Relationships are complicated. We all have a few flaws, faults and quirks - nobody is perfect. So it makes sense that some things need to be ignored, overlooked, or lovingly accepted. However, some signs are actually bright red flags flapping violently in the wind that simply must be acknowledged. Whether that means working together on a compromise or accepting that a person is just all wrong for you, here are some neon warning signs to be on the look out for.
1. They can't stop telling you how perfect you are. AKA love bombing. A classic sign of a narcissist. At first you feel like the most amazing person on the planet, but when you’ve been put on a pedestal there’s only one way to go. It’s hard to live up to such ridiculous expectations. It’s important that your partner sees you as you are - a normal, flawed, breathing human being - not some imaginary projection in their head. We all need to be loved and accepted for who we are, not how someone imagines us to be.
2. They rush a new relationship forward too quickly. They profess their love for you, plan a vacation together, talk about how many kids you’ll have, etc very early in the relationship. They’re either on the rebound, trying to sync up with where they thought they’d be relationally by now, incapable of being alone, or a malignant narcissist. Either way, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE & NOPE!
What makes love last? Why does it fade? How do we decide if our partner is who we need them to be? Unconsciously, we regularly look to them for reassurance and wonder:
When it comes to relationships, think of having a ‘Love Bank’. When you first start dating, there's generally a vast amount and time and energy spent on your relationship. Consequently, there are lots and lots of deposits and the bank balance grows and grows to over-flowing. Unfortunately, as reality settles in – we have work, friends, family, children, community commitments, etc. and it just isn't sustainable to continue directing so much time or energy solely on each other. Often times, the little energy we have left, while well intentioned, can be misdirected. We think to ourselves “I’d really like that … so I’ll do that for them” and if your partner's needs are the same as yours, this will work well. However, if they aren't, those efforts will fall flat. You can find yourself trying harder and harder, to be more giving, caring, helpful, etc in an effort to get things back on track, but find that no matter how hard you try nothing changes. We begin to feel confused, frustrated, resentful and even hopeless.
DEBORAH FARRELL (MCounPsych)