I apologize if you’ve had difficulty accessing this site in the past few days: the hosting company I had switched to is not working out so I’m trying to move but I can’t get a clean backup of my site to move! Success is imminent though. If you missed the last Love and Learn about not ignoring signs in a relationship it’s waiting for you.
The more I hear from people about their relationships, the more certain I am that there are always signs telling us whether we should pursue a relationship or end it, but sometimes we ignore those signs because we don’t want to take action. Signs don’t always mean a relationship is doomed: sometimes a sign is a wake-up call to do things differently, and once you do everything’s fine. A good friend admitted she ignored her now-husband’s interest in her initially because she knew deep down that things would be serious and she wasn’t ready for a serious relationship at that time. That’s intuition and as I mentioned in the last entry, God-given intuition doesn’t lead us astray!
Compromise is generally seen as a good thing because it reflects a willingness to see another’s perspective, and in some cases, put someone else or their interests ahead of your own. There’s nothing wrong with this…as long you don’t always give up things that are essential to you (I’m talking about your non-negotiables). As mentioned last time, non-negotiables are just that: if you could be persuaded otherwise (and there’s nothing wrong with that, most of the time!), then it just means the item should not be considered a non-negotiable. Don’t compromise on your non-negotiables!
Don’t compromise on how you want to be treated
One of your non-negotiables should be how you allow yourself to be treated. This is important because it has a big impact on how you feel about yourself and your relationship. One of my favourite quotes is Maya Angelou’s I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Wouldn’t you like to be known as someone who makes people feel good about themselves? Have in your mind how you want to be treated, and avoid committing to someone who makes you feel the opposite of this.
For example, I have low self esteem about being overweight, so I figured I’d work harder in other areas to attract a good guy. This is why I took the lead in subtle ways in budding relationships, to try to get the guy to see the other dimensions to me apart from my weight. However, I’ve learned that taking the lead in a relationship is not a good fit for me because when I take the lead, I don’t get to feel wooed or as if I’ve been chosen by someone above all others (something that is important to me). I decided that I was sick of treating my extra pounds as if they were something that made me less worthy of being wooed by a good man.
Learning how I wanted to be treated
In my last relationship, we went through periods of time where I felt like I was being treated poorly because he was dealing with circumstances unrelated to me that affected his mood so significantly that he seemed to forget about me, our commitment to one another, and our plans for the future. I was patient at first (totally God-given patience!), trying to be sensitive to what he was going through, and I tried to help, but a long-distance relationship can have its limitations in situations like that. I know I wasn’t there for him in the way that he wanted either because he needed someone who could be there in the flesh. After a while of feeling miserable, I shared my feelings with him several times. He was not apologetic, nor did he tell me he would change, and although I wasn’t happy about it, I thought the right thing to do was stick by him and see if he’d return to his old self after the crisis had passed. And to be honest, I felt we had come so far that it would be a shame for me to throw in the towel on this issue.
Even though I believed that, I was also telling myself that I didn’t deserve this treatment. I even told him that I was concerned about how he would behave if we were married and something even more crushing than his current situation happened (mind you, we weren’t engaged, but I don’t get into relationships unless I can see myself marrying the person so that’s why I used that example with him). His reassurance that it would be different was not convincing given our situation, but I didn’t take any action regarding the relationship. He was the one who eventually ended things and a part of me wishes I had acted after sharing my feelings not receiving encouraging feedback. This is what I mean when I mentioned earlier that sometimes signs can be a warning to readjust so that you can get back on a smoother course. In our case it was not.
Old habits die hard
I was talking to a guy recently and we had a great rapport from the start. I tried to remember the first Love and Learn lesson about letting the man take the lead but I made some of my old mistakes, which I noticed right away and corrected quickly. However, when it became clear that this guy wanted me to do things that felt like I’d be pursuing him, I was frank and let him know that I wanted to be wooed and pursued by a guy and if he wasn’t comfortable with that then that was ok, I wished him the best. That was what I eventually told him, mind you: it’s never easy to say those words and release someone who seemed to be a good guy, especially when you’re no longer 23 years old. It was clear to me that what we were both seeking could not be found in the other, no matter how easily we initially clicked. Once I actually said the words I felt peace and was glad that I had been true to myself and that’s what this lesson is really about.
How have you compromised on how you wanted to be treated (or another non-negotiable) in past relationships? How did it impact you?
Missed the other entries in the Love and Learn series? Catch them here:
- Love and Learn – Introduction
- Love and Learn – God-given roles in the relationship
- Love and Learn – Don’t ignore signs in a relationship
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