Sometimes you never saw heartbreak coming and other times, it’s easily avoidable. Some people are just plain toxic and there’s not much we can do but pick ourselves up when we are finally released from their clutches. The rest of the time, avoid the pain altogether by doing these things.
Be honest with yourself about your expectations. So much of the heartache we experience is partly our own doing. I know a ton of friends that have a bunch of Pinterest pages that they regularly update with photos of engagement rings, wedding dresses, the whole shebang. When I ask them if they want to get married soon, they deny it. Ladies, we’ve got to be honest about our expectations. That’s the only way we can make the kind of decisions that will get us the things we want. If you keep lying about what you want, you’ll keep choosing the wrong people and heartbreak is on the horizon.
Communicate your expectations and deal breakers. You know stereotypical relationship scenario: the guy just wants to have fun and the girl is ready to walk down the aisle and it all goes up in flames. These two people need to come clean about what each of them wants. Otherwise, they’re on a collision course. I know that a lot of women are scared that they’ll scare guys away by letting them know what they want and when they want it, but hiding your expectations in the hopes that your boyfriend might get on board down the line is a bad idea.
Be realistic. The pressure women face to achieve certain milestones by certain ages is too real. I can’t begin to tell you the number of bad relationships I’ve stayed in just because I had a deadline coming up. I’ve seen friends get married to the wrong guys just because they saw 30 approaching, and they lived to regret it. It’s OK to want what you want, but be flexible about when you get it. One thing’s for sure, the right thing with the wrong person at the right time could never make you happy.
Be willing to compromise. I hate to admit this, but some women take communicating their expectations too far. I’ve heard girls tell a guy that if he doesn’t propose within two years, they’re out. Look, I’m all about you getting what you want, but relationships aren’t about catering to one person wants. They involve two people and two different hopes and dreams. If you’re inflexible, that trait that will begin to chip away at your relationship and eventually break it, whether now or 20 years from now. Learn to compromise. I promise you that when you and your partner are on the same page, everything is sweeter (even though it might come a little later or earlier than you expected).
Put off having sex for as long as you can. I find a lot of heartbreak happens several months into a relationship because that’s when most people start to get to know each other well. The problem is that by that time, they’ve developed such strong feelings for each other and what should have been a simple uncoupling turns into significant heartbreak. I don’t believe that sex is a bad thing to introduce early on but I do think it clouds our judgment. Our bodies are biologically wired to attach us to a mate for life. Sex is one way it does that. If you can, put off having sex until you know a lot more about your boyfriend.
Purposely put yourself in stressful situations and see how he responds. I’m all about figuring things out early. Rather than wait for a significant life event to occur, I believe in putting a relationship through stressors. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic—maybe take a trip together early on and see how that goes or pick up a new hobby neither one of you is good at. I think that stress reveals a person’s inner character and that seeing this early on will help you make the right decision before you fall hard.
Have your friends and family vet your boyfriend earlier. I know a lot of us don’t want to keep introducing a string of guys to family and friends. It’s annoying when you break up and they keep asking about him. What I suggest is that you have a select group of family and friends and explain to them whoever you bring to them is on trial. Friends and family know you best and are great at picking up signs he may not be the real deal. Oh, and when they give their opinion, do yourself a favor and listen to it!
Don’t get swept away by the honeymoon period and rush into things. Sometimes things are better than we ever imagined. When this happens, it’s easy to get carried away, but this rarely results in a good result. There will always be bumps along the road. Don’t make big decisions based on a lengthy high. That low is coming, trust and believe.
Practice regular check-ins. It’s important to take the time to ask each other how you’re feeling about how things are going. You’d be surprised how many people can act like they care when they have emotionally checked out. I don’t know about you but I’m not big on being blindsided. So be brave and ask your boyfriend about how he feels about things and take his words at face value.
Leave when you realize you’re not on the same page. It’s simple. You deserve to be happy. If he doesn’t give you what you need, then you need to value yourself enough to walk away. It may be scary, but remember that love is waiting for you on the other side.
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