If you haven’t paid attention to early signals, you could find yourself wishing you’d traded those rose-colored glasses for a pair of bi-focals.
Oh, isn’t the honeymoon period just the best? That fresh new love, everything is exciting, all of his quirks are so adorable. It’s easy to lose track of ourselves when we are diving into that delicious new partnership with someone special, someone who also finds us irresistible. The stars have aligned, what else matters? Still, those lovely rose-colored glasses that we all don when we find ourselves in this love-whirlwind can act as blinders to warning signs. Eventually that giddy newness relaxes into a more committed partnership, and if you haven’t paid attention to early signals, you could find yourself wishing you’d traded those rose-colored glasses for a pair of bi-focals.
Here are just a few biggies to look out for:
How Forgiving Are His Rose-Colored Glasses?
A former boyfriend of mine was late. All the time. Criminally late. Did-he-get-in-a-car-accident late. Frankly, even during the honeymoon period, this was not one of his ‘cuter’ quirks, but it was something I was willing to deal with. After all, once he finally showed up, we had a great time together. It didn’t take me long to notice, however, that I was not afforded the same lenience. If I wasn’t exactly where he thought I should be at the exact moment he thought I should be there, if I didn’t drop everything at his beck and call, there would be days of passive-aggressive sulking to deal with. This double-standard was just the beginning of many more inequalities to come. Yeah, that one didn’t last much longer than the honeymoon period. But the honeymoon was nice.
Is There Trust?
Sorry, but if he’s driving across town to make sure your car is in your driveway in the middle of the night, an important element in your new relationship is missing. One that, if it’s not initially there, probably won’t grow as the relationship continues. That element is trust. They say trust has to be earned, but if you enter into a relationship with someone, doesn’t that mean you admire and respect that person? Therefore haven’t you already, in essence, said to that person, I trust you? Think of all the stuff the two of you have been doing together! If that doesn’t imply trust, I don’t know what does. It shows a lack of respect when a partner, right off the bat, has no faith in the other partner’s word.
This is a slippery one, because there are good compromises and not so good ones. The warning sign consists of making sure you are not the one constantly making the compromises, and making sure that the compromises you are making are within your usual boundaries. A friend of mine, once married, was no longer allowed to play poker with a group of friends he’d been playing poker with for years. His new wife didn’t like him being around alcohol, although he didn’t have a problem (in fact, she was the one with the alcohol problem). My husband was horrified at this development, but as he and I looked back at the beginning of this new married couple’s relationship, we recalled several times our friend made sacrifices to avoid conflict with his partner. He never went home for the holidays because she was convinced his family didn’t like her. He had to sell his car because she couldn’t drive a manual transmission car. From the beginning, all the compromises were his, and he lost a lot of himself in the process. Do a reality check: are you maintaining your authentic self in your new relationship, or do you find yourself compromising time and again just to avoid conflict?
Thankfully there are also signs that you have landed in a healthy relationship:
One of the reasons I knew my husband was a keeper was that, even in the early stages of our relationship when all we really wanted to do was stare at each other, he had a life outside of me. He accepted that I had a life outside of him. Ten years later, that hasn’t changed. We love being together, but we have different hobbies, different interests, even different friends. When we do share something, a goal or a dream or a weekend getaway, this sense of individual identity we maintain makes the sharing even stronger.
Sociability As Well As Quiet Time Together
Do you and your new love find time outside of the constant romancing to get out and socialize with other people? Isolation, although fun for a while, is not healthy and can become a crutch. It’s better if you and your new partner can find pleasure in getting out there, as well as in the quiet (or not so quiet) time alone.
This is the most important sign that you are in the beginnings of a good relationship. For one thing, respect spawns a variety of other highly desirable elements: trust, confidence, faith, even humor. Not to mention that if your new partner shows respect for you, that is a clue that he respects himself. This is huge.
New relationships are terrifying and exhilarating and all in all, worth it. D.H. Lawrence once said something to the effect of “Do it, let yourself fall in love. If you don’t love, you are wasting your life.” John Lennon said “All you need is love.” All the warning signs in the world probably won’t stop you from giving into that first moment of loaded eye contact. The main thing to keep in mind, if you can get your mind to talk louder than your heart for a quick check-in, is to make sure you are truly feeling good in this new relationship. You have to learn to love yourself first, and that means taking care to respect yourself.