It seems like we spend the majority of our lives on one constant mission and journey, the quest to find (and keep) love. At least women do anyway. Friends come and go, so do jobs, money and seasons, but the one thing that remains stable through it all is the fact that we are on a constant search for “The One”.

So now you’ve found them or at least someone you feel has the potential to be “The One”. Months and maybe even years go by and things between you two are good. You’re both putting in the work necessary to keep the love you’ve found, and then the unthinkable happens. They cheat. They lie. They kill. They have another child. Develop a substance abuse problem. Whatever it is they do, it’s serious and it has sent waves of trouble through your otherwise happy home.

What do you do?

I’m sure you’re reading through the list I just gave above and your first reaction is “Well if s/he does xxx, then I’m out. It’s over”. But is it? Are you sure you would leave if it happened to you? How do you know? What if the situation isn’t so cut and dry and there’s more at stake than a bf/gf relationship? What if there are kids? Property? What if you’re married?

Is your answer the same? Could you still leave?

In this life we’ve been drilled with tips and tricks on how to seek, get and keep love, but not how to get rid of it. Now I know it sounds crazy, why would someone want to get rid of love…especially after going through all of that headache to find it? But what happens when the person you love does something to hurt you or something that threatens to hurt your relationship? What happens when that something goes against everything you believe or is so wrong that you don’t know if you can ever forgive or love them again?

When do you throw in the towel? When is enough, enough?

Many of us have been programmed to settle and “stick it out,” “stand by our man/woman” or to keep true to our word or vows. We’ve been bombarded with messages of slim pickings in the dating world and lines like “nobody’s perfect”. And while I agree no one is perfect, where is the line? I’m sure all of us know or are related to someone who has stayed in a clearly unhealthy situation. The father has cheated numerous times, the mother is 45 and still partying in the club, one is on drugs or verbally abuse…the list can go on….yet they stay. You can see that they are unhappy and desperately long for change, yet for whatever reason…they stay.

I personally watched my grandmother for many years deal with an alcoholic grandfather (he doesn’t drink anymore, but only because he’s over 80 and a few years back the doctor basically said drink today, die tomorrow). He used to be fall down, can’t put his key in the door drunk. Granny just dragged him inside, undressed him and put him to bed, all while cursing like a sailor in her thickest West Indian accent. But she stayed. There were even a few times where I and my younger sister mistook his High Wine for water as kids and grandma just told us “No”, cussed him out for not watching his glass….and stayed. She probably rationalized it as a thing that island men do, because I know she hated that he drank…we all knew she hated it, hell the neighbors knew. But she never left, she never drew the line that said that she deserved better and wouldn’t live like this. I’m sure she told herself at some point she would never deal with a drunk, but she did.

My grandmother is like many people we know….like us. How many times have you told yourself you would never do or accept xyz only to turn around and allow it? How many times after that did you say never again only for again to come over and over? We’ve all drawn lines in the sand and we’ve all stepped over it or allowed someone else to. But when do you stop drawing new lines and stand firm? When do you decide that no matter how painful the consequences of leaving, the consequences of staying could be much worse? When do you decide that you’ve tried everything, given it your all and now something has to give? Where is the final line….and how do you know that once faced with it, you won’t cross it?

What’s your deal breaker?

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  • CurlySue

    I think you know when you look at yourself in the mirror and decide that you no longer respect or admire the person you’ve become. When you’ve given so much of yourself that you’re nothing but a hollow shell of the woman you once were or once hoped to be, then you know. It’s time to go. Living for someone else your entire life will get you nowhere. Afterall, it’s your own self you have to hang out with the most. If you can’t even love yourself enough to create boundaries, some serious re-evaluation needs to occur.

  • shadow

    @CurySue, I definately agree with you!! You know you are done and ready to stop drawing lines when you get to the point where you have settled, forgiven, and compromised so much that you feel numb and you just about don’t care anymore what happens, at least that’s how I felt in my first marriage. I finally left after only two years ’cause I saw the cheating, a TRUE DEAL BREAKER FOR ME, just wasn’t gonna stop and bruh barely kept a job. I needed to be gone to survive for me, my son, & Shadow (the cat)….yes y’all the cat, lol. We all left, never looked back and trust life got better and stayed better!

  • Sarcasm101

    I couldn’t really get past the first paragraph. Are women REALLY spending the majority of their lives looking for/trying to keep love?! Wow. I am man, but I frequent this site because of it’s commentary and it’s general purpose to expand the notion of black womanhood. But, I seriously hope women aren’t spending that much time looking for love. I spend a majority of my time trying to better myself: traveling, reading, learning. If love happens to stop by, great. But if my foundation is shaky, how good a partner can I be? People should spend the majority of their lives loving/working on themselves, not trying be somebody’s boo.

    • Tami

      Sarcasm101 – I like your comment….Yes, lots of women do spend a lot of their time trying to find & keep love…I should know because I used to be one of them…Having a husband/boo was at the top of my list & if I didn’t have one, life just didn’t seem as meaningful. At the ripe age of 49 I have finally learned that a woman should have other interests besides having a man…I read, travel & love to learn. I don’t have a significant other right now, but it’s all good. I want love to find me & not go hunting for it….And to answer the question, what is my deal breaker? It’s when he keeps lying & I can’t take it anymore.

  • GorgeousProperousMe

    My deal breaker is insensitivity. Zero tolerance!!! I can’t.

  • grace

    Real deal breaker:
    Discovering your gay after 10+ years. No bueno, no bueno! Sort yourself out before you meet me.