What are the non-negotiables in your next relationship?

I recently had a conversation with a friend that I haven't chatted with since March. We made some time to catch up during a virtual Happy Hour, where he proceeded to tell me he broke up with his boyfriend.

After he filled me in and explained what caused their break up, was that his partner violated his trust, and it wasn't something my friend could move past even after trying. Seeing that I've been there before, I get it. Once trust is broken it's hard to regain. It certainly doesn't happen overnight, or maybe never.

Then it was my turn. If you want to know what happened to that relationship check out my ghosting conversation and you'll see. Either way, I got him up to speed on my relationship that very few people knew about, he included. Not that it was a big secret, but I just wanted to be sure that it had potential and could go somewhere before I started talking about it. The funny thing is after that relationship ended, I'm pretty sure I saw a meme that said; "The next time someone meets the guy I'm seeing, will be at the wedding"...I can relate to that.

At the end of the conversation with my friend, I told him that even though my relationship didn't work out, I feel like I'm having better relationships and closer to finding that special someone. I started to explain that the reason I feel that way is because, with every relationship, I have learned so much, whether it's about myself, things I want more of, don't want more of, or even conflict resolution. I'm able to take all that and apply it to the next relationship. We were both on the same page in terms of that and in terms of being proud that we gave it shot. For both of us, we expanded our horizons or let go of some of our criteria, I guess it depends on how you look at it.

In this past relationship, I was more open, to a lot. For starters, I got involved in a long-distance relationship, knowing it wouldn't be easy at all. So, trying to work things out in New Jersey while he is in Florida and a few other things that were either there from the beginning or came up during the relationship made it challenging.

As my friend and I started to think about the future and hopefully finding our right matches, my friend, then asked me, what are some of the things you are not going to negotiate on next time. The first thing that came out of my mouth was "lying", that is something I can not tolerate. Then he said, he agrees, but we may not know someone is a liar right away, so what are some of those things you would presumably know, that isn't up for debate..and I said "hmm".

Now, I'm never really one who is at a loss for words or thoughts, but this time I kind of was. I used to have a mental list of qualities or criteria of things I would want this special someone to have. To be honest, I absolutely still do...but, I think for me it's about finding a balance of what I'm willing to live with and without. So basically, while I have this list, it's more about what is my nice to have and a must.

For me, it's also about realizing that no two people or relationships will be the same just based on the next person sharing similar experiences or circumstances as someone in one of my previous failed relationships. An example based on my experiences could be, just because someone has a child or an ex-wife now, doesn't mean that will be the same experience as a previous relationship. That's just one example of something that came to mind.

While some of criteria in my list, I may be able to negotiate on, I do know that someone's core and who they are deep down, I can not. Am I comfortable talking to this person, just like a friend? Are they respectful to other people and their backgrounds and stories? Do we share the same morals and values? Are they humble? All of those things are not up for debate for me. I mean, my neighbor actually said to me "I can see you with someone like Barack" ...compliment taken!

Well, while I continue to flush out my list, I thought we could start a conversation about this.