It’s the month all about love, and although in recent years this has been changing, we often assume that romantic love is a great thing to be embraced, lived, and glorified. However, what may look like love on the surface can turn out to be anything but. Below are some of the most common scenarios I run into when working with clients, especially those end up with toxic and sometimes dangerous relationships.
It Isn’t Love When…you just can’t stop thinking about them, playing out the perfect fantasies in your mind about how it will be. Fantasies are all about control, because we get to dictate what happens, how it happens, and when and even where. This protects us from life showing up and throwing us curveballs…of others behaving in ways we didn’t prepare for or know what to do with.
It Isn’t Love When…You’re hesitant to bring them around friends and family. In isolation with your partner you can be so entranced that you don’t dwell on the small details, such as maybe they’re not divorced yet…or have three kids they don’t see or…keep losing jobs or…you get the point. The flashlight of those who care about you AND have objectivity (you, well – not so much) might be too much for you to bear, since it would probably mean pulling away from the new relationship.
It Isn’t Love When…They get upset when you don’t want to spend every evening with them, text all day and meld your life with them…after only three weeks of dating. This is control. All this love bombing only leads to possessiveness, jealousy and a prison of toxicity. Set limits with yourself by getting clear with the reality here, and getting back in touch with your healthier friends who can help you make a plan of escape. Often setting limits in a vacuum with this person will cause you to cave. If your loved ones aren’t privy to this you will be even more isolated and less confident to take care of yourself.
It Isn’t Love When…You start dismissing things you loved to do, aspects of yourself you used to be proud of, or assertiveness you worked so hard to come by – all because it makes your mate uncomfortable. Flashing warning sign: you WILL lose who you are in this relationship. No one worth your love would EVER want you or ask you to do this. In fact, healthy partners would be turned off by this codependent trait and may even walk away – needing someone more authentic.
It’s Love when each of you feels grounded, confident, and free to choose. Genuine Love embraces the truth, boundaries, and authenticity. It even fosters growth in these areas. So if you are offered one or more of these forms of “love”, it may be wise to rethink it regardless of how you feel, which may not be easy.