At the beginning of a new relationship we may be so giddy and high from the chemical feelings that accompany new love that we aren't thinking clearly. But it's so important that we stay grounded and watch for signs that we are with someone that isn't truly capable of loving us… but more like putting us through grief and heartbreak.
1. During my parents marriage everything revolved around what my father wanted to do. He chose the trips, the meals, the homes purchased, the repairs done, the furniture bought, the vehicles driven, etc. My mother had zero voice in nearly forty years of marriage… if she tried to speak up and assert what she wanted, fits, pouting and passive aggressive behavior on his part like driving erratically in the car to intimidate her would ensue. I soon began to notice similar behaviors with the man I dated… he always pushed for the restaurant he wanted to eat at… he whined I had taken a trip and he would have liked to have gone… it was 99.9% of the time about what he wanted to do. A man who behaves like a man knows it's not all about him… that it takes two people to be considered a couple, to be in a relationship… and remembers that his partner should have a voice and decision making in what she wants as well.
2. My twelve year marriage was devoid of passion and chemistry. Many people who have been with narcissists and sociopaths have stated that the sex was passion filled. Perhaps some narcissists and sociopaths are skilled in the bedroom… my marriage was not one that fit that description. Our sex life was more comparable to my painful "going through the motions with crossed arms" and a "let's get this over with" type scenario. When you live like that for so long it can't be helped but to feel incredibly jipped… when one partner is more focused on their quick release(!) than actually taking the time for both people to enjoy the moment mutually. With someone new an all-consuming focus on sex may set off your radar and make you begin to cringe…if a future sex life appears to be his (or her) main focus, not just one of the many important elements that make up a relationship that's a red flag.
3. Empaths are guilty of being people pleasers, givers, ready to help to a fault and over extending themselves. They often find it difficult to set boundaries with people… especially those of a narcissistic nature as narc's are typically always takers and users. You can give, give all the day long and you will find yourself barely receiving anything in return… both partners should be giving… you can't have a fruitful relationship if only one person is watering the garden.
When it comes to dipping our feet back in the dating pool we can try to look at it from a positive viewpoint… yes, we will have bad days and wonder if we will ever meet someone healthy. But those of us who have been with narcissists and sociopaths we ourselves are a work in progress getting healthy… we are practicing setting boundaries and healthy expectations not only for ourselves but for the relationship and person we will one day marry. Realizing we are dating another narcissist is not the end of the world… disappointing? Without a doubt, yes. But with each person we are gaining strength and putting our knowledge to the test… we are looking for red flags and becoming better at pinpointing them sooner than before. We are becoming confident and less doubtful of signs we need to heed. And with each relationship we are one step closer to becoming the healthiest version of ourselves… so we can be ready to not just fall in love with someone amazing but most importantly… not lose ourselves doing it.
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