“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – — Epicurus
Having read the past four blogs and the 10 signs to avoid heartbreak, have you developed the courage to get out of a bad relationship? Or have I unwittingly caused you to develop a phobia for relationships? If it is the latter, that’s not my intention at all. The purpose of these blogs is not to deter you from relationships but to help you to make wiser decisions in relationships and prevent certain types of heartache.
In this regard, I must admit I am personally reticent about relationships at this juncture of my life and I am not planning to become a nun, although I’ve briefly entertained the thought. Nevertheless, I am content in being single in this season of my life. With that said, let’s recap the 10 signs shared in the previous four blogs. These signs are red flags that should cause you to stop and think if you want to pursue a new relationship or remain in an old one. They are as follows:
- 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
- Disregarding Boundaries
- Primarily Physical
- Emotional, Verbal or Sexual Abuse
There are several more signs that could be shared but I believe we can end with these two which I have found to be somewhat common: “Begging for/Buying Love” and Disapproval from Family and Friends. Yes, I know the former needs explanation and that explanation is coming up right now. Remember these signs are based on my personal experiences. They may not be true for you but are worth considering.
Sign #11: Begging for/Buying Love
This is the best term I could come up with at this time. This particular syndrome I find affects persons with low self-esteem who do not recognize their value and worth. The scenario plays out like this: one partner, in order to sustain the affection of the other, will ignore their personal needs, and go out of their way to make the other person feel special, while the recipient partner does hardly anything to show the value and worth of the other. It’s one partner making all the sacrifices and making excuse for the other partner’s inefficiencies. It’s a case where you are giving more than you are receiving just to stay in relationship with that person. You are sacrificing and the other person is not.
For example, you own a car but you take the bus and the other person drives your car all the time. You will purchase gifts and treat the other person but that person seldom does anything for you. If this is happening, heartbreak is just around the corner. It also means the person is taking advantage of you or manipulating you because of your fear of being alone or your fear of losing the relationship. It is also based on your natural desire to be loved and your fear of rejection. This is what I call begging for love, working to be loved or buying love. Personally I will no longer “force” anyone to love me or buy their love.
In my experiences, it does not work. Love calls for sacrifice on both parts and while love is other-centred, it should be reciprocated. Each party should be trying to please the other. I remember expressing my desire for something and basically one of my exes exclaimed, that he will only do special things for me when he is good and ready and on his own terms. To this day, I remember that and I was heartbroken because of all the sacrifices I was making for him and he refused to grant me a simple wish. This is just an example of the danger of low self-worth and fear of rejection.
Sign #12: Disapproval from Family and Friends
Many years ago, an older lady from another Caribbean island, advised me not to marry someone whose family disliked me. When family or friends disapprove of your partner, it is often a red flag. If you stay in the relationship, then there will be problems in the long run. If your family and friends usually look out for your best interest, it would be wise to pay attention to what they are saying and not be blinded by love. In many cases, those who pursue the relationship despite the warnings meet with heartache, and while there is no relationship where everything runs smoothly, ignoring this sign will definitely add to your stress. Therefore, once again, unless your friends and family have a history of sabotage, pay attention to their concerns. If you find yourself mentally wanting to hide your dating partner from your friends or family, then that’s a red flag. If they see character traits that they dislike, I urge you pay attention.
Additionally, if you are thinking of getting married, it would be wise to get an objective assessment through premarital counselling. I remember that it was in premarital counselling that I discovered some things about one of my fiances that really broke my heart. Suffice to say, our relationship ended soon after.
Time to Say Goodbye and Resources
Well friends, that’s all the sharing for now. 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. If you are having relational challenges or would like to learn more about healthy relationships, I would encourage you to check out Karla Downing’s website and YouTube Channel: Change My Relationship. She is a marriage and family therapist whose resources are life-transforming. I discovered her several months ago, and her teachings have really helped me to see clearer and continue the healing process.
Taa for now until next time, stay tuned for my next series to help you become a life-hurdling champion.