Deal Breakers

As romance writers we are all aware of relationships and what makes and breaks them (at least in the fantasy world.) What about in real life? What would be a deal breaker for you when it came time to commit? We all know about being compatible and sharing similar backgrounds, having similar physical interests, value systems, ideas about finances, family, religions, and cultures. But what about the hidden things, like the little traits, or big traits, or annoying habits that might be cute or even overlooked early in a relationship or only come to light after a significant amount of time together?

I had dinner with a group of people recently. It was a mixed group of men and women, young, older, married, and single. One of the single ladies, in her late twenties, shared that she needs to get out of a relationship because she can’t sleep in the same room as her love interest. When we all asked why, she said, “He makes noises and I don’t like them. I like him, but after a few months together, I’ve started to resent him because I can’t get a full night of sleep.”

Well that of course made us older guys and gals laugh. Marriage and sharing a bed, with babies, children, cats or dogs, and sometimes all at the same time is just something you got used to. Maybe. Some of the noises we get used to are because we’ve shared many years together. And some noises only come about as we age. And then for some of us as we get older there’s hearing loss so we really don’t notice too much. We all suggested starting the night out together, and once ready for actual sleep, going to separate rooms. The young woman said that doesn’t help, and it has actually created a bigger rift in their relationship because he’s old fashioned and demands they share the same bed. Well, we older single ladies balked at the word “demands,” and some of us even said “to hell with old fashioned” but we let her continue with her story.

Pretty soon she was blushing and stuttering and her voice was drowned out by all of our questions as to what exactly were these offensive noises. Some of the guys came up with farting, tooth sucking, teeth grinding, talking in your sleep, nightmares, clicking of the jaw, and snorting. Not one guy mentioned snoring. : ) The women came up with snoring, restless legs, throat clearing, stealing the covers, and the famous farting. Everyone agreed that the latter could be forgiven… for the most part. Nobody thought any of these would be a deal breaker except maybe really, really loud snoring because where in the house can you go to get away from that? Besides that, there are treatments available today, and sometimes they even work.

So we waited as the young woman’s blush receded. She finally said, “It’s like all of the above. And he’s a mouth breather too, and he drools.”

We all looked at each other and said, “Run, honey. Run.” Then the nurse in me said, “Awww, what about his adenoids? Be honest. Tell him again about the problem, oh, and suggest an Ear Nose and Throat specialist before you give up.” So what about you? Are you picky about the sleeping habits of your loved one? Or, does he have a problem with YOUR night time noises? Would it ever be a deal breaker for either of you?

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23 Responses to Deal Breakers

  1. Dee J. says:

    I can’t help but feel a little sorry for that poor gal. But the drooling thing… yeah, that might clinch it for me. I think I’d be out the door. LOL. My husband tends to snore, but if I shove his arm and roll him over, it’s all good.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Yep. snoring, I think I could deal with that. But I once knew a jaw clicker… .

  3. Maria says:

    Not about sleeping habits and how old-fashioned could that guy be if they aren’t married? Huh?

    The drooling and mouth breathing could very well be allergies only you’d think she’d notice some of the signs during the day too. I would say that she’s looking for a reason out and that there is more underlying this than just the sleep issues, but the sleep stuff is easier to blame it all on. The “demand” thing might be a clue.

    I don’t have irritants as deal breakers exactly unless they come up early in the relationship and I don’t really like him anyway. Then the way he cracks his knuckles or plucks at his eyebrows will be used to end it all. Once I am in the relationship, it’s the big things – money, how he treats my cats, how he acts around my family – that might end it and will if nothing changes. I am okay with anyone being an arse. He just won’t be one in my life.

    Hmm, could this be why I am alone? Picky, picky, picky? Works for me!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Ha ha. Good one Maria. I didn’t even think about that, my guess is he had selective old-fashionedness.
      You made me laugh. My jaw clicker and I had three dates, and then he dozed off on the couch one night, and click, click, click, snore, snore, snore, and I just knew the dates ended right then and there. No way could I sleep with that, not after having been married to a doctor who was on call 24/7 and had just regained some healthy sleep habits. : )

  4. Diva says:

    Oh how I used to bitch about dh snoring! Now we have a baby and i could sleep beneath a thundering locomotive if i had the opportunity to drift off. I am sooo over any sleep complaints about him. I like having him there.

    Dealbreaker? Smoking (although I dated a smoker for months), substance abuse, lots of credit card debt i guess.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Hey, Diva. Yep, it’s amazing how much we learn to put up with once the kids arrive. Good thoughts on the other non-noisy details too.

  5. Yeah I don’t want a smoker, either, or an addict. As to your friend, the idea that he ‘demands’ they sleep in the same bed would be it for me. If you can’t compromise then, no thanks. Put your demands on someone else.
    Of course, I’ve been married and divorced 3x so no one should ask me for marital or even relationship advice, that’s for sure.

  6. Robena Grant says:

    Ha ha, Judy. Yeah, me neither. I haven’t dated in 20 years. But I was intrigued with the conversation. The young woman was the daughter of an acquaintance and I don’t know her well. But I think it was the “demand” that really got to me.

  7. Skye says:

    Let’s see, there have been so many ….

    Being too demanding; not liking it when I say no I don’t feel like doing something.

    Having too much of a crush on his best friend’s wife.

    Not showing signs of a mind of his own.

    Not wanting to get married and have kids (yet that’s what he did with his next girlfriend).

    Being really boring — nothing to talk about. Being boring in *every* way.

    There have been more. I never had a problem with sleep sounds, though. But then, it’s been a long time since I slept with someone, so maybe I just can’t remember!

  8. Robena Grant says:

    Hi Skye, so glad you dropped in. You’re funny. Lots of deal breakers. Yeah, it would be interesting after a long hiatus to see what would or would not affect us. : )

  9. oneoftheotherjennifers says:

    My husband of twenty years has always had odd sleep habits. He snores (terrible apnea), kicks and punches at the monsters in his dreams (but usually misses me), and most amusingly will sit straight up in bed or even leap out of bed and make sudden pronouncements. His eyes will be wide open but he is completely asleep. Sometimes he says simple things, like “Chair!” Other times he’ll turn to me confidingly and say something like, “It’s almost time for him to take off now.” He then lays back down and is deeply asleep.

    The only time this truly disturbed me was the very first time we slept together. He sat up in the moonlight and was staring down at a corner of the room. I woke up and asked him what was going on. In a voice filled with horror, he pointed at the corner and shouted, “They’re coming in!” Then he fell straight back and was out cold. When my shrieks of terror woke him moments later, he rolled over and held me, asking with complete confusion, “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

    It’s a good thing I was already desperately in love with him.

    • Diva says:

      oh that was hilarious!

      love it!
      Once when we were newly married dh sat up in bed and very clearly and calmly intoned “MOO.” When I said “what?” he repeated “Moo” then went back to sleep. It’s a running joke with us now.

  10. Robena Grant says:

    Jennifer, that is too funny. Yeah, good thing you were already smitten. I have a son who talks in his sleep. Doesn’t seem to stop him from having girlfriends. ; )
    BTW, my sister tells me that I snore, softly, but I still snore. : )

  11. Hi Robena! Great topic! I think my only deal breaker would be a guy who “demands” anything. Ego-tripy guys can take their sense of entitlement and shove it. In my opinion, your guaranteed nothing in life, including someone’s love and respect. So if your lucky enough to have, you should be counting your blessing and comprise on things. Demanding is not allowed. You want to make a demand, go talk to the wall. And on the business of snoring… My husband is 6’2″, over 300 lbs, sounds like a jackhammer and is fond of sleeping like a starfish. So from day one of our marriage, I slept in a different. Sure, he gave me the pouty face at first, but the first morning he saw me w/ no sleep, he saw my wisdom. We’re about to celebrate our 5th annivarsary and the thought of sleeping in the same bed isn’t appealing to either one of us. We enjoy our own space and contrary to popular belief, we come together for plenty of physical activity.

    • Robena Grant says:

      You know what, Christine, I’ll bet there are a lot of people out there who love there own sleeping space. Thanks for sharing. If I ever got involved again I think I would demand…no let us make that request…my own space. ; )

  12. Rachel says:

    Any time I would get that persistent little sense that something was off; not being somewhere he should be, not being able to say why he couldn’t do something, anything without a reasonable excuse. My intuition was indicating that he was probably seeing others, not fully interested in me, or just a shifty fellow and away I would go!

  13. Robena Grant says:

    Yes. It’s always important to follow our instincts when it comes to dating and not gloss over the little tiny things that crop up. Some guys are really shifty. Dishonesty is definitely a deal breaker.

  14. Janie Emaus says:

    Some of the noises that my husband makes shouldn’t come out of a human being. But I love him just the same. We actually met on the day you posted this blog…35 years ago.

  15. londonmabel says:

    [That list of nighttime noises… hilarious.]

    Fernando’s a snorer, so I have my own little bed. We cuddle first, then part ways. …I also move a lot in my sleep, as every cat has learned. (I don’t know exactly how they learn it, but every cat who’s tried sleeping in bed with me gives up after a couple nights.)

    The simplest way I can summarize Deal Breaker to myself, is someone who is harming my inner core. That could be all kinds of things–I know it when I see it. Otherwise I’m pretty easy going.

  16. Robena Grant says:

    Good for you on your hubbieless and catless bed. ; )

    I agree. If anyone tried to manipulate my value system that was the end of them. I think I’m open to compromise on most things except my own sense of self, which is my values.

  17. Julie says:

    Oooo, great topic! And interestingly enough, goes along with what I’ve just started reading as my new “homework” assignment. How much do we put up with? And why? Are some of us more sensitive to noises than others?

    I sleep like a dead person, so a few years ago when Dan started snoring, and it woke me up, we were BOTH startled. 😉

  18. Robena Grant says:

    Hey, Julie. Glad you are home from your wanderings and hope the trip was a good one. Yep, I remember when I first started snoring and woke myself up. Ha ha.