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5 Early Relationships Traps to Avoid at All Costs

The butterflies, the nervous anticipation… there are few things as electrifying as spending time with a new love interest. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy for some to fall victim to early relationship traps , and set new relationships up for inevitable failure.


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EARLY DATING TRAPS TO AVOID, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF BALANCE IN EARLY DATING.

The excitement that goes hand-in-hand with a new relationship is undeniable. The butterflies, the nervous anticipation… there are few things as electrifying as spending time with a new love interest. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy for some to fall victim to early relationship traps – emotional triggers that play into low self-esteem, and set new relationships up for inevitable failure. For those of us who have suffered emotional wounds, consistently falling into early relationship traps may prevent us from developing mature, healthy, long-term partnerships. Without even realizing that we are doing so, we may be searching for a partner to heal these old wounds and make us feel happy and whole. While we can still heal ourselves while we are involved in a romantic relationship, the key is that we truly heal ourselves – we don’t look to another person to do the work for us.

Finding Balance in Relationships

So, how do we begin healing? The first step is recognizing and acknowledging that there is some healing that needs to take place. Take a look at the following early relationship traps, and determine how many you regularly fall victim to. Everyone is capable of developing and maintaining a healthy, joyful relationship once old wounds have been adequately healed.

1. Spending less time with your friends.

When we meet someone new, someone that makes us feel emotionally exhilarated, we will want to spend as much time with that person as possible. Without even realizing that we are doing so, we may begin to blow off other plans. We may unintentionally distance ourselves from our friends, opting to spend any free time with our new flame. And this makes sense, seeing as the brain has quite an appetite for dopamine. At the start of new relationships, dopamine levels are often exceptionally high. This causes a giddy feeling – those ‘fireworks’ that everyone talks about. We feel butterflies in our stomachs right before meeting up with a new romantic interest; our hearts skip a beat when they shoot us a text in the middle of the day. Naturally, we are inclined to choose that excitement over quality time spent with old friends.

The problem is, when we consistently choose our new partner over our old friends, we are slowly driving a wedge between ourselves and our existing support system. It is perfectly normal to want to spend ample time with a new love interest for a week or two… maybe even a bit longer. But those who are already self-established and autonomous will know when and how to regain social balance. Those who lack a stable sense of self-identity, on the other hand, may have a much more difficult time distributing their time amongst old friends and their new flame.

2. Compromising your non-negotiables.

We all have a list of non-negotiables, though some of us may be far more lenient than others. Regardless of rigidity, it is healthy and normal to formulate a solid list of ideals when it comes to choosing a compatible mate. As well as ideals, there are those things that we simply will not tolerate. In many cases, these are the same across the board. For example, no one wants to be with a partner who becomes physically aggressive when angry. No one wants to be with a partner who refuses to get a job and become self-sufficient, or who winds up in jail on a regular basis.

When we know what we deserve, we refuse to settle for less. But for those of us with low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth, settling may come naturally. We might overlook glaring flaws, convincing ourselves that any positive attention is worth the inconvenience; that things are bound to get better… eventually. When we disregard our own standards (or when we fail to have standards at all), we are likely harboring a deep-seated fear. Perhaps it is a fear or rejection, or a fear of being alone – a fear that predominantly stems from unresolved wounds.

3. Changing personal interests to ‘fit the mold’.

One of the most crucial components of every healthy relationship is compromise. Say our new love interest loves horror films, while we prefer romantic comedies. In this case, compromise may look like going to see the new slasher flick in theatres one weekend, and renting a few good rom-coms for the next movie night in. This kind of compromise is healthy. In agreeing to see a horror movie, you are not sacrificing a major part of yourself – you are simply negotiating; expressing a mature willingness to try new things. Compromise, in this sense, is necessary.

However, compromising all of your own wants and needs in order to appease your new love interest is just the opposite of healthy. If you hate horror movies but pretend to love them in order to placate your partner, you are denying yourself the right to independence within the relationship. This type of behavior prevents you from forming an equal partnership, and disallows a vital expression of individuality. Knowing who you are and being true to yourself is vital to the overall functionality of the partnership.

4. Slacking on personal responsibilities and prior obligations.

Because that early relationship dopamine rush is so very appealing, we may forgo a few pre-existing obligations in order to spend as much time as possible with our new companion. Maybe we skip out on a family dinner, or call in sick to work so we can spend the day in bed, cuddling and watching movies. Once the excitement of the new fling begins to wear off, we will go about business as usual. For some, however, the urge to neglect prior obligations and personal responsibilities might linger. If it does, this inattention might stem from a place of unhealthy attachment rather than short-term infatuation.

Unhealthy attachment, like other early dating traps, is likely the result of unresolved fear (in this case, fear of being rejected or replaced). We make excessive amounts of time for our new partner because we fear that if we don’t, we will be abandoned or forgotten. When we are secure in ourselves and have a firm and realistic grasp of our own inherent worth, we will understand that a healthy, loving partner would never make us choose between our former commitments and a committed relationship.

5. Putting all of your eggs in one basket.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a long-term commitment to a romantic partner. However, this commitment often occurs mutually after a long period of companionship. Committing to someone right off the bat can be dangerous, seeing as this will make the possibility of dismissal all the more painful. When we get to know a new romantic prospect, we are essentially testing the waters – seeing if the potential for a long-term relationship exists; assessing compatibility, and exerting our own independence while practicing compromise and healthy communication. When we put all of our eggs in one basket right off the bat, we are setting ourselves up to be heartbroken. In placing so much emphasis on a new relationship, we are relying solely on someone else to live up to our expectations. And then if they don’t, we will either lower our expectations or force something that isn’t meant to be. After all, this is it. Isn’t it? We’ve got to make it work.

When we come from a place of emotional maturity, we understand that not every new relationship will end up working out in the long-term. Taking a realistic stance will help us to avoid unnecessary grief. However, we will only be able to view prospective relationships pragmatically if we understand our own value.

Knowing Your Worth

When we jump headfirst into a romantic relationship without first knowing our worth, we are liable to fall victim to fear of rejection. There is little room for fear in healthy relationships – when we are fearful, we are motivated by self-interest and insecurity. In order to be part of a mutually-beneficial and fulfilling relationship, we must first be secure in ourselves. And in order to be secure in ourselves, we must heal all existing wounds. It is important to note that we do not necessarily need to heal pre-existing wounds before entering a relationship – we must simply become aware of them. This is crucial, because old wounds are bound to rise to the surface eventually; especially when we feel emotionally triggered.

Becoming aware of everything that we bring to a new relationship will help us determine what work we still need to do on ourselves. The early stages of a new romance are thrilling – and they’re supposed to be! But if we find that we are consistently sacrificing bits of ourselves, and struggling to maintain a healthy balance in other areas of our lives, we may need to take a deeper look at what is motivating our desire for closeness. If we find that our actions are driven by fear and insecurity… we’ve still got a bit of healing to do.

Addiction Specialist & Imago Therapist , Relationship Institute Of Palm Beach

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He had a tough day at work. He comes back home, exhausted and slightly frustrated because he had to drive a long way back home amidst heavy traffic. He reaches home. As he is about to ring the doorbell, he smiles. He visualises his better half opening the door with a smile. A smile that has the capability to reduce, if not erase the stress. Instead, when the door is opened, he finds a tired looking woman in front of his eyes. No smile, dishevelled hair. He is disappointed but he accepts that she is a human, too. She must have had a rough day as well. He enters the house. She brings him a glass of water and attempts to smile because she knows he likes it but he is not seeing her smile now; he is irked by her body odour, she is sweating. He tries to convince himself that she must have not gotten the time to freshen up. He gets up and walks to the bedroom. He freshens up, comes back to the living room and switches on the television. He is not in a mood to start a conversation. It is dinner time, the dinner is arranged on the dining table, while she is serving him dinner, he attempts to start a conversation. She replies in monosyllables. He gives up and has dinner in silence. He finishes and walks to the kitchen, does the dishes, he always does it. She joins him in the kitchen and does her part. He looks at her, she looks beautiful despite how untidy she is. She goes to the bedroom; he decides to watch news before joining her. He goes to the bedroom after some time. He tries to get close to her, she does not play along. He is angered. He turns around and tries to sleep.

II

She had a tough day at work. She reaches home slightly earlier than him, but she is exhausted and sweating. The drop from office is God sent but that does not mean no traffic. She enters the house, empty house. She collapses on the couch but gets up immediately because she needs to tidy the house and prepare dinner before he comes. She changes her clothes; she wants to freshen up but decides to postpone it for a while. She tidies the house. She starts with dinner preparations. The doorbell rings right at the moment when she is making vegetable. She opens the door and rushes back to the kitchen in time to save the vegetable from getting burnt. She goes back with a glass of water; she tries to smile because she knows he likes to see her like that. However, he is not paying attention to her smile now. She realizes that she is sweating and perhaps stinking. She is disappointed. She understands that he needs to see her smile. He has told her so many times that her smile makes him feel good about life. He has never liked the stench of sweat on her, she does not blame him; in his shoes perhaps, she would have not liked that as well. He goes to the bedroom to freshen up. She prepares dinner. He watches television. She takes a quick shower, sprays deodorant.

He is still watching television. She then arranges dinner on dining table, he comes and sits. He does not notice that she has freshened up. She is hurt. He tries to start a conversation. She is too hurt to speak; he gives up right at the time when she decides to give in. She wants to know how his day was. She hopes he would ask her how her day was. He finishes dinner in silence and so does she. He does the dishes. She does her part. She sees him watching her. She finishes the work and goes to the bedroom; she looks in the mirror and smiles. She washes her face and neck again, especially behind the ear. She knows he likes to kiss her there. She climbs into bed and waits for him. He does not come. He is watching television. She tries to sleep. He comes to the room and kisses her behind the ear, slowly moving towards her neck. By this time, she is angered. She feels like a sex object. She does not respond. He stops, turns around and tries to sleep. She is on the verge of crying.

Such little things often happen especially when the couple is newly married. Whose fault it is in this scenario? Who would take the initiative to correct the errors and misunderstandings? These and many more similar questions still remain to be answered. What's your take on this?

To trust someone after being betrayed once becomes difficult. Trusting the same person again seems almost impossible and in addition to that we often find ourselves unable to trust anyone easily. We are humans and we tend to protect ourselves from being hurt again, we tend to envelope ourselves into a vacuum we create to keep people out of the full trust zone and hide our vulnerable self from the world. In doing so we end up pushing away the people who really care for us and those who are actually worth being trusted.

A broken heart takes time to heal. And, unless and until it is completely healed; it would be difficult to move on.

There are different kinds of people in this world -

1. People who do not trust anyone.

2. People who do not trust easily and even when they do trust someone, they keep check of the trust level.

3. People who do not trust easily but when they do, they trust completely.

4. People who trust very easily and trust completely.

The last group of people are more susceptible to being betrayed, that does not mean that the other three groups remain untouched by betrayal.

Where there is trust, there always is a risk of betrayal. And once it happens, there is ought to be pain and lingering doubt. It stays there somewhere at the back of your mind, how much ever hard you try to get rid of the thought.

How do we save ourselves from betrayal? How do we know whom to trust? Would we find the answers in some book? No self-help book or article is really going to answer these questions for you. Search for the answers within.

The second group of people who keep check of the trust level actually activate their instincts, which guide them in trusting the right kind of people and to the right extent. It is only when doubt arises, the instinct fails and they are exposed to being betrayed.

There always is a voice at the back of your mind telling you that trusting a particular person in particular circumstances and with a particular matter is not a good thing to do, it involves risk and it is important for you to be alert. Always heed to that voice.

Once betrayed does not mean that you should not trust again. We must not only continue putting our trust in other people, we must also learn to trust again the person who has betrayed you once. That is, if that person is an essential part of your life. Either on a personal front or a professional front. You have to trust yourself to be capable enough to trust that person. You must trust your instincts to guide you appropriately.

We are often betrayed by those whom we trust and we trust those who mean a lot in our life. Letting them go is not always the option and is not always easy. When letting go is the choice you can make, you are better off without the negative influence in your life. However, when the concerned person is someone from your close circle, letting go is not really a option. We must learn to survive against the negative influence.

Healing your broken heart does not necessarily mean getting rid of the lesson learned from the betrayal of the past. It simply means moving on, in a way that helps to get rid of the negativity attached to the betrayal. The more we think about it, the more we talk about it, the more pain we feel.

To start the healing process, it is essential to detach yourself from the pain. First and foremost, step is to stop thinking about it. It is equally important to stop talking about it. Stop telling others how you have been betrayed by someone and how much hurt it has caused you. Each time you re-live the betrayal, you are allowing the negativity to gain control of your thoughts. And by doing so you are blocking the positivity that would sharpen your instinct and guide you in future.

Second step of the healing process is to forgive the person who has betrayed you. Whether the person is deserving or not deserving is another matter altogether. Forgive the person for yourself, for your peace of mind. You cannot move on without forgiving the person who is the cause of the pain. You need not forget the lesson the person has taught you. Forgiving the person will help you get rid of a lot of negativity that feels likes a heavy weight on your chest. It will clear your mind and make you alert, sharpening your instinct.

The third step of healing process is to open your heart to all the positivity life has to offer. Imbibe as much positivity as you can. Look around you, there are people in your life who are worth being trusted. People who really care about you. People who want you to be happy. People who have positive influence in your life. Spend time with them, share with them and learn from them. Bathe in their love and positivity.

The final step of healing process is to start trusting again. Open your mind to new opportunities... to future. Free yourself from the bondage of doubt and believe in your strength - your instinct.

May your heart be healed.

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