These May Be the Four Reasons Why#4. You don’t have a list of deal-breakers
I have a friend that is absolutely wonderful. She is thoughtful, beautiful, intelligent, successful, and in my eyes, she is the ultimate catch.
Although she wants to get married and have a family she has never had a serious relationship in the five years I have known her. Instead, she continually ends up with men who either want to be friends with benefits or want to keep her as a back-up option.
Several months I was ranting to my partner about how I couldn’t understand why my friend couldn’t have a healthy relationship when she is so amazing. When my rant was finished my partner turned to me and said something I know in theory but constantly forget in practice.
“You have no idea what she is like with the men she dates. She could be a completely different person. The way that someone behaves as a friend in no way dictates how they will act in a relationship.”
I threw myself headfirst into my relationships time and time again, pouring everything that I had to offer into other people. When things continually didn’t work out, I began to wonder what was wrong with me but I didn’t bother changing my behavior.
Finally, I had a failed relationship that caused me to finally look within. I found an amazing therapist and began working through my past. Doing so helped me realize that I struggled with abandonment issues due to my childhood and struggled with codependency.
The man that I ended up meeting after working on my trauma is the one that I have been with ever since and I believe that is because I was actually in a place where I could accept and give love in a healthy relationship.
Some of us are able to heal and trust after that. Others… not as easily.
There is a co-worker I had years ago that had been cheated on by her first serious boyfriend. After her heartache, she completely closed up instead of working through the pain. She kept a safe distance from both possible friends and any future romantic interests. No matter who tried to get closer to her, she assumed that if she opened up, they would burn her in the end and keep them at an arm’s length.
Being cheated on is absolutely horrible. It feels like the world disappears from underneath your feet, I understand as I have been there. But that experience shouldn’t take away your ability to trust and love others, as it really only ends up being unfair… for you.
In the beginning, both parties involved will agree that they are seeing other people and don’t want things to be exclusive. Yet, one of them almost always ends up being furious when things don’t end up being exclusive because they didn’t actually want things to be casual from the very beginning.
Perhaps it’s because of the movies we have seen such as No Strings Attached, or Friends With Benefits where a hook-up situation ends up leading to a beautiful happy monogamous relationship.
The reality is that you need to take someone at their word. If they say that they aren’t interested in a relationship, take them at face value. Instead of investing months/years into that person, set your efforts towards someone who wants the same level of commitment that you do.
At first, it was something I didn’t do because it felt… judgemental to just cut someone off as a potential partner because they did things/had traits I didn’t want.
Yet the moment I began putting deal breakers in place my dating life significantly improved.
Because I held fast to my dealbreakers and didn’t date anyone who was a smoker, heavy partier, unmotivated, etc, I began attracting men who were on my wave-length and eventually met my partner who is everything I could have ever wanted in a life partner.
My friend called me last week to let me know that she has decided to start therapy and that she finally cut things off with her latest non-committing romantic interest. Although it has taken her a long time to get to this place, finally accepts that she deserves more.
Navigating dating and relationships is difficult and it is always going to be something that is ever-evolving.
However, it can be a lot easier if you make sure to put yourself first, ensure that you are communicating your expectations, and letting the right people into your life instead of shutting them out.
❦ Writer & Relationship Consultant on narcissism, overcoming abuse & trauma, and self-love.
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