Dating can be complicated for many reasons, but none so pervasive as this: We have the answers, but we choose to ignore them.
We see the signs; we feel the discomfort, but we proceed anyway.
We attempt to defy logic by going against it, and then we expect a new outcome.
When you face challenges in your love life, remember that you know what to do.
If you’re willing to ask the tough questions, you’ll find every answer you need.
“Is this the love I deserve?”
Stephen Chbosky once wrote, “We accept the love we feel we deserve.” When we feel good about ourselves, we pursue those who echo the same upbeat energy.
When we feel badly, we choose partners who are negative and detrimental to our self-esteem. In your relationships, it’s important to continually ask yourself this tough question.
The answer is tied closely to your self-worth. If you feel you deserve more, don’t be afraid to admit it. More importantly, don’t be afraid to go out and find it with someone else.
“Am I confident enough to speak up for myself?”
Communicating in a relationship means sharing how you feel and standing up for yourself when you know you should. Can you openly voice your concerns in the relationship?
Are you comfortable bringing up certain subjects? Do you and your partner talk about everything? If you can’t share how you truly feel, then another important question is, why not?
Confidence is a muscle we build with practice. By voicing the small issues, you gain the courage to speak up about what’s important.
If you’re afraid that speaking up means rocking the boat and losing your partner, then there’s a bigger issue than just communication.
“Do I set boundaries in my relationships?”
“‘No’ is a complete sentence.” I’m not sure who said it first, but business coach Marie Forleo says it often. You know your own limits. When others push you to the edge, it’s your responsibility to tell them no.
Setting boundaries is a form of self-love. You can’t be at your best when you’re pushed past your limits. If it doesn’t feel safe or comfortable, it might be beyond your personal threshold.
Learn to say no with the same love and respect you would use to say yes. Boundaries help to keep us safe, and all healthy relationships operate within them.
“Do I like myself?”
There are people we date who will literally drive us crazy; they will make us feel like we’re losing control.
Under typical circumstances, we may be the most rational and practical people, but in certain relationships, we are hot messes.
Some relationship dynamics just aren’t healthy. Something as small as over-compromising can make us feel weak and insecure, even though we know we’re not.
The decisions we make to accommodate our partners can eventually take a toll on our self-image. Be aware that relationships change us, but not always for the better.
“Am I making the same mistakes?”
Some relationships are déjà vu all over again, and we find ourselves wondering how we let this happen. We have sex too soon, we call too much or we get jealous too easily.
Anything done once is an accident, but done twice is a habit. It’s important to identify the situations that constantly repeat themselves and change the habits that allow them to occur, even when it means avoiding your “type.”
If the same scenarios unfold with the same people, then they might not be your “type” after all.
“Is it my choice or someone else’s?”
The pressure to feel liked and accepted can make dating feel like a continual game of “Simon says.”
We bend over backward to please others, hoping they’ll see our devotion and like us more or, at the very least, reciprocate our feelings.
Influence is the reason we make decisions that don’t feel like our own.
It can come from family, friends, society and the person we’re dating. It’s okay to cooperate, but don’t make decisions based on what others want; choose for yourself.
“Do I feel fulfilled?”
All the logic in the world won’t erase the loneliness of a relationship that has a void. “Is this what I want?” “Am I happy?” These questions can determine if your core needs are being met.
The hardest part can be identifying where that void is and communicating this need to your partner. Feeling unfulfilled doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong relationship, so don’t take it as a sign to breakup.
Take the insight as an opportunity to communicate your needs and get closer to the person you’re dating.
In your relationships, you are the expert because you know yourself better than anyone else.
Check in with your feelings from time to time and let them guide you. When something isn’t right, you’ll know it.
The challenge lies in doing something about it.