You know when you get together with a girlfriend you haven’t seen for a while and you ask her how things are with her man and then for the rest of your dinner you need to listen to her talk about her shitty boyfriend, as you sit there biting your tongue?
Yeah. I’ve been there. I’ve been the listener to said stories wondering how in the world my hot, successful, smart, passionate, sweet friend is blinded to how poorly she’s being treated, wondering why she’s putting up with such seemingly obvious BS. I’ve also been the one sharing stories, defending a partners less than savoury behaviours while a friend is sitting across from me likely regretting asking me in the first place.
Neither position is an enviable one, but both are all too common.
We get together with someone only to talk about our relationships and we realize when we say it out loud that maybe things can be better? Yet when a friend or family member tells us as much, we’re quick to write their worries off.
We tend to tell ourselves that our friend just doesn’t get it – it being our “happy” relationship – because they don’t see what goes on behind closed doors and how our partner really is. And yet, I’d argue they see your relationship much more clearly than we do.
Because here’s the thing, dear reader. It is so easy to convince yourself you’re happy, solely because you don’t know any different. You don’t know any better. For all I know, you can be accepting scraps from the guy that has your heart, but you’re so used to your dynamic with him, so comfortable in the relationship you have spent time working on and developing over time, that you accept it thinking that this is how a relationship should be.
And I get it, I really do.
Over the past week alone I’ve watched a handful of reality TV shows (don’t @me) where various people have said they didn’t realize how bad things were, until they removed themselves from a relationship. Like Blake, a frontrunner on The Bachelorette. This past week during hometown dates he said to his dad, “I wasn’t this happy in my last relationship, but I thought I was.”
The thing is, you can have it so much better. But if you stay put in a dead end relationship with a partner that doesn’t respect you or isn’t in the relationship “for the right reasons,” then you’re doing yourself a major disservice. The longer you stay, the longer you’re holding yourself back from reaching your full potential. I mean if you’re just settling with someone who doesn’t inspire you, who isn’t your biggest cheerleader, who doesn’t celebrate your triumphs with you and who you can’t even depend on, just imagine doing all the same things you do in a relationship but with someone who has your back and helps you grow.
Not sure if you’re settling in a shitty relationship? Here are some signs that you likely are:
– If you catch yourself more sad than you are happy.
– If you catch yourself questioning your sanity, or the sanity of your partner.
– If you wonder if you might be settling.
– If you’re constantly justifying yourself, or are made to feel guilty for asking for what you want or need.
– If you have to walk on egg shells.
– If you’re often disappointed.
– If you haven’t celebrated any milestones together.
– If they haven’t pushed you to be a better person or version of yourself. If they never ask you how you’re doing, and actually listen to the answer.
– If you wonder if maybe your partner should be more supportive of your triumphs and more engaged in your conversations and more present when you’re together
– If you catch yourself avoiding friends and family because you don’t want them to see that you’ve changed for the worse, or to see through your relationship
– If your partner starts little fights over nonsensical things
– If your partner reacts to situations
– If you’ve ever been fearful in the presence of your partner
– If you feel left out or ignored when he’s with his friends
– If you’re often talked into doing things you don’t want to do
– If they’re always the one calling the shots
If you think you see yourself in even one of these examples, then maybe you might be settling? Then maybe you should walk away?
It may seem and sound impossible. Preposterous even. And yet, what’s more preposterous is you staying in a situation that you doubt. In a situation that your friends and family, all who love and care about you, tell you is doing you more harm than good.
You can have it so much better, if only you remove yourself from your situation, cut ties, and start fresh. We only have one life, so make it worth your while. Your time and your presence are your greatest commodity.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Jen Kirsch)