Gen Z Dating and RelationsHIPS

Don't shop for oranges in a hardware store

Our mind is all we have, it’s our one and only weapon, tool, savior, weatherer of storms, and prized possession. No one has the right to interject in it negatively.

Red flags will be waiving in our face and it feels like we keep retreating to this place where we think to ourselves: “If there are still good moments, why can’t I just focus on those? Why is it that there is constant confusion and uncertainty despite those good moments? Why am I still here waiting for a miracle or for him/her/they to change?”.

When walking into a hardware store to find something you want, would you keep picking the orange off the shelf and not the screw you were actually looking for? Same goes for seeking after partners, if faced with red flags, acknowledging that we’re perusing the wrong mate marketplace is necessary in leading us towards the one that will have what we’re looking for. Otherwise, during conflict and time spent together, your partner will keep handing you an orange when really what you’ve been asking for was a screw this whole time. That feeling will never subside.

As humans, we are wired for connection and survival. When we are approached with someone who enamors us, it is easy and natural to look past their faults in our desperate search for connection. When stress and anxiety become a part of the vision we have of the relationship, many of us think that this is a necessary part of surviving the struggles the relationship presents to us. However, I am here to tell you that is not the case. Conflict is normal in relationships, however, when your headspace starts to become negatively infiltrated, it is not. This infiltration occurs when you can’t stop obsessing over how confusing this person's behavior and language is and how your own feelings are not acknowledged and accepted. In these moments, the person is no longer a good tenant. Remember, bad is stronger than good.

Signs you should vacate the tenant:

  • Your friends and family hear the same story over and over again about how this person has upset you, confused you, misled you, provoked anxiety in you or made you feel like a victim.

  • Gaslighting: intended to light your headspace aflame, disorienting you and convincing you that you are the victim. This is common amongst cheaters and liars. The foundation at which gaslighting arises is when the gaslighter has lied about their behavior and diverts blame to alleviate their own misdeeds. The reason why this type of tenant should be vacated is because they are no longer committing to the relationship, lost all aspects of integrity, and stopped showing acknowledgment for the gaslightee’s feelings. Many gaslighters are proficient in showing physical and emotional affection to keep their victims in a standstill. They attempt to distract you with heightened moments of positivity like these so that you later question yourself for thinking their behavior was bad. An example of this hearing from them or being sent countless texts that you’ve been unfaithful and receive threats that your partner wants to end the relationship. The texts became a spiral where you turn into the victim and destructor of the relationship. Gaslighters don’t offer the benefit of the doubt, as in remembering that you’re not on your phone when out to dinner with your friends. Then, soon after the conflict, you come home to your partner and they display affection and spurts of kindness to deter your attention from their previous misbehavior. Ultimately, your gut feels like something is always off. Another example of this is bringing up a moment where you felt upset or insecure around your partner, and they respond “Why do you always bring this up?” “I can’t be with someone who always feels this way” “You” or “this is too much for me”. The most common symptom of being gaslighted is constantly feeling like you are in the wrong about them. You find your self using but "I love him" or "there are still good moments", "I could be asking for too much", "I need to work on my own insecurities" with your friends immediately after you describe the gaslightee's behavior.

  • The person is not excited or interested when you tell them about your day or dream job or goals you aspire to reach. They may show a glimpse of interest but it quickly diminishes. You find you are the only one being vulnerable and disclosing.

  • You find them only meeting you to hang out at night, after work, when they have time. You often go to see them. They stop going out of the way for the both of you to spend time together and do something you or the both of you like.

  • You are often unavailable for your friends, family and personal passions, taking your headspace hostage from authentic connections with others.

  • Inability to predict what tomorrow will look like with your partner.

Who can rent space and be a good tenant

  • You are authentically yourself and don’t second guess your own emotions, without interference in your friendships or workspace.

  • The stories you tell about them to friends and family are prevalently positive and exciting.

  • They get excited and interested with you when you tell them about dreams you have, job opportunities, or about the day you had.

  • You both do activities you know each other enjoy and have interest in, sometimes picking a movie you know is your partner’s favorite instead of your own.

  • The problem is seen external to the relationship. When in conflict, partners give each other the benefit of the doubt instead of diverting or projecting blame onto each other. Contemptuous remarks and silence is not a part of the equation, as the both of you actively seek out a solution by acknowledging each other’s perspectives.

  • No gaslighting occurs and you don’t feel guilty about expressing your feelings, thoughts, hopes for the relationship, and inspirations.

  • You are excited to see the person and you know they are excited to see you.

  • Example: I have been feeling like I don't get enough attention from you physically. Can we discuss how to make that happen so it works for the both of us?

Knowing you're in the wrong store or marketplace is essential in terminating your hope for someone to change or finally prove themselves to you.

Stay tuned for my next blog on "Acceptance: Leaving the waiting room for your partner to change".


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