Let’s talk about an uncomfortable subject. STD’s. Emotional STD’s. STD = Sexually Transmitted Delusions. The delusions we get when we were are so infatuated with a person that we fail to see what is really happening in the relationship. The things we choose to try to ignore and hope it is nothing.
1. Honeymoon Thinking
“It will get better. He only lies/cheats/steals sometimes, BUT most of the time he is super great. He will change once he is not so stressed.” That honeymoon thinking is an ongoing major issue. Like Herpes, it goes in cycles. At times everything is normal and you don’t even think about the issue, but it always shows back up. At the very least, it lingers in your mind that it could pop up at any moment. That is exhausting and completely unhealthy in a relationship.
Treatment: Daily dose of reality.
Every day you need a reminder of why you should end this relationship and move forward. Think of it like needing a daily pill to keep the “flare ups” at bay. A good way to do this is to keep a journal. Write down all the times you feel terrible about what is happening in the relationship. Write down how much it is hurting you. Then when the honeymoon period returns and you are considering forgiving and forgetting, re-read what you wrote during those awful times. Read it every day to remind yourself that it will happen again and you deserve better.
2. False Trust
Misplaced Trust in a relationship is like syphilis in that, if ignored long enough, it could lead to much more serious issued. Like actual STD’s. If you get an indication that your partner should not be trusted, pay attention. It is not just emotionally damaging, but potentially physically and/or financially life altering. If your partner is cheating and you just pretend it does not happen, they could be putting your health at risk. If your partner steals your identity to bank roll their life, you could end up being in serious debt you did not create, or even possibly have to end up in bankruptcy. Things like shady criminal behavior you could be become sucked into or finding out the person you have spent years with has been manipulating you to their advantage are things that can take a lifetime to come back from. It is best to try to catch these things ahead of time if possible.
Treatment: Ask the hard questions and follow your gut.
If something feels wrong to you, trust your gut. It could be something tiny that could be addressed and move on, or it could be a relationship ender. No matter how much you care about this person, if their actions are going to damage your life, then you have to be willing to choose yourself. They are obviously choosing to meet their needs over yours. When you get bad vibes it is time to start asking hard questions. If their answers don’t add up or you just feel uneasy still about what they have to say, it is probably best to err on the side of caution and start creating some distance.
3. Temporary Blindness
If your significant other still lives in their parents’ basement and still thinks they can be a professional video gamer at 34, there is a good chance they will never be financially able to support you. Do not be blind to a person’s flaws because they have rugged good looks or they are a blast to go out to do things with. Most people are not completely awful and have at least a few good things about them. It does not mean you should stay with these people. Really think about if this person is what you want. Do not be scared to be alone and hold out for something that is actually right for you. There are too many people in this world for everyone to settle for less than great.
Treatment: Be objective and look at the facts.
What do you want from a partner? Can this person really provide that for you? Look at the situation as strictly factual. What would you do if it was your sister or best friend in the same situation? If your advice to someone else would be to move on, then follow your own advice. Do not let one or two redeeming factors make you blind to the fact that your partner is not going to meet your needs. You do not want to end up married to the person before it dawns on you. Then it would be impossible to be easily take care of, like the new super gonorrhea. Prevention is always better.
4. Believing in the Big Change
We all want to believe the person we are with is capable of addressing all their bad behaviors. I believe people are truly capable of change, but they have to be the one who wants to change. You wanting it for them or telling them they have to is not going to result in a permanent change, in my opinion. If your partner has not expressed their desire to change whatever behavior that is intolerable, and also shown no real action toward the change, then it probably is not going to happen. At least not right now. It will be up to you how long you are willing to wait to see if the person is ever going to actually change.
Treatment: Set measurable expectations and if they fail…
Like Chlamydia, this is very common and can also be easily treated once the person realizes what it is. I have two pieces of advice on dealing with this. First, set a time frame of how long you are willing to give the person to change. Stick to the time frame. Second, set measurable expectations and when the person fails to meet them then there are no more eighth, ninth, tenth chances. If a person stays out all night drinking with their buddies, make it clear that you are not okay with it. Decide that if it is still happening in a month then you are done with the relationship. Explain to the person that if they choose to do it again then you can no longer spend your life with them. If they make the choice to continue, then they chose for the relationship to end.
5. The “everyone deals with…”
We all know that no relationship is perfect. They all have some flaws and things that could be improved. Most people, if not everyone, has something they would love to change. However, not everyone is dealing with the same level of issues. Some things like a person refusing to do more housework is not the same as you being in a relationship with someone who constantly puts you down and belittles your needs. Some issues can be dealt with while others are deal breakers. This is the most common emotional “STD” and many people go through feeling like they should stay with someone because “everyone deals with something”. A line has to be drawn. It needs to be drawn when you are not being respected or your happiness is not being considered.
Treatment: Time and some real self-honesty.
Unfortunately, the only treatment for this is time. Time will bring everything to light. Things that may seem acceptable at first will start to wear on you after some time. Time will tell if something you assume everyone has to deal with is something that you can deal with. You will need to be very honest with yourself about what you need to be happy. Being in a relationship is about give and take. If one person does not find it important to ensure the other party is satisfied with the way things are then there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Are you suffering from one of these emotional STD’s or know something who is? If so, make sure you consider the treatment recommended. Also, make sure to comment and share your thoughts!