“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
The first question to ask yourself is whether or not you are a placeholder.
What does this mean?
It means you are keeping the spot warm while he waits for the next best thing. Yes, that sounds harsh, but when you are in it, it’s hard to recognize at first glance. If you have seen this as a problem that needs fixing, you are in the right place.
I tell my clients who struggle in relationships that they first need to find out who they are apart from the relationship.
The first person you love, should always be you.
If you feel you cannot live without someone, this is a problem. No person can be there for your every need, and if you think this is the case, you are sadly mistaken.
Every woman should be able to walk away from a relationship that she feels is not healthy and know she has plenty to offer the world.
So, if you feel you are a placeholder, ask yourself what makes you good enough, in fact fabulous, on your own. What do you have to offer the world and why are you okay with or without him?
Secondly, you should ask yourself why you are even in this position.
- What is going on with you internally that you feel at this point it is okay to be a placeholder to a man and not a priority?
- Are you even ready for a committed relationship, and if you are, are you struggling with a low sense of self worth or desperation?
This takes some soul searching but is definitely worth the effort.
After you have examined yourself and figured out who you are as a person, where you stand on your own and why you are attracting this type of relationship, it’s time to walk away.
This may not happen right away, but after doing your own work, I know you will come to the conclusion that this relationship has reached an end date.
You are worth more than this. No, I am not going to tell you to act mysterious or join his hobbies in an effort to become a priority to him.
Remember, if you can’t be uniquely you, you shouldn’t be with him.
So how do you create a space for a long term and loving relationship in your life?
First, figure out who you are, get rid of the toxic relationship, decide what you want, and settle for nothing less.
I tell my clients to write a list of non negotiable traits in a future partner. This is the list you will have to stick to.
Hopefully, by now you have learned from past mistakes and realize what is and isn’t acceptable in a future mate. The longer you give into non negotiable character flaws, the longer the wait in finding the right relationship for you.
Remember, nobody is perfect, but someone out there is perfect for you!
Shantala Boss, MS, LMHC, RPT – www.shantalaboss.com
If you find yourself in a situation in which you think, or know, that you are in the role of a placeholder, you will want to give yourself an opportunity to imagine what a great relationship would look like for you.
If you imagine game nights with friends, exploring different restaurants, or Sunday football games at your sister’s house then it’s okay to expect that.
Now, that’s not to say if you find someone who works on Sundays and can’t go to your sister’s that you have to end it, but maybe it does if that’s something that is important to you and could become problematic after a while.
But, if you are dating someone who doesn’t get along with you friends, never seems to want to go out in public together, or refuses to meet your family then it’s a good sign that you aren’t in the same place and an indicator that you probably don’t want to invest too much energy in the relationship.
In any relationship, and certainly in one where you are a placeholder, it’s important to think about whether this person mostly fills your cup or empties it.
Do you feel good after spending time together or do you feel drained or bad about yourself?
Maybe you really feel good when you spend time with this person, and it’s disappointing that you don’t necessarily have the same intentions for the relationship.
Can you honor that this is great for now and that it’s meeting certain needs and have some awareness around it and avoid putting any additional expectations on the relationship?
But, if you find yourself drained or disappointed after spending time with this person, then the relationship ultimately is not serving you, and it’s important to know that there is an impact to maintaining a relationship that only takes from your cup.
Ultimately, when we spend time with people or do things that fill our cup, then we can make decisions with more clarity and we can handle the challenges that present.
When that hard thing happens like a stressful day at work, a hard conversation, or a break up, we can handle it in a healthier way.
Lauren Hartz, MS, LPC – www.rootedandrisingtherapy.com
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