You’re spending a lot of time together, texting and chatting constantly, enjoying each other’s presence, and things seem to be moving forward more quickly than you’d expect.
That’s okay though because they’re unlike anyone else you’ve ever met, and they are amazing.
Except for that thing they did a few weeks ago, but you let that go….CONTINUE READING HERE
And that other thing they said about your friend…but it wasn’t really a big deal.
And the way they ditched you the other night without any explanation, but you’re sure there was a good reason you’ll find out eventually.
A flurry of small things arise over time that you choose to overlook (or simply…miss), because of the overwhelming excitement that you’re still feeling.
The problem with this, as you’ve likely experienced, is that you could miss some very real dealbreakers that, if you were thinking clearly, you’d never accept in your life.
But, as I’ve said to
before: It’s notactuallya dealbreaker if it doesn’t break the deal. Perhaps, though, it should’ve.
There are some things that you simply should not overlook nor accept in your relationships. Behaviors you shouldn’t tolerate. Red flags you shouldn’t ignore. Sacrifices you just should not make.
Let’s talk about a few of them below:
Admit it, you’ve done it before.
You start spendingso much timewith your new love interest that you have less and less time for the people that you were so close with before. Maybe some whom you’ve known for years. Maybe some are even related to you.
It’s cool though, they understand. They’ve done it, too. We all have.
The challenges arise when you stop having time for anyone else completely.All of your timeis spent with your new partner and you’re growing further away from your friends. In some ways, you’ve began walking a different path from them altogether.
Let me be clear about something — sometimes, growth in one’s life meansoutgrowingother people who are staying stagnant. It’s natural to move on from people at times, though it may be painful.
The point I’m making here is not about growth, though, it’s about sacrificing the people who have always been there for you, who’ve stood by you for years, who were present during all of the hard times…
Drifting away from those who were once so important can make you (and them) feel isolated and alone. It’s confusing, hurtful, and can do irreparable damage.
The truth about your relationship is that one of two things are going to happen in the future:
No matter which of these things happens,
you’ll be reaching out tothose same friendswhen the time comes. You’ll either be inviting them to your wedding, or calling them for a supportive ear as you recover from the breakup.
That is…if they’re still willing to answer your call.
This one is extra challenging, because some people never set boundaries for themselves in the first place, so they’re not even present to enforce.
Your emotional boundaries are the parameters you set for the treatment you accept (and don’t) from other people (and from yourself).
Emotional boundaries are a sign of self-love, because they send the message that your mental health comes before other peoples’ bullshit.
But, if you don’t know where your boundaries stand, people can trample right over them without even knowing it.
What’s even worse, is thatyoumight not know it, either.
You simply accept sub-par treatment because you’ve never defined what that even means to you. You’ve never taken the time to figure out what it is that you deserve, and thereforedon’t know when you’re settling for less.
The first step is to get clear on your self-worth and self-love. Determine what treatment(s) that you never want to accept again. Determine how you areletting yourself downon a regular basis, too (that’s the painful part). And then…set those boundaries in stone and stop letting other people disrespect them.
I once had a
tell me that he’d experienced a pattern of women who seemed to lose interest in him after dating him for a few months.
(Happy to share that these patterns have been broken and he’s now engaged to be married!)
For many years, though, he did what many of us tend to do in our relationships —immerse ourselves in the life of our new partner.
Just as some people sacrifice their friends (point #1), some also will sacrifice their passions and hobbies. They’ll think that they’regivingto their partner by “choosing them” over other things, but here’s the problem:
Those passions arepart of what made this person fall for you in the first place.They wereattracted to youwhen your soul was lit on fire doing the things you love.
They pictured how your lives could intertwine while you both pursued the things that make you happy — as a couple, but also as individuals.
Then, one day, you just…stopped doing those things. You might’vethoughtit was taking time away from your relationship, or felt guilty doing something without him or her, but in reality, by stopping, you removed a piece of yourself that drew them to you in the first place and effectively did more harm than good in doing so.
That’s right, casually slipped in right here at the subtle #4 is
a seriously major point to be made.
(In case you’re wondering, mental health is next).
When you were single, you had killer fitness routine going. You were meal prepping, exercising 5 days a week, getting plenty of sleep, only having a drink or two on the weekends…
But then, good lawd, dating someone new threw your whole routine off-kilter!
Now you’re constantly getting takeout, skipping the gym to spend more time with each other, pouring drinks more often just because, and staying up late doing…ahem, well, we all know what you’re doing.
Before you know it, you’re feeling tired and sluggish, and you can’t button your jeans anymore.
The good news is, you had the routine before, and you can get it back.
It happens all the time, something in your life changes and your daily habits and routines change along with it.
The key, though, is to stay focused and disciplined about the things that really matter to you. If you aresomeone who goes to the gym 5 days a week, then you mustremainas such. Veering away from that will cause internal conflict (because you’re acting out of alignment with part of your identity), and make you feel even worse.
Not to mention that staying focused on your physical health will help you continue to feel good, look good, and perform at your best (ahem, wink wink).
If you’re used to having a healthy lifestyle and the person you’re beginning to date…does not…it’sessentialthat you maintain your own routines and do not let yourself adopt theirs. In fact, if you aretoo far aparton valuing your own physical health, it may signal further incompatibilities down the road.
(Told you it was coming).
Let’s be honest about this: Some people just drive you nucking futs.
They might not even be doing it on purpose, but there’s just something that irks you about their habits, or the way they communicate (or don’t), or one of a million other little possibilities.
Sometimes, though, itreally issomething more nefarious and you’re being gaslit, or manipulated, or strung along, or judged.
Regardless of the reason, regardless of whether or not it’s intentional, regardless of if it’s big or small, the focus should be on the impact it’s having onyourmental health.
If you find yourself stressed, or short-tempered, or frustrated, or sad
more often than not,
and you can tie these feelings
your partner or your relationship, then it’s obvious they’re taking away more joy than they’re bringing.
The right person is supposed to enhance your life, not complicate it.
Boyyyyyyyyyy have I heard stories about this one.
People who’ve givenenormous amounts of moneyto a partnerearly on into a relationship.
Now, listen — anyone who’s read my writing before knows I fully believe relationships should be a team. Within this team, the two people must determine what is the best arrangement for their specific situation, particularly if marriage is being discussed or has already occurred.
How are the expenses being split? Is one person going to stay home with the kids? How are big purchases going to be discussed?
This is when
your finances become combined and your responsibilities are defined.
That, though, is a different topic for a different article.
What I’m talking about here isputting yourself in a financial bindfor some unforeseen reason within your relationship.
If you’ve been dating for a few weeks and they need a giant amount of money to cancel a debt —sorry, that is just not your problem.
If their business is failing and they ask you to help bail them out —sorry, there’s government assistance for that.
all for working together
and stepping up to help your partner in all ways, even financially.
But, if you aren’t married or engaged, or even know if you want to spend the next few weeks with this person, there is absolutely no reason to jeopardize your own financial security for something that is not your fault nor your responsibility.
If you think I’m being harsh, speak to the infinite numbers of people in the world who’ve givenfar too muchfartoo soonto a partner and ended up getting taken advantage of, or fleeced, or simply broken up with once the storm had passed. It is not a risk worth taking.
Your values are essentially the guidelines by which you choose to live your life. They’re the “rules.” The dos and the don’ts. They’re what keep you on the straight and narrow.
Every now and then, someone comes into our life who begins influencing our actions in ways we’re not proud of. Yet, we continue going with the flow because we want to impress this person, or make them happy, or win their affection…
The question arises, though, why do we want to win the affection of someone who’s values differ so much from our own?
Why do we want to gain the approval of someone who is making us betray ourselves in the process?
How can we be happy with someone whom, in order to be with, we had to do things we were uncomfortable with?
At the end of the day, this type of relationship will never last — but what will remain is the knowledge of what you sacrificed for the short time you had.
Standards are different than boundaries.
Boundaries are your parameters foryourself.
Standards are your parameters forother people.
What you want in a partner, a relationship, alife.
Now, I get it, you’re frustrated.
Relationships are hard.
(Well…only thewronglove hurts).
The point is this: It can be tempting at times to just start settling for less so you can actually get into a relationship. You start wondering if your standards are unrealistic, or too high, or if the person you’re looking for really even exists.
Eventually, then, you start accepting more sub-par behavior, being way too flexible on the types of people you date, and shrugging your shoulders at the prospect of finding real love.
You start telling yourself that something is better than nothing, and then you settle.
The truth is, though, thatsettling for the wrong relationship will make you feel lonelier than staying single ever will.
This method will never make you happy, and in the back of your mind you’ll always know that you deserve more than you’re getting. But, if you don’t act on that reality, then it might as well not exist in the first place.
ALERT, ALERT, SIRENS AND HORNS.
You have goals. Dreams. Ambitions. Things you want to accomplish and do with your life.
And then, you get into a relationship.
For some unknown reason, many people think this means they need to choose between the two.
Now, of course, if your dreams included traveling the world as a nomad and living off the grid, well, yeah…maybe you’ll need to choose between that and living the married life in the suburbs.
But inmostcases, your relationship can coexist with your dreams, especially if you choose the right person to be with.
Someone who encourages you, who supports you, who wants to see you win.
That person is going toloveseeing you do the things that you are passionate about. They want to see you happy, successful, and thriving — no matter what that means for you.
SO many people, though…too many peoplewill just…give up.
Then, someday, they’ll wake back up again and look around, wondering whose life they’re living, feeling a sense of panic that they might’ve missed their chance to do those things they promised themselves they’d do.
I know this, because many of these people reach out to me
One of their biggest regrets is that they gave up the things they loved for someone who, in the end, never truly valued them in the first place.
“But James, you can’t just go off and do whatever you want when you’re in a relationship…”
That’s right, you can’t. There are agreed upon rules and guidelines that make a monogamous relationship what it is. That is part of the deal when you choose to enter into a commitment.
Whatisn’tpart of the deal, though, is agreeing to be controlled by someone.
You, as part of this relationship, are still an autonomous and independent individual who should be free to make their own decisions and choices, as long as they honor the boundaries of the relationship itself (and the people in it).
When you become too dependent on someone, or if you find yourself in an abusive relationship (mentally, physically, or emotionally) and feelcontrolledby your partner, you begin to lose all independence which permeates your entire identity until a crisis is peering through your windows.
This doesn’t happen overnight, though — but slowly over time as your independence erodes.
They’ll start making small decisions for you that become larger over time. They’ll stop consulting with you about important things. They’ll claim they’re being “proactive” when in reality, their mission is to be a dictator within the relationship.
The further into that forest you go, the more difficult it is to find your way out. Make sure you pay attention to the warning signs when theyfirststart to show themselves.
ALL OF US, whether we admit it publicly or not, have intimate needs in a relationship.
I’m not just talking about sex, I’m talking aboutconnection.
Emotional and mentalconnectionthat leads totrue intimacy.
There are a
wide variety of needs
that have to be met for a relationship to thrive, and intimacy is high up on the list.
You have to feel connected to your partner, attracted to them, turned on by themin order for a healthy intimate relationship to last a lifetime. This requires open and honest communication, willingness to express your desires, and also tohearthose of your partner.
It requires intimate and sexual compatibility to be built and formed over time. More difficultly, it requires thelack of itto also be recognized before it’s too late.
If one or both partners sacrifice their intimate or sexual needs in a relationship, it will begin to create distance between you over time, that may eventually become too far to reconnect again.
The core of it all, your identity. The #1 thing I work with
to develop, and to redevelop.
What, though, is your identity?
The way I see it, your identity is your overall vision of yourself. It encompasses your values, your beliefs, your perspectives and worldviews. It defines your qualities, talents, and abilities. It dictates what you believe is possible for yourself, and what you don’t.
It serves as a compass for every single decision you make in your life, because you will subconsciously strive toreinforcethis identity every step of the way.
If you consider yourself an athlete but you never train, you eat like crap, and you don’t participate in your sport anymore…you’ll feel a deep internal conflict because you’re not acting as anathletewould act.
The same goes for any other defining identity you can choose for yourself.
Your identity iswho you were before any of that came into your life.
It’s who you remain to be at your very core.
And, too many people lose sight of their identity when they get into relationships.
It may happen right away, or it may gradually fade over years or decades.
One thing remains true, though: When you lose sight of your identity, you become lost in a fog that seems to be ever-present.
You forget what used to make you happy or fulfilled. You spend so many years making decisions based on other things or people, that you forget what you even liked in the first place.
You forget who you are.
That is the greatest sacrifice of all.
The good news is that none of this is permanent. Every single day when you wake up you can make the decisions needed to turn things around. To reclaim your identity. To rediscover your passions and purpose. To build mental and physical strength again.
The only thing standing between you and the things you’ve lost, is the decision to take them back again.
And that decision is one that
have the power to make….CONTINUE READING HERE