“Don’t settle for a relationship that prevents you from being yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey
If you are just joining this series, let me recap the previous 7 signs and share briefly about myself. Unfortunately, I have not had successful romantic relationships and that includes two broken engagements. I believe part of the reason for this is that I had low self-worth for a long time, and there were unresolved issues which affected me early in life such as: abandonment, father wounds and exposure to domestic abuse. However, I also believe part of my failure has been ignorance of the signs of a bad relationship and the signs of a healthy relationship. Therefore, I am using my experience to show you 12 signs that you may be headed for relational disaster with the hope that you can get out of a bad relationship or avoid one and future heartaches in this area.
This is a 5-part series. In the previous three blogs, we discussed the following seven signs:
- A Hidden or Label Less Relationship
- Friends with Benefits
- The Quick Rebound
- Personal Drama
- Prolonged Absence of Peace of Mind Along with Self-Doubt
- Hoping for Change
- Invalidation of Beliefs/Different Values/Belief System
Sign #8: Disregarding Boundaries
This, my friend, has become a defining value for me and my deal breaker. I will not stay in a relationship with anyone who through manipulation will break down my boundaries. I remember setting physical boundaries in relationships because as a Christian I cannot have sex before marriage and yet majority of the men I dated wanted to seduce to me. What happens is that when persons disregard your personal standards, it is an indication of disrespect no matter how much they say they love you. It may not even be physical boundaries but if you express certain wishes and yet they seem to always want to defy them, that is a warning sign in my view. When you allow them to trample your boundaries, they gain greater control over you and you end up losing respect for yourself.
Don’t rationalize the person’s disregard of your boundaries. What are your boundaries or deal breakers? Do you have personal standards which you have expressed and are they being honoured? From my experience, the relationship does not last long when the individual does not respect your personal boundaries.
Sign #9: Primarily Physical
In the context of dating or pre-marital relationships, several studies show if sexual activity is initiated early that many times the relationship does not last. Who wants to pay a price for what they can have for free? If you are the prize and they really want you and not just to get in bed with you, make them wait. Some say at least 90 days. As a Christian, our price is even higher, put a ring on it at the altar. What are your relational standards? If all you do when you meet is to get physical, where is the time to build other kinds of intimacy – intellectual, emotional etc.?
Early sexual activity clouds judgment. After playing the field, when a man is ready to settle down, he is not thinking of marrying the one he had sex with at the drop of a hat. The marrying kind has standards and the guy has to work for it. Make them wait if you want a long-term relationship especially when dating younger persons who are still trying to figure out what to do with their lives. If dating older persons also beware because of their experience and your inexperience. They can easily manipulate you to get what they want and then later leave you. Sometimes all they want is a side-chick or an affair.
Sign #10: Abuse -Emotional, Verbal, Physical and Sexual
Very often abusive relationships do not start off this way. It usually appears like a whirlwind romance, with everything happening real fast. It’s like you are getting everything you have ever wanted real early in the relationship. The abuser usually romances the partner and makes you center of attention. Nevertheless, while nothing is wrong with romance, heavy romancing at the start is often a trait of an abuser. This is in an effort to win your trust quickly. If too much is happening too fast and too quickly, these are warning signs. Do they want to propose quickly or want to commit quickly? Does the person want you all for himself? I’ve missed these signs in the past and once ended up dating a stalker and a manipulator. Are you being isolated from family and friends? Is your partner being possessive and controlling? Is s/he playing the victim? Is he overly concerned about you and get upset if you don’t call back right away or if you are not home on time? Are you being like this?
It may not be physical abuse but if you find yourself walking around on the proverbial eggshell that is a huge red flag! Is your partner using control tactics, name calling, threats, withdrawal etc to keep you in line? Are you using the word “love” to manipulate your partner? Is s/he doing that to you? “I love you now, but if you don’t stop this or that, my love will be taken away. Does your partner threaten suicide if you leave? Does your partner threaten your life if they suspect you want to leave? Are you simply doing things out of fear because you don’t want to lose their love? Does your partner use the guilt trip, withdrawal of emotions, making everything seem as if it is your fault? Is it possible that your partner is a narcissist? Do they ever take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the relationship or are they always blaming you or something or someone else for their problems? Do they express remorse for anything? Are they isolating you from friends and family or making you solely dependent on them?
Are you giving away your authority and always differing to their wishes because you think they know better and are smarter? Is the person in an authoritative or powerful position in society or community? Are you submitting to their wishes merely because of their standing and not because you really like what they are asking you to do? Are you violating your conscience?
If you see these signs, no matter how much your partner says “I love you,” it’s going to be disastrous. Get professional help and get out and get some counselling. It’s obvious your partner does not respect you and has serious issues which may ruin your life.
Share the Articles
Well friends, that’s all the sharing for today. Can you relate to these signposts or any of my experiences? If so share this with a friend or a young person to help them make better relational decisions. Feel free to also comment and stay tuned for Part 5/5 where I will share the final two signs to avoid a relational disaster and heartbreak.