“A healthy, loving relationship is filled with support and encouragement, not criticism and contempt. If you are in a relationship that doesn’t bring out the best version of yourself, its time to step out.”

-Rose Caiola

Make changes to bring happiness into your life

Women love to be in love – that’s a given. We thrive off the romance, excitement and butterflies. We believe in finding the one. We will go to great lengths to convince ourselves that every man we date will be the one. But at what cost? There are many women who stay with men who abuse them verbally and treat them badly, not knowing when to say, “Enough!”

We’ve all heard the stories about a guy who talks down to his girlfriend one day and then professes his love for her the next. Or a guy who is constantly cheating on his girlfriend, gets caught and promises never to do it again – until she catches him again next month. Why do some women feel that’s the best they can do?

I’m not saying that relationships aren’t filled with ups and downs, but there have been times in the past when I’ve fooled myself into thinking that things weren’t really that bad. I was wrong.

There are many reasons why we stay in abusive relationships, and make excuses to justify bad behavior. We ignore the warning signs and fool ourselves into thinking everything is okay.

Here are five signs that you need to walk away from your relationship.

1. You are the only one for me!

Ever hear that before? When you met, you only had eyes for each other until he found out you were still friends with your ex-boyfriend or had male friends. Then he started getting angry and jealous, but you thought it was sweet and showed how much he cared. You say to yourself, “He’ll get over it when he realizes I love only him.” But that didn’t happen. And you stayed.

“If your partner is protective of you, that’s sweet. If he’s bizarrely, overly protective, it’s scary,” eHarmony reports. Ask yourself, does he randomly show up at work or drive by to check on you, particularly after a disagreement? Does he question you too intensely about why you were talking to another person? Get angry about it? Disbelieve you when you say that person is just a friend or work colleague?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, it’s a clear signal you are in a manipulative, controlling relationship.

2. Prince Not-So-Charming

love-is-confusingOh yes, he did everything right in the beginning. He held the door open for you, brought you flowers, stood up when you entered the room, said you meant the world to him and there would never be anyone like you. Then he turns into someone you don’t know at all. You fight, make up, fight and make up again. The cycle continues. But you say to yourself “He was so romantic…” So, what went wrong?

“Controlling people may come on very strongly in the beginning with seemingly romantic gestures,” according to Andrea Bonier, clinical psychologist, professor, and author. “But upon closer inspection, many of those gestures—extravagant gifts, expectations of serious commitment early on, taking you for luxurious meals or on adventurous outings—can be used to control you. Specifically,” Bonier explains, “they create an expectation of you giving something in return, or a sense that you feel beholden to that person because of all they’ve given you.”

All of this makes it emotionally difficult to walk away when red flags appear down the line.

3. You believe you can change him

You become trapped in the memories of the beginning of your relationship and try to convince yourself that old version of him will come back because he’s the man of your dreams, and you bring out the best in him. But the sad truth is that no one can change another person – they have to want to change.

Christine Hassler, speaker and author, says, “It is exhausting to be in any kind of romantic relationship from dating to marriage where you are constantly trying to change someone. And the reason it is exhausting is because it is not possible. The only person you can change is the one reading these words right now.”

4. You’re afraid of being alone

i-keep-getting-lost-1This is a tough one. Some women feel it’s better to be with someone than no one at all, so they settle. They believe being with a partner who is a poor match is better than coming home to an empty house.

“People often worry about what others will think. Pouring from our pitchers of self-doubt we ask worrisome questions,” Dr Karyl McBride says. McBride, also a licensed marriage and family therapist, explains people frequently wonder: “If I am alone for a while, will I be viewed as a loner? If I don’t date, will people think I am weird or anti-social?” But she says, “Thinking about the messages you give yourself while you are alone is a worthwhile project. Are you calling yourself a loser or are you telling yourself this is a special gift of love for you? How we view it, is what makes us feel good or bad about ourselves.”

5. You don’t believe you deserve better

When you have low self-esteem, you think you don’t deserve to be happy, so you settle not knowing any better. Any attempt at love is all you know and will accept.

Self-esteem stems from self-acceptance. This means that you need to accept who you are and not who you think you’re supposed to be. This also means that you need to accept your good qualities and your bad ones. And yes, everyone has both good and bad qualities.

If you can relate to any of the above, then it’s time to let go of that old way of thinking and make changes to bring happiness into your life. Believe you deserve a happy and healthy relationship.

Rose Caiola

Inspired. Rewired.

Comic courtesy of Dharma Comics.

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