This is one in a series of blogposts for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. These are some bits of information that I learned whem entering a new relationship.
When I was growing up I always wondered how I would know the guy I want to marry is the right one? I want to share some factors to consider before embarking on a long term relation”ship.”
It is easy to be swept off your feet by the romantic chemistry which may cause a blindness between two people to each other’s faults or even worse misjudgments about their real character. Everyone has personality “quirks,” which we have to decide if we can live with.
Other clouding factors may occur from having a major crush or being infatuated. This obscuring may be compensating for a void in one’s life. For instance if someone felt unloved or was abused as a child, there may be a desperate need to be loved, accepted or have some kind of love, warmth, or affection in their lives.
A sense of low self worth or some other deficit can cause a craving for any kind of attention. Ever hear of: “Negative attention is better than no attention at all”?
These are lessons I learned from my own experience and from some of my friends. There are always exceptions to these signs but it’s wise to be cautious.
1. If you are young and inexperienced where the opposite sex is concerned or where sex is concerned, you can more easily become a victim for a predator. A predator looks for someone who will trust them blindly, with their whole heart from the start and be pliable to be shaped into a dependent they can mold and manipulate.
Just watch “Judge Judy!” I have heard these lines many times there: “I knew him 24 hours and moved in with him. Oh, he had been arrested for domestic violence but he is good to me.”If he /she was abusive before, unless he has had a lot of counseling to lose this behavior, just say, ‘NO!”
2. You “fall in love” instantly. True love may happen instantly on rare occasions but in my opinion it is hard to love someone when you are young, insecure and don’t even love yourself. In this instance falling in love is just a chance for you to fill one of the voids mentioned above and give someone your heart and life without even knowing them.
There is such a thing as love at first sight but I do not believe it is as common where two young, immature people are concerned, who are not even out of high school yet and many of which are driven by hormones and emotions. My second son’s marriage was an exception. But there was a lot of growing up to be done after they married.
3. You immediately give the “beloved” your whole heart, “hook line and sinker.” You just know this is “the one.” You have never done anything with this person besides go on dates, meet their family, and talk about the future. You see no faults in your dreamboat. (This should be a major warning!!) Reality will catch up but will it be too late?
4. You are a rescuer. Your Love, has had a hard life, no help from his parents, constant strife in the family, and poor self esteem. So it’s your mission in life to make his life better, to save (love) him. Bad way to start a marriage. He/she may feel later they don’t need you any more. As an adult we learn that happiness needs to come from within and not someone else.
5. Have you dated lots of people? How will you know what is normal, acceptable, or expected on a date or in a relationship if you never dated someone else?
What about your life, your interests, your friends, your own heartaches which you have now brushed aside to rescue this “poor soul.” Shouldn’t you rescue yourself first before you devote the life you don’t even understand yet, to giving this poor, hurt soul all of your focus, energy, time, presence and thoughts?
Remember what flight attendants say about oxygen masks? Put your mask on first! It works with love too. Know and love yourself. Why do you feel the way you do? What makes you happy?
5. Do you have a soft heart for people who are suffering? Are you very sympathetic or even empathetic? Is rescuing others your only source of self worth? Do you give away things, you treasure without thinking about how much this sacrifice will mean to you later? Are you doing that with your life? If you do not value yourself, your own opinions or life, you will become a victim if you are not very careful.
6. People change. Are you willing to grow and change together? What if your beloved wants to move to the other side of the world? Do you love them that much? Would they do the same for you?
There are warning signs the other person may be exhibiting that could cue you into who they really are. You also may find out that your beloved is actually not so lovable. You need to look at the one you love as if they were being hired for a job. Here are some questions or factors to consider.
1.What are their personality traits or assets that they have to give you personally. If you don’t know much about them, how can you know whether they are worthy of your love?
2. What makes them mad, angry, or happy? What motivates them?
3. How does your intended behave under pressure? Get to know them under multiple circumstances. To learn about the “love of your life,” work side by side with them; volunteer together on a project. Observe how they treat other people and especially animals. Notice how they behave under stress. Take short trips with them. How do they respond to sudden changes in plans? Do they get mad easily?
3. What are their goals in life? Do they plan ahead and schedule every detail of a trip or do they like spontaneity? What is your/their “modus operandi”? Do they tend to go with the flow or do changes upset them terribly?
4. How many jobs have they had and for how long? Do they have a life outside of work? Do you two enjoy some of the same hobbies? Do they make excuses for failings by playing the victim card repeatedly?
5. Can you both feel free to enjoy your own friends and /or doing things that don’t always involve both of you? If one is needy and clingy, this may eventually become a major problem. You each need time with other friends and family or just to be alone.
I hope these ideas will provoke some soul searching for someone who is wondering, “Is this the right one for me?” There are always exceptions to every rule but please be careful before you trust someone implicitly without truly knowing them.
Marry a prince, not a frog.