When it comes to relationships, most people can agree on one thing – they’re difficult. In the beginning, relationships seem easy, fulfilling, and comforting, but overtime, both parties quickly find out that it’s not all roses.
I’ve seen too many times women of all ages and colors enter into relationships committing the majority of these mistakes from Day 1. Myself included. We wonder what went wrong and we start sharing our issues with other people in hopes of getting advice.
For some reason though, when asked to explain our relationship status, we’re either in denial or make excuses to save face. How many times have you heard “Well no relationship is perfect” or “All men cheat” when asking a woman why she’s putting up with a man’s bad behavior?
Why do we make excuses for men or deny that there is an issue with our relationship? Why do we miss red flags and not take ownership in our part? These four reasons my provide some answers.
1.) We do not set boundaries from the beginning.
I am a firm believer that your actions, and reactions, are your reflection to the world and people around you. I believe that boundaries, or the lack thereof, govern the way relationships operate. Simply put, you teach people how to treat you.
Let’s take a young man and woman for example. They are head-over-heels in love. They are each other’s “soulmates.” They can’t imagine life without the other. Because of this, the woman let’s certain things slide – like controlling behavior, coming home late, and occasional disrespect. She begins making excuses for him.
“This is his first serious relationship so I know he has some growing to do.”
Or the opposite, “He seems to know more than me about relationships so I am going to follow his lead”
We must proclaim what we’re willing to accept and not accept from anyone that has the privilege to be in our lives.
She has now taught him that it is okay to continue to control, disrespect, and manipulate her. On the surface, most women label these as growing pains, normal couple arguments, or even acceptable behavior. Also, most men in this scenario would claim he is just “being the man” or is attempting to protect their woman.
Be careful to not make these excuses so easily. We must not be quick to give the benefit of the doubt. We must go deeper. We must proclaim what we’re willing to accept and not accept from anyone that has the privilege to be in our lives. The moment you allow one behavior, you have opened the floodgate for the behavior to continue. At that point, you can no longer be surprised or shocked when the behavior worsens and things don’t work out. You are accountable for the behavior you allow- not anyone else.
2.) Not requiring the other person to prove themselves
Often times, we hear about women not trusting their man because of her past hurt. Of course, bringing this heavy burden into a relationship will certainly tarnish it before it begins.
But what we tend to avoid discussing is women who give away trust like its loose change. Some women are willing to do ANYTHING in order to get and keep their man, requiring little in return. A man can give a shallow and void promise of love, loyalty, and protection and the woman is instantly struck under his spell.
Now to all my strong women out there that think this hasn’t happened (or won’t happen) to them, I offer you this thought. Would you allow a man to move in with you after knowing them for only a short period of time? No! Of course not. I ain’t supporting no man!
Well what if he just recently got laid off, lost his home, and had no where else to go? How about now?
What if he promised to pay his half of the bills and take over half of the house work? How about now?
What if he tells you some other sob story (that may be true), catches you in a blissful moment of ecstasy, or guilts you into making you believe YOU are his only hope? How about now?
We say we’re independent. We say we put ourselves first. We say we deserve to be treated like a queen. But we have required nothing of our partner to partake in all of our glory. We are too quick to release our hearts, bodies, and wallets to men that have only proven they are good in bed or good with words.
Do not make the mistake of listening to words without tangible and consistent action to back it up. When the other person doesn’t have to prove themselves, they will certainly take advantage of you and the relationship will never be balanced and healthy.
3.) Expecting the other person to change on your terms
When someone shows you who they are- through consistent action, not words- believe them!
No matter what stage you are in life, people are always capable of change as long as they are ready and willing. I have seen complete extroverts change to introverts. I have seen selfishness change to selflessness. I’ve seen flashy turn to modesty.
Although we can change at any point in our lives, to expect it from your partner on your own timeline is unfair, unrealistic, and actually, a little manipulative.
You’re making a huge mistake if you expect your man, who showed you who he was from the beginning, to change for you. Too many times women will enter into a relationship with a man who fits the bad boy/player image and exalt themselves enough to think that they’ll be that ONE woman who will change them forever. They think they will be the Keysha Keoir to their Gucci Mane. (She would be what we call an ANOMALY).
If your man has an anger issue and is becoming increasingly aggressive with you, what reason then do you have to expect any change from him? Furthermore, even if your man was willing to change for you, wouldn’t you much rather him want to change for himself? Because a change that only happens to appease another person will never withstand.
When someone shows you who they are- through consistent action, not words- believe them! Do not expect him to change, especially for you.
In order to foster healthy change in a relationship, you must do so together. And preferably at a similar pace. You will find yourself in high-risk territory once you begin changing for the better and your man is not following suit. You could find yourself waiting a VERY long time.
4.) Giving to get
Giving to get is relationship manipulation at its finest and may be one of the primary indicators of an unhealthy toxic relationship. Women, we are guilty of doing this much more than men. And here’s why.
Think about the first thing women want to do for their man in the beginning of a relationship. We want to give our body, we want to cook for them, clean for them, rub their feet, buy them something nice, and show them we are loyal. And for that, we want the same in return. Love, affection, commitment, and support.
Sounds fair right? But here’s where we mess up. Once you begin giving in order to receive, your gifts become manipulation and eventually resentment will arise. For example, a young woman moves across the country to her man because he has a more promising career opportunity where he lives. She gets there and realizes the huge sacrifice she made and expects him to make up for it in a drastic way. She expects him to be home every night, be the sole financial provider and get her anything she wants. Because after all, she did move all the way across the country for him.
You don’t need me to finish the story for you to figure out how that ends. Do not sacrifice or give something of yourself expecting an equal return.
Healthy relationships all have one thing. Balance.
An equal balance of give-and-take is fundamental to a successful relationship. BOTH partners should be giving and taking equally, but not with the expectation of a return. When giving stops becoming “out of the kindness of your heart” and starts becoming “I want to please him” or “I want to get his attention” then you’re on the wrong track. To be clear, I am not saying to withhold your love and generosity for the sake of keeping balance. After all, we are taught to treat others the way we want to be treated. But be very careful of your INTENTION of your favors. If the cost of him giving you attention is for you to give away your dreams, your money, or your comfort, the price is too high.
We’ve all committed one of these mistakes at one point or another in our relationships. What’s even more interesting, most of our friends and family notice these issues well before we do.
We tend to be blinded by love and emotion until it is too late and the damage has been done. If you find yourself in a relationship after making these mistakes- step back, reevaluate what you really want, and set an unwavering standard from that point forward.