contributed by Alison Thalhammer
Have you ever wanted to tell a friend that you absolutely hate their boyfriend? Or, even worse, their fiance? Or maybe your friend (or family member) has told you they don’t think your boyfriend is good enough for you… or that he doesn’t treat you right…
What was your response? You probably got defensive, right? Got angry at her for insulting your relationship and stuck up for him (even if deep down you knew you shouldn’t)… only to end up breaking up with the guy for the exact reason your friend tried to warn you about? And then you either lose her as a friend because you’re too stubborn to admit you were wrong… or you have to crawl back with your tail between your legs and apologize to her for shunning her good advice.
It’s a tough task to tell someone that the person they “love“ is a jerk. And even harder to hear. But, this situation happens all the time. It’s the case of the “dating blinders.” When we’re in a relationship, we tend to only see the good. Which is a great thing most of the time. It’s a sign of optimistic thinking and a positive outlook. However, it prevents us from seeing things that others, outside the relationship, are able to witness clearly.
If YOU’RE The One in an Unhealthy Relationship
Unfortunately, there are times that we aren’t blinded by love. Something else is keeping us in an unhealthy relationship. Maybe we’re hesitant to end it for some reason. We might be scared to be alone or are trying to avoid getting back into the dating scene. Maybe we’re settling for less than we deserve because we’re not sure if we’ll find someone better. We make excuses for our mate’s inappropriate behavior. We lower our standards and allow things to slide that we normally wouldn’t.
This is when our “dating blinders” need to come off. The time to step outside the relationship and look at it from an unbiased perspective. Through the eyes of that friend who hates your boyfriend… and find out why she feels that way.
How should you interpret criticisms about your own relationship?
1. Don’t get defensive. Even though it is usually our natural reaction, try to avoid being emotional. Emotions can often cloud our judgments.
2. Listen. Let them voice their opinions. They’ve obviously chosen to talk to you about this for a reason.
3. Consider rationally. Really think about their concerns. Does what they’re saying have any truth to it? Assess the situation from their eyes.
Face It… No one wants to hear it, but who really wants to be the one to say it? No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. It’s difficult to tell a friend something you know she will probably resent you for. That’s why we often don’t speak up to our friends when they’re dating a loser. It’s easier to let them figure it out themselves and avoid being the bad guy.
So, if a friend or family member does speak up to you, there could very well be some value in what they’re saying.
When should you disregard a friend’s warnings about your relationship?
1. Jealous Friends. Misery loves company. Sometimes single friends miss having you as their single companion. They may (perhaps subconsciously) want you to ditch your guy so they can have you all to themselves once again.
2. Self Interest. If a friend has been involved with this guy before or was interested in him previously, it could be a case of “if I can’t have him, neither can you.”
But, it’s important to stress that these circumstances are exceptions to the rule. For the most part, a warning about a mate isn’t for your friend’s benefit. More than likely, they have your best interest at heart.
How do you know when to speak up and tell a friend about their bad boyfriend?
It’s a hard decision. Should you speak up and risk having your friend disagree with you and resent you for badmouthing their boyfriend? Or do you keep your mouth shut and hope they realize it on their own?
In the end, it’s your call. But, some examples of when to SAY SOMETHING include:
1. Abuse. If he is physically or verbally abusive. You must say something.
2. Cheating. If you know he has been unfaithful, you need to speak up.
3. Engagement. If they’ve taken it to a more serious level and you truly feel that this guy is wrong for her, speak up before she makes a huge mistake.
It may hurt initially, to hear it or to say it, but in the long run we have to trust our gut and our instincts. We want the best for ourselves and the people we love. And, sometimes, that means facing hard facts. Our friends and family should like the person we’re dating. And we deserve a guy that respects us, treats us right, and sweeps us off our feet. And the guy that does that not only steals our hearts, but also wins over our family and friends.