It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!

The beginning of my relationship was phenomenal. I just knew this guy had to be the one. I was ecstatic. I finally found the man of my dreams. He was very attentive and caring. He seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, my likes and my dislikes. He did things to show me that he thought of me and my well being. He showed me the best version of himself. Once he got me hooked and I fell in love with him, I started to see someone different. He wasn’t the man he was in the beginning of our relationship. He was dismissive. He didn’t care whether we spent time together or not. He didn’t consider my feelings. He blamed me for every issue that occurred in our relationship. It didn’t matter how great our relationship was when we first started out. In the end, all that mattered was how the relationship ended. The relationship ended with much pain. We actually had good times throughout the relationship, but the only things I can remember are the bad times. The relationship ended so crazy, I can’t see past that pain. I went from being in love to not wanting to even hear his name. Again, it wasn’t how the relationship started that had the greatest impact but how it ended. Remember, it’s not how you start but it’s how you finish.

The Relationship Scorecard

Have you ever been a relationship where it felt like your partner was keeping a scorecard? They did things for you. They took you out on dates. They brought you gifts for no reason at all. It seemed like they were doing all of these things because they were your partner. You thought they were doing these things because they loved and adored you. Then the moment came when they threw those very things back in your face. It turned out they weren’t doing these acts just because they cared about you and wanted you to know that you were special to them. It definitely doesn’t feel good when somebody constantly reminds you of all of the things they have done for you and all the things that you have neglected to do for them in return.

I was in that type of relationship. I am not a materialistic person at all. I am actually a giver. I prefer to give than to receive and sometimes people take advantage of that. It felt pretty good when I met someone that I thought was just as giving as I was. He would do special things for me all of the time. I didn’t ask for any of these things. I reciprocated as much as I could, but it ended up not being enough in his eyes. It offended me when he brought up the things he did for me and how I wasn’t living up to what he expected from me. It tainted all of the things that he previously did. I thought he did those things from his heart, but that wasn’t the case. I didn’t want him to think that I was using him, so I started to do more. I started to feel like he was always keeping track of who was doing what. I didn’t want to be made to feel bad about anything that he might do for me, so I always made sure I did as much for him or more. Of course, this was not sustainable for me. After the relationship ended, I realized that this was an unhealthy situation. When two people love each other, they do things for each other and they don’t keep score. When you really do something from your heart, it doesn’t matter if you receive something in return. A healthy relationship doesn’t have a scorecard.

Superficial Love

Today I want to talk about superficial love. It’s amazing to me how many people believe things equate to love. Don’t get me wrong, gifts are nice but they don’t make your partner’s love real. I would much rather have someone that truly loves me for the person that I am than to receive expensive gifts and be treated with a lack of love, respect, support and adoration. I am what they call a modern day woman. I have a successful career and my own money, so that means I can buy my own things. What I desire in a relationship, goes way beyond shiny things. I was in a relationship where my partner brought me gifts randomly. I appreciated his gestures, especially since I told him the same thing that I just stated here. I interpreted his gift giving as a way for him to express his feelings for me, however I was wrong. It turns out he was giving me gifts but didn’t respect me as a person. He didn’t appreciate my quirky, corny personality. He didn’t accept my unique way of thinking. He never wanted to compromise in order for us both to be happy. At the end of the day, all of his gifts meant absolutely nothing. I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. I would rather receive real love from my partner over extravagant gifts. At this point in my life, I am not open to a superficial love. I want the real thing.

You don’t hear me!

It is a difficult pill to swallow when you realize that your partner doesn’t hear you. One of the keys to a successful relationship is communication. Without it, your relationship is pretty much doomed from the start. I pride myself on being a good communicator. When I am in a relationship I like to talk through issues and not just ignore them. I learned, if you are not in the right relationship being a communicator won’t matter. You partner needs to be a good communicator as well. They also have to know how to listen and hear what you are saying. Your relationship will not work if your partner never acknowledges your point of view. If they don’t at least try to understand where you are coming from, you will not be able to resolve problems successfully. I was recently in relationship where the communication between my partner and I, left much to be desired. If we were having any type of disagreement, it seemed as if we had no communication skills at all. He never seemed to get my point of view and always tried to convince me that he was right and I was wrong. I knew communication was one of the keys to a successful relationship, so I kept trying to communicate with him to no avail. Eventually I realized, I was communicating clearly, but he just didn’t hear me. He didn’t want to understand what I was saying. He didn’t care to hear how I was feeling regarding certain situations. Coming to that realization was very difficult, because in that moment, I knew our relationship was not going to work. I had to make one of the hardest decision in my life and end that relationship.

From anticipation to obligation

Most of time when you meet a new love interest and you figure out that you really like them, you can’t wait to see them. You always want to spend time with them. For me personally, I would get butterflies in my stomach from the anticipation of our next date. When I finally got to meet up with that person, I couldn’t control the smile that would come across my face. This wasn’t one-sided. My love interest was as anxious and happy to see me. We never greeted each other without a big, long hug. We were so into each other, it seemed like the world would stop when we were together. After a while it all changed. It seemed like the anticipation and need to spend time with this person became one sided. We would set up dates, but it seemed more like a formality, because that is what we were used to doing. The person would come to my house, walk right pass me and barely speak. There were no more hugs when we saw each other. It seemed like they were only coming see me, so I wouldn’t complain that we weren’t spending time together. The entire time we were together they would be on their phone playing a game or looking at Youtube videos. When did our dating life change from anticipation to obligation? It seemed like it happened suddenly and that was the beginning of the end.

Recognizing when your partner has commitment issues

There are often signs right in front of us that the person we are dating have commitment issues. Their actions and the things they say are usually key indicators that are right in front of us. If you are not paying attention or being careful these signs are easily missed. I always like to speak about my experiences when writing these blogs. I was dating someone for a few years and I believe they have commitment issues. We would always have conversations about the future, but not in the way you would think. This person would ask me what my future boyfriend would be like or talk about us breaking up. This would annoy me, because I really liked this person. I even grew to love them. I had no intentions of breaking up with them. I wanted them to be in my life forever. This was a constant thing. He would give me examples of guys that could be right for me and ask me my opinion about them. I expressed to him that I only wanted to be with him, so I didn’t want to discuss future relationships, but this behavior continued throughout the relationship. I now know that this was a key indicator that this person had commitment issues. Instead of dealing with their issues head on they would try to passively suggest that I date somebody else. I didn’t want to accept this, so I pretended that this person was just joking around when these conversations came up. But the truth of the matter was that these conversations made me feel really uncomfortable and in the end the relationship did not work out. I feel like my partner intentionally sabotaged the relationship because of his fear of commitment. Watch out for the signs of commitment issues early on in your relationship, so you don’t waste your precious time on somebody who will never fully commit to you.

Let me work on me!

It is important to be self aware. I have written quite a few blogs about relationships and the things that went wrong in my relationships. Most of my blogs have focused on the things that my significant other was doing that was hurtful or unappealing. There is one thing that I learned throughout the year. You can’t fix anybody, but you can fix yourself. It is important to perform a self examination on yourself, if you are attracting the wrong person. Take action on the things that you find out about that can be hindering you from having a healthy relationship. Once you fix yourself, you will attract the right partner for you. You won’t accept behaviors that you would have accepted before. You will have the confidence to know that you are worthy of a great relationship and a partner who loves all of you. You will be able to build a healthy and long lasting relationship.

How did I miss these red flags?

I recently read an article that listed 8 red flags that you should watch out for when you start dating someone.

  1. You justify their bad behavior
  2. They don’t talk through issues
  3. They’re constantly testing your boundaries
  4. They have a massive sense of entitlement
  5. Something in your gut feels wrong
  6. Everything is about them
  7. They are overly critical about their previous partners
  8. You are constantly denied, criticized or dismissed by them

I have experienced at least 5 of these 8 things. I can’t believe that I missed these red flags. I think some times these things are subtle or they start happening slowly, so we just make excuses for them. Over time these things just keep happening over and over again. You began to get used to the way the person is treating you. It becomes the norm, but there treatment is still wrong. I wish I would have came across this article before I started my last relationship. I definitely would have been able to recognize that his behavior towards me was wrong a lot sooner. Now that I have this list, I will definitely be more aware the next time around.

First date question: What type of relationship are you interested?

Some people might think that asking the following question is too forward to ask on the first date: “What type of relationship are you interested?” However, I disagree. I think it is better to find out as soon as possible, whether you are on the same page, with a potential love interest. There is no need to waste precious time if you are not on the same page. It can become pretty awkward, after dating someone for a few weeks, with the intentions of having a serious relationship, only to find out they only want to date casually. You could end up dating a person for a few years before you find out that you want to get married, but they don’t believe in marriage. I think it is best to get this question out of the way, right away. Hopefully, they will be honest with you and not waste your time. I have had that experience as well. I was dating a guy who said he wanted to be in a serious relationship, which seemed true. He even talked about marriage. We seemed like we were on the same page. One day out of the blue we were discussing marriage and he was speaking negatively about it. I still believe in marriage, even though I have been divorced, so I was defending it. All of sudden he blurts out that he doesn’t think he wants to ever get married. We were already in a relationship for 3 years when he decided to share this with me. I was devastated. At that moment, I wished he would have told me that he didn’t want to get married when we first met. I wouldn’t have wasted my time and invested so much into that relationship. The sad part was I remained in that relationship for 2 more years. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want to get married again. I could deal with our current level of commitment. I was fooling myself, I definitely wanted more.

Have you ever heard of fleabagging?

I saw an article about this the other day. I immediately asked myself, “What in the world is fleabagging?” According to Carolyn Steber who writes for HelloGiggles, “fleabagging is when you keep dating the same types of people over and over again, even though they’re bad for you. You never quite learn from past mistakes or take a different approach to find love but keep hoping for the best, only to be let disappointed time and time again.” I bet this sounds familiar to a lot of us. How often have you questioned, how you ended up in the same type of bad relationship again? In my opinion, it is probably not something that is done intentionally. I know that my desire is to be in a relationship with someone who is going to treat me the way I deserve to be treated. After my last relationship, I realized that I was dating people with the same bad traits. It was like they were being drawn to me. That’s when I realized the problem is not with them, they are who they are. The problem was actually me. I decided that I would not enter into another serious relationship, until I took out time to figure out what it is about me that is drawing the wrong partner to me. I knew that I needed to fix myself. I needed to truly love myself. I honestly believe once I do these things, I will end up with the right person. I will break the pesky cycle of fleabagging.