Valentine’s Day still lingers in the air – but if you’re a person who isn’t in a relationship, it’s okay to close your curtains and shield your eyes from all the overly affectionate couples out there. And this may be especially true for men, as entering the dating scene isn’t exactly easy, especially if it’s your first time. Red flags are something you want to avoid as much as possible as they could hurt you, especially if you aren’t prepared for them.
If this is your first relationship and you’re navigating this unknown territory blindly, here are a few things to keep an eye out for. Though this is mostly for men, that doesn’t mean women can’t pick up any valuable information from it too. So grab some tea and check out if these red flags are present in your relationship.
Codependency Or Toxic Independence
Oftentimes, if you like someone, you’ll do everything to get to know them and become close with them, and they’ll do the same if they like you back. When you are dating, you may know your partner very well already and might not feel the need to get to know them more; what you need to do now is find ways of maintaining that connection you had. At times, you can be the one constantly initiating conversations or plans that can help improve your relationship.
However, if you notice that your partner can’t seem to be bothered to send a simple message or even interact with you, it can mean one of three things. First, they may have lost interest or might not be interested in the relationship at all, which is gut-wrenching to say the least. Secondly, if you feel this way, you may be codependent on your partner and constantly relying on their affection, which is also bad and worse if the former is true. Solely relying on one’s respective partner is the worst, as it adds an extra, for lack of a better term, weight to their shoulders while stunting the emotional growth of the other. And third, they are too independent to the point of toxicity. At times, standing on your own is great, but too much of it will alienate your partner, defeating the purpose of entering a relationship in the first place.
One piece of advice is to not give your entire being to that one person – you are an individual, and so are they. It’s okay to be attached, but don’t revolve your life around them, as the fall may hurt a lot more than it should. And if you are too independent, allow those brief moments of vulnerability for your partner; they want a person, not a statue. You may try patching things up, but if there is no interest, then it’s best to rip the band-aid off.
This kind of thing goes hand-in-hand with commitment as a whole. It’s alright to back out of a plan if something comes up, but it’s best to start paying attention if you notice that your partner agrees to plans only for them to back out when the date is approaching. This goes back to the previous point: scheduling and planning aren’t easy, but if you always find yourself making plans only for your partner to flake – commitment issues are wack!
This can be detrimental to you as you may experience fatigue doing the same song and dance to no avail. This may also eventually lead to you giving up making plans entirely, which is also pretty bad. There’s a saying in Filipino that goes like this: “Kung ayaw, may dahilan; kung gusto, may paraan.” It essentially means that if they don’t want something, there’s always an excuse or a reason, but if they like something, they’ll do everything they can to find a way. Remember that a partner should help in looking for solutions to a problem, not be the cause of it.
Reciprocation Not Found
A relationship is a two-way street, no ifs, no buts. That’s the unwritten rule of dating and relationships as a whole. A couple should give each other a special kind of attention that no other person can give, which is why having your affections reciprocated is important. Your partner isn’t obligated to tend to your every need, and neither are you. But giving in return is only fair. This isn’t about expensive gifts or chocolates; it’s about responding to someone’s feelings in equal measure.
Situations and positions in life may differ, and some people simply can’t afford to give physical gifts, and that’s okay. But if you feel that you’re being neglected, talk to them. If what you’re feeling is true, and if they refuse to change, it’s best to move on and perhaps even find someone who can better appreciate your effort. Men, just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you should ALWAYS be the one adjusting; know the difference between a person who is shy, unsure, or anxious about a relationship and a person who shows no interest in committing to one. It takes two to tango; if they only care about themselves, then it’s best to let them dance alone. Know your worth.
Points To Digest
Just because some faint glimmer of similarity exists in your situation doesn’t mean you should jump the gun. Observe how things play out and, if possible, talk about them. If you really value this person, try to understand their situation better; if there’s a problem, try to work things out together. If it works out and they change, great! It’s okay if they fall back here and there as change is gradual; if they really care, they will make the effort. But if nothing has changed, even after a discussion, it’s best to leave as it might only get worse from there.
If you think your efforts are not being appreciated enough, it’s okay to look for someone who will. Breakups are hard; falling out of love is normal; what’s important is to heal and appreciate life. And most importantly, be kind to yourself. Don’t pin the blame exclusively on one person, and especially not on yourself.