I know most people have been in this situation; you meet a partner who seems perfect but has red flags. Although you are aware of these issues, you continue to pursue the relationship. Eventually, we all need to stop settling for people who don’t meet our standards because of certain traits they have. 2021 should be the year you start valuing yourself more and taking nothing less than you desire.
My taste in men is… questionable. In every relationship, I’ve had to compromise on something – my feminist ideals, my self-esteem, my opinions, or my privacy. However, I was happy to do so as my partners seemed to have redeemable qualities apart from their persistent red flags.
Recently I started dating someone new after two years of being single. When we first met, I was surprised how quickly we connected. We joked among ourselves and could talk about any subject without getting bored. He knew all the songs on my playlists, and I found that fascinating because I have versatile musical taste.
Plus, because of my sketchy past with guys, I was amazed that anyone could be a feminist—and proud to boot. Most of my former partners either refused to admit they were feminists or identified as centrists. But my current partner and I are on the same page – we both despise capitalism, patriarchy and gender roles.
I used to constantly settle down to avoid being alone, but I’ve learned now that it will only make you feel worse. Here are some tips on how to know your worth and find people who will make you the best person you can be, as well as finding balance in relationships.
I am generally a confident person, but relationships generally make me more insecure. I easily get jealous and start doubting that I’m good enough for my partner. However, when the right person shows up, they will reassure you that you are perfect just the way you are. A red flag is your partner telling you how you could improve. While none of us are perfect, your partner shouldn’t choose which parts of you they like. Be confident in your appearance and your abilities. Remember that you are yourself and you don’t need anyone else to complete you.
A problem many people have in relationships is developing and maintaining trust. Two girls were flirting with my partner and it bothered me a bit. Instead of gaslighting me and telling me it was okay, my partner purposely blocked them and stopped talking to them. Small gestures like these are clear signs of a healthy relationship.
In past relationships, I let go of problems without communicating, because I didn’t think it was worth it, or I convinced myself that I was wrong. This is ultimately harmful and will not benefit anyone. Trust yourself and your thoughts. Stand firm when you have an opinion and communicate with your partner about whatever is bothering you.
ignore the rules
The rules on relationships are arbitrary. Each person or situation is unique. When I first started dating my current partner, I found myself looking up things online like, “Am I hanging out with my boyfriend too much?” or “When is the best time to say I love you?”
Stop worrying about what other people think of your relationship. Whether you’re concerned about aspects of the relationship like sex, your time together, or the big “L” word, you don’t need anyone else’s approval to make decisions. Do what works for you and don’t worry about what other people think.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t consult different opinions – if you feel something is wrong, you should tell a friend or ask the internet. However, remember that every relationship is different and there is no right answer.
Identify your values and stick to them
Too often I put red flags aside because I valued other aspects of the relationship, like how my partner made me feel, or what other traits they brought to the table. However, this is just a recipe for disaster. If you and your partner don’t basically agree on the same things, you’re not compatible. Although it may sound silly, I first ask all potential partners what their political views are. I would never be in a relationship with a Republican or someone who doesn’t care or even believes in feminism. By verifying my future partners, not only do I value myself and the things I believe in, but it also allows me to build relationships with people who share the same values as me.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reverse all of your trauma on the first date. But be sure to bring up your concerns and “must haves” in relationships. For example, if you care about the environment and your date is an avid consumer who doesn’t believe in climate change, you probably shouldn’t schedule a second date.
Communicate about everything
In past relationships, I’ve been silent about things my partner did that bothered me because I was afraid he wasn’t validating my feelings. However, this will only erode any trust or communication in your relationship. Instead, talk about what bothers you. I find it hard to open up because of my past relationships, but now I feel comfortable saying anything, and my partner reassures me and listens to what I have to say.
Understand that arguments and conflicts can be hard to deal with right now, but overcoming them will make your relationship stronger.
All in all, I’m so lucky to have found such a caring and caring partner. Thanks to him, I learned to never settle and to always know my worth.