When it comes to serious relationships, I have learned a lot through both my own experience and the experiences of others, and I am passionate about sharing what I have learned with other girls going through similar situations. Every relationship is different, but if you are reading this and experiencing any of these five things, it may be time to take a step back, talk with your significant other, and seriously consider the health of your relationship.
1. If he takes away your independence.
I understand the importance of being there for him, but there needs to be a balance. You shouldn’t feel like you can’t hang out with your girlfriends or have time for yourself because you need to be spending all of your free time with him. Especially if you have always been an independent person, this shouldn’t change because you are in a serious relationship. I have yet to experience this for myself, but I do believe it is possible to be committed, but still be very independent.
2. If he says that you are the only one that can help.
Your relationship is primarily between you and him, but you need to invite others in too. A relationship requires community. You need to have people outside of him that you can talk to and rely on, and so does he. He needs to have people outside of you that can help him and make him happy. The pressure of being the only one in the world that can help him can be debilitating.
3. If he requires more of you than you are willing or capable to give.
This can encompass a number of things: If he requires being taken care of in ways that are way too time consuming, or unhealthy mentally for you. If he requires physical affection that crosses your boundaries. If he requires that you sacrifice your friends, your family, your passions, or your health for him. Even in a serious relationship, and especially at a college-age, it is still very important to put your own wellbeing and values before anyone else's. In fact, you can’t take care of someone else anyway if you are not taking care of yourself.
4. If your family or close friends say he is not right for you.
Your family and close friends know you best. They have watched you grow and develop your entire life, and they have witnessed firsthand the years that went into making you the person you are today. In a serious relationship, your partner may tell you otherwise, telling you that he knows you best. Even though your boyfriend may be the person closest to you right now, he should not be the person that knows you better than the people that raised you, no matter how long you have been together.
5. If you find yourself straying from your roots.
Your partner should challenge you and help you grow into a better person. He should encourage you in pursuing your goals, and help you become the person you were made to be. However, if through this process, he is telling you to change the things you grew up on, the roots and the values you were born and raised into, this is not okay. I have learned that sticking to the roots you grew up on are vital. Nobody should make you change those things about yourself, nobody. They are a part of what makes you, you.
When you are in a serious relationship, it is easy and sometimes inevitable to become blind to the red flags happening, and not to listen to the people around you giving you advice. Even if you are experiencing any of these five things in your relationship, you may still try and justify it somehow and convince yourself that everything is okay. It may be easier to ignore the signs right now, because trying to do something about it will be extremely difficult, it may be the hardest thing you have ever done. I encourage you to have faith, and to do it anyways. Your actions to do something now may save you from the pain, anger and brokenness down the road.
Have courage and stand up for your own wellbeing and happiness, because you are worth it.