the things that are important to you such as children, religion and acceptable behaviors with the opposite sex when the two of you are in a committed relationship.

3. Recognizing untrustworthy behavior in your potential partner before it is too late:
Although cheating on taxes is not so outrageous, not returning a dollar dropped by the old woman walking in front of you, is. Or perhaps, you've seen your potential mate lie about little things such as returning phone calls, mailing letters, or his whereabouts. These things speak to character and an inability for someone to own up to being human and forgetting to do something, or not being adult enough to make decisions and stand by them. People who lie to get out of small things are often cowards, and people who refuse to return an old ladies dollar have a in-balance in their moral compass. Also, assess whether your potential partner is flaky or does he keep his word to you or others. The bottom line is if he looks like a bum, talks like a bum, or behaves like a bum, chances are... he's a bum!

4. Understanding when you are projecting onto your partner something that is actually your OWN issue:
Recognize when you are the one bringing ghosts from a past relationship or from childhood into a new relationship. Are you overly suspicious, insecure or needy? Do you have the need to fix a broken man or rescue a loser? Are you drawn to unhealthy relationships because you are trying to find the father that abandoned you? Or do you constantly do for a man who does not really want you just so that you can throw it back into his face? These are all signs of someone who is not ready for a relationship and needs to be alone to deal with their own psyche prior to dumping their load onto someone else. If you see yourself falling into a pattern of bad, abusive, or unbalanced relationships with needy, broken or controlling men, then this is a good indication that YOU have unfinished business and YOU need to assess what is necessary to make you a healthy partner.

5. Is it ever okay to be alone?
You are responsible for bringing your healthiest self into any relationship. If you find that you are falling into any of the aforementioned patterns, than you most definitely need to be alone, re-group, and figure out what you need to address within yourself in order to ensure you are the healthiest partner you can be. It is also good to give yourself an ample amount of time between relationships to heal, become introspective, formulate your minimum standard of care list, get in shape, and become emotionally divorced from your previous partner. Rushing to get into a new relationship is often not healthy. Many poor decisions are made during times of loneliness and fear of being alone. Learn to become comfortable with yourself. It's always important to have your own interests and identity so that you can sustain yourself during the alone time, and so that you will not become too needy and thus overwhelm your new partner by becoming his or her shadow.

About Danine Manette
Danine Manette is the author of the popular book Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering and Dealing with Infidelity."

Danine Manette received a Bachelor's Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to earn her Doctorate from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California. She has worked as a Milieu Therapist, a Juvenile Probation Officer, and currently works in the field of Criminal Investigations.

Her ability to confront the topic of deception and betrayal is rooted not only in her educational and professional experience, but most notably she is a living testament to the effectiveness of the tactics and information presented to the reader.

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