I had been there for less than an hour before she showed up to quite literally drag me away (warning sign #3).
I forget what the excuse was, but it was some “togetherness” emergency – I had to go shopping with her for some trivial thing or other. In fact, that phrase – “I let her” – defined the majority of our relationship.
After the honeymoon period, where I was just astounded that I was having sex, our relationship became a matter of constant fighting, jealousy, guilt trips and having to justify myself on an almost daily basis.
Boundaries for dating
When I look back at my bad old days, there’re a number of things that stand out as emblematic of who I was – the fear of letting go of a bad relationship because I didn’t think I could do any better, being unable to relax and enjoy my time with one woman because I couldn’t stop looking for the shoe to drop… But there is one very specific night that, to my mind, was one of the most representative of how bad things were.
I had gotten permission from my girlfriend at the time (warning sign #1) to go play in a Mage campaign with my friends.
This was significant because my ex hated RPGs – she thought they were the stupidest things ever and couldn’t imagine anyone she dated wanting to play them.
She also didn’t care for them because it meant I was spending time with my friends and not with her (warning sign #2) – but this time she relented and .
Of course, this is emotionally shredding and deeply damaging to the person who is letting this happen.
At best, you have a codependent relationship – one partner needing constant control and validation while giving up any personal responsibility and the other trying to shoulder the entire burden of both parties as well as take blame for any faults as an exchange for having the relationship. well, you’re prey for users, manipulative assholes and emotional abusers.
It’s important to note: this isn’t exclusively a male or female problem.
I had few boundaries to speak of and even less self-esteem…
and I was willing to consider this treatment a fair price for being in a relationship. In fact, many people who are socially inexperienced – geeks and nerds especially – will have encountered all of these and more over the course of their relationships… Many will assume that these are just par for the course when it comes to relationships – platonic, romantic, or familial.
These situations are often a sign of having poor boundaries – the result of a mix of low self esteem and an unwillingness to take a stand for yourself.
Many people will cheerfully take advantage of those with weak boundaries; they look for people who are willing to put the well-being of others above and beyond their own in an effort to please others and make them like them.