Blind love is likely at the root of all toxic relationships, and it is not the way to choose a partner or spouse. With the divorce rate over 50 percent, too many are apparently making a serious mistake in deciding who to spend the rest of their life with. Here are practical tools for keeping your eyes wide open, and avoid becoming a “statistic”. Internalizing these things will help us all avoid getting caught up in a toxic relationship with a narcopath.
7 Insights To Internalize:
1. You pick the wrong person because you expect him/her to change after you’re married.
The classic mistake. Never marry potential. The golden rule is, if you can’t be happy with the person the way he or she is now, don’t get married. As a colleague of mine so wisely put it, “You actually can expect people to change after they’re married… for the worse!”
So when it comes to the other person’s spirituality, character, personal hygiene, communication skills, and personal habits, make sure you can live with these as they are now.
2. You pick the wrong person because you focus more on chemistry than on character.
Chemistry ignites the fire, but good character keeps it burning. Beware of the “I’m in love” syndrome. “I’m in love” often means, “I’m in lust.” Attraction is there, but have you carefully checked out this person’s character?
Here are four character traits to definitely check for:
Humility: Does this person believe that “doing the right thing” is more important than personal comfort?
Kindness: Does this person enjoy giving pleasure to other people? How does s/he treat people s/he doesn’t have to be nice to? Does s/he do volunteer work? Give charity?
Responsibility: Can I depend on this person to do what s/he says s/he’s going to do?
Happiness: Does this person like himself? Does s/he enjoy life? Is s/he emotionally stable?
Ask yourself: Do I want to be more like this person? Do I want to have a child with this person? Would I like my child to turn out like him or her?
3. You choose the wrong person because you get intimately involved too quickly.
Intimacy before the commitment of marriage can be a big problem because it often precludes a fully honest exploration of important issues. Physical involvement tends to cloud one’s mind. And a clouded mind is not inclined to make good decisions.
It is not necessary to take a “test drive” in order to find out if a couple is physically compatible. If you do your homework and make sure you are intellectually and emotionally compatible, you don’t have to worry about it. Of all the studies done on divorce, incompatibility in the intimate arena is almost never cited as a main reason why people divorce.
4. You pick the wrong person because you do not have a deeper emotional connection with this person.
To evaluate whether you have a deeper emotional connection or not, ask: “Do I respect and admire this person?” This does not mean, “Am I impressed by this person?” We are impressed by a Mercedes. We do not respect someone because they own a Mercedes. You should be impressed by qualities of creativity, loyalty, determination, etc.
Also ask: “Do I trust this person?” This also means, “Is he/she emotionally stable? Do I feel I can rely on him/her?
5. You pick the wrong person because you choose someone with whom you don’t feel emotionally safe.
Ask yourself the following questions: Do I feel calm, peaceful and relaxed with this person? Can I fully be myself and express myself with this person? Does this person make me feel good about myself? Do you have a really close friend who does make you feel this way? Make sure the person you marry makes you feel the same way!
Are you afraid of this person in any way? You should not feel you need to monitor what you say because you are afraid of how the other person will view it. If you’re afraid to express your feelings and opinions openly, there’s a problem with the relationship.
Be on the look out for someone who is always trying to change you.
Another aspect of feeling safe is that you don’t feel the other person is trying to control you. Controlling behaviors are a sign of an abusive person. Be on the look out for someone who is always trying to change you. There’s a big difference between “controlling” and “making suggestions.” A suggestion is made for your benefit; a control statement is made for their benefit.
6. You pick the wrong person because you use the relationship to escape from personal problems and unhappiness.
If you are unhappy and single, you’ll probably be unhappy and married, too. Marriage does not fix personal, psychological and emotional problems. If anything, marriage will exacerbate them. If you are not happy with yourself and your life, take responsibility to fix it now while you are single. You’ll feel better, and your future spouse will thank you.
7. You pick the wrong person because he/she is still emotionally attached to an ex and now you’re involved in a triangle.
To be “triangulated” means a person is emotionally dependent on someone or something else while trying to develop another relationship. A person who hasn’t fully separated him/herself emotionally from a former partner is the classic example of triangulation. Does he/or she talk constantly about the horrible things his/her spouse has done? Does he/she constantly tell you how much their partner wants them back? Is the ex a re-occurring topic of conversation? Are you often asked to judge the behavior of someone you’ve never met? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then person cannot be fully emotionally available to you. You will not be their number one priority. And that’s no basis for a marriage.