Had lunch with an old friend yesterday. Both of us having been in long-term, less-than-successful relationships. (LTSR) She's now blissfully married and glowing with it.
We spoke of all the things that happen along the way to finding oneself in a LTSR. Why do we do it? How does it happen that one day you realise that you're in something unhealthy, or unsustainable or just plain out destructive?
Every decision takes us to that point. The narratives we grew up with (one day your prince will come....all men are bastards...what will the neighbours think...anything for peace...if you don't agree say so). The expectations we load on ourselves (I will get married, I will have children, I will be successful). The things we choose to overlook in the name of that so called success (He didn't really mean that...I deserve this...We are only human).
And it's all very well to say that we need to stick to our principals, to not 'settle', to only surround ourselves with love and loving people. Some of the most dangerous ones in my opinion, are the ones that start off charming, generous and almost too-good-to be-true. We're literally seduced by it and then, when things start going pear-shaped we use those rationalisations and end up stuck in a neverending circle of LTSR's.
So what's a girl (or guy) to do?
How about approaching the whole relationship/dating/mating process with fresh eyes. Apply the same values that you would to a friendship (most of us would NEVER allow our friends, or family, to treat us the way we are treated by these supposed true loves - what's that about!?!)
Consider each aspect in the cold light of day. Perhaps even being a bit businesslike about it all.
Get second opinions. Third. Fourth. Listen to everyone. Impartially.
Take time. Forever is forever after all.
Far better in the long term to make a lover of a friend than a friend of a lover.
Trust. But with your eyes open.
Promise yourself that you will approach ALL relationships with love and in a loving spirit, but that if this is not mutual you will terminate immediately.
Do you feel safe, nurtured, peaceful about this thing?
Apply due diligence. And pay attention.