We always seem to recognise our mistakes AFTER we've made them. After we've decided to get a fringe, after we've decided to have that eighth slice of pizza, after we've decided to order clothes off a slightly dodgy looking site (and then they turn up and they're toddler sized).
And most definitely, we look back on our past relationships wondering how we didn't see all those signs and all those mistakes we made - were we blind?!
You feel so silly and so stupid for not paying attention. Everyone else seemed to be able to see these red flags, so why couldn't you?
Well, I"m here to say - first off, it's not your fault. You're not stupid for being in love and making mistakes. Love does crazy weird things to you, one day you're a confident independent woman and the next, you're trying so hard to understand what happened and how you let yourself put up with awful treatment.
There are some self care and self preservation things that you can absolutely think about, the next time you're crushing hard on someone - and checking these things off in your head is not making assumptions that every person you meet has the potential to be abusive, it's about having respect for your values and life.
Here are some key things to check out in your next relationship, no matter what age you are.
- Watch how they treat others
My friend always used to say to me "If they treat their mum like rubbish, it won't be long until they do the same to you" - and to this day, that theory has never gone wrong. Watching how people treat others is a tell tale sign of who they really are, even if they always treat you kindly and with respect.
If they are rude to service workers, to their friends, to their family - but kind to you. They aren't a kind person. They aren't putting you on a pedestal and you are the exception, there's a really high chance that they are grooming you to feel comfortable before they show their true colours.
When people show you who they really are, believe them.
- How they act in social situations
Does your boyfriend disappear off the face of the earth whenever he drinks? Does your girlfriend make jokes about you or laugh at you when you're in a group? Do they do things that bother you, then act like it's no big deal?
How your partner or crush acts in social situations is really important. Being around other people should never change the basis of your relationship, and more importantly - being drunk or high is never, ever an excuse to treat someone like crap. You absolutely don't need to put up with a disappearing act of a partner every Saturday night, then have them come crawling back the next morning.
There's a saying that goes "Do the mahi, get the treats" - girl, they don't get to skip the work (mahi) of being in a relationship, then come back when they want the treats (your wonderful self)!
- Pay attention to language
I'm not talking about whether they call you their Bae or their #StunnaNumba1 - I'm talking about how they speak to you, when you're really talking.
Do they listen to what you say, then respond with respect? Do you ever feel like they aren't really listening? Or maybe, whenever you bring up some problems you have, they say you're 'being dramatic' and you need to get over it and 'stop being crazy'.
Listen - whatever you have to say, is worth listening to! When people use defensive 'fighting' words or phrases, or jump to the 'stop being crazy' thing that some men like to put on women, it's a sure tell tale sign that that person isn't being respectful of you. '
You are 100% not crazy for:
- expressing your opinion
- speaking up when you don't like something
- saying no
If your partner goes out on a night out and ignores you, you have the right to ask why. And they don't get to call you crazy for that! Boy, bye.
These are just a few things to keep an eye on, but honestly sometimes these things sneak up on us. That's totally okay! Making mistakes is how we learnt to tell the good ones from the bad ones, and in this process you will learn what sh*t you want to put up with, or whether it’s just better to spend some time waiting for Shawn Mendes to meet you and fall in love. Obvs.
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