A friend of mine sent the following quote to me today:
"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option." - Author Unknown.
This quote is stunningly perfect. I wish I had this in my 20s, although I might not have completely understood this as I do now. It truly sums up how many of us have felt in relationships when we have put the other person first over and over again and coming in maybe tenth with them in their lives. I don't think I need to elaborate too much on this statement, other than please remember to read this as many times as necessary when you find yourself here. Have it become your mantra and do not make excuses for why the person you are dating is not making you a priority.
We left off in the last article touching on excuses. Excuses, excuses, excuses! So you are dating someone and describing this person to your friend and begin to find yourself making excuses for their behavior. Something like "oh, but he had to shoot the gun and kill the puppy because he was peeing on the carpet too much" or perhaps "she needed to sleep with that other guy because she thought that I didn't want a commitment." All right, so the first example was ridiculous and absurd, but I am simply illustrating the lengths that we will go to in order to make excuses for someone's really awful behavior to our friends and family. The second example was something that a friend actually told me! I tried to bring my friend around to reason, but he wouldn't hear of it and eventually the pair broke up permanently because there was no trust left in the relationship (and she kept fooling around).
My friend kept making excuses for her bad behavior and kept trying to find an "out" for her in order to make it okay for him to keep seeing her. He needed to make it feel good to himself that he was still giving this woman a chance even though this was a huge deal breaker for him. He allowed his own boundary to be crossed and remained in the relationship.
Why do we make excuses for the people we date? I think somewhere deep inside ourselves we know the other person is not a fit for us, but we try to make the "square peg fit into a round hole." It's not a fit, but we try hard to shove it in there and make this relationship stick. Come hell or high water, this is going to fit!
Here is a good way to know if you are making excuses or if the behavior is something you could overlook and live with. The next time you begin explaining your partner's behavior to a friend, pretend your friend is telling this to you. What is your reaction? Do you tell your friend to walk away or do you tell her to stick with it and see what happens? Do you tell your friend that the writing is on the wall or that perhaps she should talk to her partner and forgive him? This exercise takes a tremendous amount of brutal honesty with yourself. There is no point in lying to yourself with any of these processes, because it will not get you where you want to be.
For years I made excuses for my partner. I was incredibly patient with the most ridiculous behavior displayed by what was supposed to be a grown man. When I finally decided that I was done making excuses, the relationship was over. And, the most important thing shifted inside of me that I was no longer going to make excuses for a man not being a grown up. It was time to take off the Peter Pan costume and show up in a relationship in an adult, caring, compassionate and nurturing manner. Once I got this, along with many other things, the type of men I dated (including the one I finally married) changed dramatically.
You do not have to live with half a partner. I believe you innately know what is right for you and what is not. Begin taking a loving stand for yourself and make it your mantra to attract someone just as wonderful as you are. Remember something very important, the partner you seek wants you in their life, just as much as you want them in your life. Did you get that? The relationship you are seeking, is seeking you.