As you get older, pay less attention to what people say and instead, watch what they do.
As I observe the relationships of those around me, I see a lot of my old self and the stupid choices I've made in partners not so long ago. Not to say that everyone else isn't entitled to make similar mistakes, we all learn at different speeds, it just seems that once we reach a certain time in adulthood we should be wising up and no longer being carelessly ruthless with our hearts. Sure, we can see a trainwreck in the works when navigating the worlds of dating or marriage, but we are naturally inclined to hope and strive to make do with what we have anyway, shooting to work things out regardless. We put in so much time and energy that the last outcome we seek is another break up and having to start all over, yet again, probably only to fuck up even worse with the next go round.
But the thing is, it doesn't have to be that way at all. We can choose to stop wllingly accepting subpar behavior. We can choose to see when someone is blatantly an asshole and in every which way wrong for us so that we can draw in someone who is actually good (yes, they do exist). How can this be accomplished? Recognize the signs of an unhealthy partnership before you get in too deep. Over the years, I've repeatedly attracted the same 'man'. I learned to spot him everywhere and have steered clear since. I strive to help other women with this skill as well since I see the type all too often. As a female, I also know how other females can up and ruin a mans world, so I like to assist the men worthy of having a good woman in watching out for the opposite. My list of several lookouts are as follows:
1) If they blame everyone in their past for the end of their relationships and have NOTHING nice to say about any of them, chances are, they won't act any differently with you either when YOUR relationship together doesn't work out (because trust me, it won't). Blamers are convinced the world is working against them and that everyone else is at fault. They may believe they are perfect or quite close enough so that they could never be blamed when things go south. Narcissistic personalities are quite common keepers of this action.
2) Perpetual OR lack thereof pda is a complete red flag. I repeat, a COMPLETE RED FLAG. With social networking a double-edged main staple in todays society, it makes it all the more of grave concern. A partner obessed with praising you online for the world at large to witness is either hiding something and looking to throw you off, or bearing a common symptom of a controlling personality (control should never be a factor in a healthy relationship). A partner who bears no evidence of their affections is typically occupied sharing them with someone else (or possibly everyone else since they can never be satisfied with the attention of only one). Anyone can make the excuse that they are not the 'pda type', but when you love someone, it is impossible not to show, and even more difficult not to WANT to show. It doesn't matter how long you've been together either, you never stop showing you care even after you 'already got them'.
3) Abuse in any form is a dealbreaker. I once wrote about the four year long relationshit (you read that right) I had ended back in 2010. He was abusive in every which way possible, to a point where I still haven't divulged everything to anyone that had occured over that horrible time period. I understand that how at first things can start off so magical and seemingly flawless, all first signs of trouble ahead get pushed aside and seen as only small character blemishes, but the moment you are ever threatened to be or are actually struck, or you see them act out in scary behavior towards anyone else, there is no reason at all to stay. None.
4) Selflessness, not Selfishness is key. Yes, it is truly important to be happy on your own before you can be happy with someone else. Yes, it is important to focus on your wants and needs to find someone with the same values and goals. However, once you are in the right relationship, you can't help but desire to put your partners happiness ahead of your own, or at least, make theirs an incredibly huge priority in your life that it's difficult not to strive in doing so. If you find that you don't have those instincts, or your partner clearly doesn't have them for you, then what is the point of being together at all?
5) Cheating is cheating is cheating is cheating. Did you read that right? I know that there are counselors and therapists galore who believe that one mistake can be forgiven and worked through. Maybe you're even one of those believers. But you know what, from every experience with dating the cheaters I have, each claiming that they never would again.... fell through with that bullshit lie every time. Every single time. Monogamy is NOT asking too much and it is NOT something that can't be done. If you aren't a fool, then when the first 'mistake' is made, you should be counting it as the last and WALK. If you can't control your own impulses while you're already committed, take that as the sign that you shouldn't be committing to anyone yet and a relationship is the last thing you should be part of.
6) If you both see different futures, it isn't meant to be. There are two kinds of people in this world; those that settle down, and those that don't, there is no in between. The obstacle in this scenario is time. Biological clocks can wail anywhere from late teens to a woman's mid forties. Men can run around enjoying bachelorhood for decades. It is a mere stroke of luck meeting a special someone at the right place and right time. It is important to keep in mind that in even finding your other half, you must acknowledge what it is that they want for the future. If it doesn't match up with yours, waiting in hopes that they'll come around won't work. Pretending to feel the same that they do and secretly hoping they'll change their mind also won't work. Yes, there are the exceptions who change when they meet the infamous 'One', but, most of us don't. We want what we want, and that's that. Don't settle for anything less than what you absolutely deserve.
7) There isn't someone for everyone. Once you can accept that possibility, you'll stop putting all that pressure on yourself to be looking out for Mr. or Ms. Wonderful. It can help you resist the harassment others can put on you to settle with anyone just so you won't be alone at night anymore, and it can prevent you from putting the force of coupling up on someone who is gladly living the life of a lone wolf. The truth of the matter is, there are plenty of folks who roam solo for their entire life. They can fill time with traveling the world, hobbies, friends and family, and not need the companionship of a lover to be satisfied. One of the greatest women I knew never married or had children, but she did many amazing things and had no regrets for the choices she made. We are not all destined for love, and that is still very much okay.
"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ― C.G. Jung