When you first begin to date someone and you’re in the first stages of getting to know them, of course it’s exciting and intoxicating. When you like someone you want them to like you too and that anticipation is its own thrill. Right around the time you start to like someone is the time that a lot of us begin to ignore the red flags. It’s when we want something to be true so badly that we choose to explain away the signals that are not right. Stop right there.
Nothing good can come from deciding you want someone despite the fact that there are signs of big problems. All you are doing by ignoring them is deciding to invest a lot of time and a lot more of your heart, in a relationship that is going to eventually be harmed by these bad facts. The red flags. And the harm is inevitable.
What’s a red flag?
• A behavior that is not in line with your boundaries and not in line with what you want for yourself in a relationship. For example monogamy, honesty, respect.
• Something that is disrespectful to you and/or disregards your happiness and self-worth. For example a person that keeps you insecure for the sake of keeping you attached, or a person that treats you as a low-priority.
• Something that is not in line with health. For example a person who could potentially hurt your physical health with any number of things.
• Not trusting someone.
Decide early on not to walk down the road with the red flags waving. All it takes is realizing that you really DON’T want this person. Literally. If you were to write down a list of the things you’re looking for in another, the person with the red flags does not align. That’s not a road you want to take because it will simply waste a lot of your time and take you down much harder in the end.
I am not suggesting that you should stop seeing someone that you like because they have a bad temper or they have some issues that aren’t worked out. We all do and we will, in a good relationship, help each other to grow through them. Also you can only act on something when you’re ready, and that can take a long time. Don’t force yourself to do anything prematurely because you will regret it.
I am suggesting that you stay honest with yourself. As you get to know a new person, take mental notes and keep a very open eye to seeing and acknowledging anything that is a major sign of problems. When something feels wrong, write it down. If there’s a boundary they have that doesn’t match yours, write it down. But also write down the things you do want, and the boundaries that you share.
There are certain traits that are simply deal-breakers: the ones that betray your foundational principles. Those will hurt you in the end and your beliefs cannot be compromised. No matter how cute or special this person is, there’s another one just as great that won’t cause you harm. It’s sad and difficult because you have to accept a truth that you wish weren’t so, and let them go. It’s a crazy idea but it’s not enough that someone loves you. The relationship must be loving to you, too.
Happy Sunday lovelies. xox Sarah
Featured image License All rights reserved by Ana Muntean on Flickr