If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it…

If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it…

I can’t recall all the details about the relationships I have been in but some of the things I do remember I wish I could rather forget. I am happily married now and the way my husband treats me on a daily basis is showing me how wrong I have had it in the past few years. Everything I thought I knew regarding love, sex and dating was so far from the truth. I look at my dating history now and cringe. How could I put myself through that?

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I can think of about 3 relationships I have had with guys where things were just VERY VERY off. Stupidly, I told myself that I should just give it some time. I believed that things would get better and time was all we needed. I was so wrong!

In one of the bad relationships I remember meeting up on our little “dates”. I was so focused on the fact that we were starting to go on outings together in public that I completely overlooked the deliberate things the guy did to make sure it stayed an unofficial date… time after time. He kept saying that our relationship was meant to be a story untold until his dust has “settled” and because of his position in church he couldn’t rush the relationship.

Your first warning sign! If he has baggage that he hasn’t dealt with yet, GET OUT! This is not your problem, Lovely.

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All the signs were there that I needed to get out and get far away but instead I stayed. I tried to give it my all. “Only time will tell!”, I lied to myself. I stuck around and “saw the good” in a guy who only abused me. He broke me down emotionally and manipulated me. He used his mental illness as his weapon. It was his “get-out-of-jail-free” card for everything. And of course, I was to blame for it all. He often told me, “The way you react and behave isn’t strong enough to deal with my depression. You need to be better!”. And boy did i try! I tried for dear life! I was so focused on becoming better at dealing with someone with a mental illness that I forgot that I knew exactly how! My mom committed suicide when I was 12. My whole life I learned about mental illness and how to look out for it and show love and support. He got me so wrapped up in the lies that I really did believe that I was just not good enough and that I needed to do better.

Your second warning sign! His issues and faults are NOT yours, Lovely! You can only do so much but your partner has to step in and take responsibility for themselves.

Apart from the emotional bullying, I remember so clearly how he disrespected my body and what was mine. He would mock and make fun of who I was and when I’d ask him to stop he’d tell me that I’m boring and too serious. He would walk up to me in public, flick my boobs and yell out “tiete” as if my body was created for his amusement.

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As the relationship got older, things just got worse. I literally turned into someone’s personal call girl and of course, I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone about it. I was caught up in a one-sided relationship. I just gave, gave and gave and he just took, took and took. Some days I got a little bit of courage to speak my mind but I got shot down with more lies and blame.

The night I got out was one of the worst nights. I had to pick him up for an event we were supposed to go to together. I arrived at his house only to find out that I was called to pick up all of his friends and take them through to the event while he drove with a new friend who “didn’t know the way”.

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During the whole trip I told myself that I shouldn’t overreact. I tried to calm myself down and convinced myself that this was normal in a relationship. At the event, he called me aside and asked me to please buy us some food. Obviously with my money and not his. I stood in the queue alone while he was socialising. I walked over to him, he took his food, tapped me in the face and turned his back to me. I was dismissed.

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The very last bit of me broke that night. I had nothing left and strongly believed that this couldn’t get any worse. I was so so so very wrong! As I left the restroom at the event, the guy had his back towards me and obviously didn’t see me. I walked in on him making out with his new friend. The girl he drove with to the venue while I was playing taxi.

That night I wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole. It was one of the toughest things I have gone through and a topic I never really talk about, until today. It’s hard for me to share the story about this particular relationship because we still have mutual friends. Some of them know about what happened. Most of them don’t care… Most of them shrug his behaviour off and most of them will not stand up for the other girls. What saddens me is most of the girls won’t stand up either. Instead, I can see how they hide in the room when he is around…. just like me. Without anyone noticing, they hold their breath when he is near, they fix their eyes on something else so that they wouldn’t have to make eye-contact with him. This is not right. Lovely, if you are in a toxic relationship, get out. You deserve better!

There’s tons of  good about a HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. I have listed some of them below. If your relationship doesn’t have the following, what are you still doing in it?

1. Equality

In a healthy relationship, you and your partner should view each other as equals. One partner should not see themselves as “better” or “higher” in the relationship.

2. Respect

You and your partner should respect each other not only as partners, but as human beings and as unique individuals. This includes respecting each other’s personal dignity, wishes, and seeing value in each other.

3. Mutuality

Similar to equality, both partners in a healthy relationship direct the relationship as equals. Both of you should have say and input into the relationship and develop it together. No one person should be making all the decisions. Each partner has control in the relationship but is not controlling.

4. Communication

Communication is a key part of any relationship, but is especially important in intimate relationships. You and your partner should feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and feelings to each other. A couple in a healthy relationship may still have arguments, but they can either work these out through communication or agree to disagree in a constructive way.

5. Trust

Being able to trust your partner is key in a healthy relationship. Trust is established over the course of a relationship through showing consistency in words and actions. Trust in a relationship can be difficult, but it is extremely important.

6. Responsibility & Accountability

In a healthy relationship, each person should be responsible and accountable to the other person. This means taking responsibility and being accountable for their own actions and the consequences, and not placing the blame elsewhere. This can include owning up to and admitting mistakes.

7. Support

A good, healthy relationship should make you feel supported! Your partner should be there for you in tough times and vice versa. Couples in healthy relationships can support each other in the good times by offering encouragement and enthusiasm. Your relationship should encourage each of you to grow – separately and together.

8. Honesty

Honesty is super important in a healthy relationship! You can’t build a good foundation on lies.

9. Boundaries

While you and your partner obviously should enjoy spending time with each other, each of you should also lead independent lives. You should each spend time apart from each other and have friends. Maintaining your own friends and separate interests can be a form of having boundaries.

Additionally, with regard to physical involvement, you and your partner should be able to set boundaries with each other about what you’re both comfortable with and not comfortable with and these boundaries should be respected by all partners.

10. Non-threatening behavior

You should always feel safe in your relationship. You should never have to worry that your partner is going to intentionally harm you. Neither partner should try to maintain power and control over the other.

 

Lots of love

Leo

xox

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