3. We Feel Confused:
We feel foggy. We wonder if things are what we think they are. We rationalize, make exceptions or excuses for their behavior and for how we feel. We change our ideas about what’s “okay”. We bend our idea of what a relationship “is” from what we thought before we met them.
When is “bad” bad enough to trust our gut and our feelings over their behavior?
4. We Feel Disconnected – Communication is Spotty or Painful:
We feel stupid and like we’re a bother for trying to talk with them. It’s rare we talk together about anything real. Conversation sticks on shallow or it’s only about household things. It’s texts that fizzle into emojis and arguments. We’re ignored – sometimes for days at a time. They blame us for why they won’t talk to us.
5. We Feel Shut Out – There Are “Mystery” People:
We feel compartmentalized. While we build the relationship we’re hitting roadblocks… in the form of attention they give to other people. They explain a person they message late at night as a “friend” or say, “she’s my sister” or an “ex” that won’t leave them alone. – But something seems wrong. We sense there are secret “others” or that we’re being kept a secret. Some block us from their social media, and rage if we post photos of us together.
How bad does it get before we gather the clarity and courage to go?
As bad as it needs to. It takes as long as it takes.
There’s nothing wrong with us.
6. We Feel at Arm’s Length:
We think we know them and their life, but we feel like somethings missing. We don’t really know all of it. We might not know where they live exactly or what they do for work exactly. There’s a pattern – even a pattern of uncertainty, or abrupt changes in the time we spend together.
We’re not sure where they drive off to when they leave us. We see him or her only late on Wednesdays and sometimes Friday night and only at our place. He talks about us getting married, but… it stays out of reach. – Or we live in different towns, or different countries.
7. We Feel Ganged-Up On:
We’re left hung out to dry. If arguments and conflicts come up they might side with others against us. Others in our family or theirs side with them against us. Their family or so-called friends sabotage our plans or our efforts to bring family together or to fix problems in the relationship. – We’re sucker-punched by it every time.
8. We Feel We’re Not on Solid Ground:
We feel sad, and stupid for wanting to know normal things like when they’ll be home. Or when we’re really going to meet. We suspect they aren’t where they say. They say it’s a meeting they’re running off too, but… They say they’re going out-of-town for work, but… She said it was a trip to see her mom, but… it feels off and we feel bad.
It’s like we’re constantly stepping out for the next stair and… nothing there.
9. We’re Not Fulfilled – Intimacy is Absent, Exaggerated, Forced or Conditional:
The bond doesn’t deepen as the days go by. We have sex… but it starts to feel impersonal, sad or bad and lonely. Or – They won’t have sex with us and they get mad if we try to heat things up. They tell us they can’t be intimate (for some reason) and that we want sex too much. Or they go overboard and sex is “too much” with them. Maybe they force us. Maybe they video us. – Maybe we’re pretty sure they’re doing it with someone else.
We feel despondent and desperate to please them in the absence of real intimacy. We start to substitute small things as signs of big closeness and as a sign that they do love us after all. – We start to think we’re super-loved by them when they do something super-small – like take the garbage out.
Tiny things take the place of intimate depth. We try harder, cook better, bake more, wash better, make more money, hurry faster, give again and again. This is normal. There’s nothing wrong with us. – Nothing changes except we feel more and more alone and sad and worthless.
We feel ashamed, hurt, isolated, alone when they come at us in sex on overdrive. Drugs might come it to cope with the sexual scenarios. We try to convince ourselves dominance and ropes or sex only on Wednesday afternoon’s, or only if we’re “good” is okay. – We try to convince ourselves that one thing they want to do… is okay – when really, we don’t like it and don’t want it. We feel stranded on an island of pain floating further and further away from love – and further and further from our life as we know or want it.
Sometimes the greatest lies are told in silence.