When blinded by our infatuation (which can last anywhere on average from three months to two years), it’s impossible to look at our relationship objectively. We might dwell on their positive attributes at all times and make excuses for them when they behave badly.
We desperately want it to work out and cling to any glimmer of hope that things are heading in the right direction. When something looks like a bad sign, we might ignore it and place even more weight and significance on the good things.
Having an optimistic approach to dating isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It only becomes problematic when we can no longer see a situation for what it truly is and recognize when it’s time to walk away.
To help us get this clarity, here are five ways to know it’s time to move on:
1. Do they like who you are right now?
Does he accept you for who you are, or is he trying to change you? If he is constantly pointing out your flaws and faults, he doesn’t love you for who you are right now. Instead, he makes you feel like you’re not “good enough” and you become consumed with the desire to prove that you are. His validation makes you feel like you’re OK, like you are worthy of love. And his disapproval makes you feel like you need to work even harder to be worthy.
You have family and friends in your life who believe you’re freaking awesome. Listen to them rather than people who don’t truly know you. And be sure to find a solid sense of fulfillment and worth within yourself so that you don’t need to look to others to provide it.
2. Do they mistreat you but say they love you?
What are their actions over long periods of time? My grandfather taught me, “Don’t pay attention to what people say. Pay attention to what they do.”
In my experience, people say a lot depending on their views or emotions at that given time and place.
If they say they love you but don’t like spending time with you unless you’re doing them favors… they don’t value you as much as the loved ones you already have in your life.
Try to look at the entire picture, not just the bits and pieces that align with the outcome you’re hoping for.
3. Are you trying to convince them to love you more?
You feel like you’re the only one trying in the relationship. What happened to meeting each other in the middle?
When my dad and brother married, they said loving and marrying their wives was a very natural progression. They never had to perform for her or try to talk her into anything. The love and respect with their women was mutual and it blossomed naturally.
If you’re forcing anything, or if you give and give while they take and take, it’s a sign that this isn’t the right relationship. If it’s the right relationship, it will happen without any force. If you find yourself doing things in order to win his love, then he probably isn’t the right match for you.
I’m sure there are other people in your life who deeply love you. Can you make better use of your time and energy investing into their lives?
QUIZ: Does He Really Love Me?
4. Do they value your charm and physical beauty more than your character?
Our charm comes in spurts and our physical beauty fades. At the end of the day, does he truly “get” you? And do you truly “get” him? Does he see the real you and vice versa? Do you each appreciate who the other one is deep down, beyond the surface exterior? These questions help us discern “attraction to image” versus “attraction to person,” so answer them thoughtfully and honestly.
5. Is he or she looking for what’s next and better?
If they’re always looking for someone they think could be a better fit, or if they resist commitment or don’t want to be seen in public with you… that’s a clear sign to get out.
When it’s the right relationship, you will be on the same page and it will come together effortlessly. If you are the one chasing the relationship and trying to force him to feel a certain way, it means you aren’t on the same page and he probably isn’t the best match for you.
When I stopped asking myself, “Am I good enough for her?” or “Is she good enough for me?” and I instead began asking, “Are we a good fit?” my behavior toward relationships of all kinds changed drastically – and for the better.
I was in love once and only once, but things didn’t work out with her. Now my attitude is, “Until that comes again, I’ll stay in love with my family, my friends, my goals, and my life passions.” Adopting this attitude has resulted in my life being much, much richer.
Check out Lingerfelt’s book, The Mason Jar, a coming of age love story. The novel helps readers find healing after severed relationships and gives people hope to love again.
The Mason Jar movie is scheduled for pre-production in 2015 and will be directed in the same dramatic and romantic tones as The Notebook (2004) and Pride & Prejudice (2005). Follow him on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or subscribe to his email list for updates.