It would be so easy if you found your soulmate with the first person you met. You don’t have to keep having those coffee and chit chat dates with man after man, wondering when you will find “The One.” Instead, the both of you can settle down and start your life together.
Well, relationships rarely work out like that. Life doesn’t even work like that.
If you’ve been in a toxic relationship for many years, or you’ve had multiple short-term, unsuccessful partnerships, then don’t think that someone will magically appear and sweep you away. Uh-uh. Nope. Sorry.
You have to do some self-work first. There’s no getting around it.
I only know this because every woman I’ve ever known — including myself — makes the same mistake over and over again until she faces her demons and works on her shadow self — that part of you that you don’t want to see. You don’t want to see it, because it’s painful. Oh god, it’s really painful. But, do you know what’s even more painful? Continuing in toxic, unloving, or ambiguous relationships. It’s more painful to continue wondering why nobody loves or respects you.
You have to open your eyes and look at those dark places in yourself. It’s okay, we all have them. It’s better to open that skeleton closet and face what you’ve been hiding. It’s important that you learn to love yourself, all of you.
I’m not saying that it’s okay to continue being a jerk, but rather to look at why you’re doing what you do to yourself and others that isn’t working for you.
If you want to be mentally healthy, you have to do the hard work. It’s like anything else; having a career, buying a home, planning for retirement…you have to do the work to make it successful.
Then when you feel like you’ve done the work and you’re ready to find someone, you will have to do more work. Because like I mentioned in the beginning, you won’t find THE ONE on your first date. You may not find him on your second, or sixth, or thirty-fourth date.
This means you have to be very clear on what you want and don’t want in a relationship. And when you’re dating, clarity may not come easily. There will be issues that pop up with men here and there, and it will surprise you because you won’t expect yet another issue to deal with. Sometimes the issue won’t be a deal breaker, and other times you’ll have to run for the hills. In the other direction, of course.
If you don’t like what you see, you have to make the uncomfortable decision to set a boundary and stick to it. No matter how many other great qualities you may think the guy has, you’ll have to act on cutting him loose if he does something that’s a deal breaker for you.
It comes down to what are your bottom lines.
For instance, you watch him down five drinks in the first hour you meet. Is that okay with you? Have you had a problem in the past with alcoholics? Have you determined in your mind what witnessed behavior constitutes as an alcohol problem? Will you then set a boundary and leave when you see the behavior in him?
Or, what if a man tells you he’s “almost divorced” but still lives with his ex-wife-to-be, and in fact is still sleeping in bed with her? Is that a shitshow you want to get involved in because he’s such a nice guy with “great” qualities (sans the wifey)?You have to make yourself uncomfortable when it comes to scenarios such as this. You have to set your boundaries and stand your ground. You have to say no and walk away. That means to stop seeing the guy before your heart gets more involved. Because if you let that bottom-line behavior slip by, I guarantee you that it will be worse the next time he does something that’s crossing your boundaries.It’s okay to have boundaries. Having boundaries — and acting on them — is the only way you’ll get to that man who is right for you.And, unfortunately, you have to go through a lot of men who aren’t right for you. They can be great guys and you have a good time with them, but you’ll have to know in your heart that they are not right for you and be okay with walking away. And the clearer you are on what you want, the more quickly you’ll sift through the men you don’t want, and the less time you’ll waste on those men.
If you want the person who’s right for you, do the work. Meet all those men that you need to meet. Have fun, and also respect yourself, set your boundaries, make yourself uncomfortable by acting on those boundaries when someone crosses them. Live by your rules, not theirs. It’s the only way you’ll get to that healthy relationship.