Life is too short and precious to stay in abusive and toxic relationships. Life has so much more to offer than chasing after people who don’t feel the same way you feel about them.
I think we have all been in relationships where the levels of commitment don’t quite seem to match up. The two of you have gone on a few dates, maybe jumped in bed together when your hormones got the better of you, but that’s kind of where it stayed.
You never go up to the next level.
There will be excuses, of course. He is always super busy with work. She has a lot of friend and family engagements all of a sudden. And no ladies, “he is just not a good texter” is a terrible excuse. If you often get short abrupt replies from him hours afterwards or, a lot of the time, not at all – you are not a priority to him. Walk away.
How do relationships turn bad and toxic? Easy. If one person’s wellbeing becomes more important than the other’s.
In one scenario where this occurs, a co-dependent dynamic is formed when one party is an eternal people pleaser (thereby sacrificing their own wellbeing and happiness for their partner), and the other party may be dealing with undealt childhood trauma of abandonment and feeling unloved. The hurt partner becomes utterly dependent on the people pleaser, but can start becoming controlling, manipulative and abusive if their needs are not met. Over time, their own wellbeing becomes more important than their partner’s.
In all of these scenarios the levels of commitment were a complete mismatch. The reasons are different but the result is the same: heartbreak and resentment.
However there is a simple solution to this problem. I call it the “Hell, yeah!” approach to relationships.
Wanna keep on seeing and hang out with that guy? If the answer is not a “Hell, yeah!” it is a “Hell, no!”
Want to go on a roadtrip with that girl? Hell, yeah!
Want to marry that guy? Again – if it is not a “Hell, yeah!” it is a “Hell, no!”
To make the Hell, yeah! approach to relationships work it has to go both ways. And this requires brutal honesty and some straight talking. Remember this is a simple solution. Not an easy or a comfortable solution.
Ask your partner straight up:
Do you want to be in a serious committed relationship with me?
Do you want to hang out together sometime next week and watch Netflix and chill?
Do you want to go on a trip to Thailand with me?
Do you want to marry me someday or is this as good as it is going to get?
I am going through a tough time at the moment – are you there for me? Will you help me?
If the answer is not a “Hell, yeah!” from both parties then it is a “Hell, no!” No lukewarm responses. No “I am really swamped with work” for the 10th time. No “I am just not ready for anything serious right now”. That is a “Hell, no!” and you walk away.
Now, some common sense is obviously needed here with this approach. I don’t propose throwing all inhibitions and senses out of the window and drop everything and follow the cute guy you met on a New Year’s party all around the world. A lot of the time “Hell, yeah!” also gets answered with an “I like you pretty much. Let’s see how it goes.” Also, don’t get angry and leave him if you propose a dream holiday for just the two of you, but he says no to support his mother who has level 4 terminal lung cancer.
Context is important. The key is that in certain circumstances and for the right reasons, the no’s will only be temporary. When it becomes the standard response over time, no matter the circumstances, that is when you say “Hell, no!” to the relationship.
Relationships are often difficult to navigate in stormy seas. But a lot of times it can be steered back to calmer waters by being brutally honest with each other and also with ourselves.