Spoiler: real love is possible. Also, bear with me as I continue with the love-themed posts this February, also known as the most depressing month of the year. If you’re feeling the winter blues, I hope this little post will get you out of your funk because each and every one of you deserves love and affection.
This post is dedicated to all the guys and gals interested in romantic relationships. If you’re not interested in one, this post may just offer you some insight into what those love-crazed addicts are into and why they do what they do. For all the guys and gals out there looking for a relationship or trying to figure out if the relationship you are in is right for you, I highly recommend this TedX video. (I highly recommend any TedX video, actually.)
Alex Redcay is the executive director of Serise, Inc. which provides counseling and therapy services for individuals, couples, and families in Highland Park, New Jersey. Alex brought up several points about our path to love which should resonate with any person who has ever played the dating game or gone through a less-than-favorable breakup. On our path to love, we go through several stages.
1) How Beautiful and Perfect
- We think our significant other is the best thing since sliced bread. Everything is La Vie in Rose.
2) The First Red Flag
- Once that fades away, realize a critical flaw in our partner. This spells trouble.
3) Friends and Family (F&F) Concern
- Our friends and family, being our honest and concerned community of people who love and respect us, begin to be concerned. They know that the person you are dating isn’t right for you. They voice their concerns.
4) Culmination of Red Flags, “Work on It,” & maintain the Illusion
- It’s just a passing thing, right? You say to yourself. I can fix this! Frankly, if this person is highly set on being a certain way, you most likely will NOT be able to change them. Let a bird be a bird. Let them fly. It’s not your responsibility or right to keep them tethered to the ground.
5) F&F Intervention
- By this point, your friends and family are getting really tired of your rose-colored glasses. They intervene. They’ve had enough.
6) Distance, Isolation, Fighting, Fixing
- You distance yourself and isolate yourself from your friends and family. You think they’re just being horrible and ignorant jerks for not understanding why they don’t like your significant other. You fight with them. You proceed to attempt to fix your broken relationship.
7) F&F Anger & Separation
- By this point, your friends and family accept the fact you’ve isolated yourself and distanced yourself from them.
- Eventually, you realize your friends and family are right. The person you are dating is simply not compatible with you.
- What happens now? AKA #ForeverAlone ?
There are reasons why we tend to repeat this cycle. It’s a combination of nature and nurture. We tend to date emotionally unavailable or personally incompatible people because we are drawn to them like we are fireflies in the night and they are the single, bright light. We are drawn to danger.
There is a bright side to this. Real love is possible. We can fix these unhealthy habits.
1) Open your heart to real self-assessment
- Be honest with yourself and your significant other. Be honest with what you want out of a relationship. In other words: you can compromise without settling.
2) Get to know yourself
- Be stubborn with what is really important to you. Sure, your significant other may not enjoy Philip Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach on a Friday night, but in the long run, this sort of incompatibility is nowhere near as important as the “big issues” that will most likely not change with the passing of time.
- If you’re 35-years-old and you really want to settle down, be married, and have kids, and the person you are dating does not want any of things, don’t expect them to change. Don’t yell at them. Don’t be mad. That’s their way of life. Let them be happy and go find someone who does want those things. Don’t waste your time.
3) F&F should meet the prospect (#1 Rule)
- Your friends and/or family should meet the person you are dating within the first 3-5 dates. Sometime in between the third and fifth date is when you figure out whether or not you’re very interested in the person you are with. The addiction sets in between the third and fifth date.
4) Pay attention to RED flags every day
- The red flags are the big things like emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. The red flags are those key requirements that you have for a successful , long-term relationship. Red flags do not mean that your partner seems to prefer baroque classical chamber music over Nicki Minaj free styling.
Now go out there and find the person you’re looking for. They’re coming to find you as fast as they can.