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The heart wants what the heart wants’, is usually said by the woman who has sent her life savings to someone she has only ever spoken to over the phone. While we can all shake our heads as we hear these stories, most of us have fallen head over heels with someone who was not good for us.

Why are we so careless with our hearts?

In our rush to be loved, we forget to make our own important choices about the love that is being offered. In my session work, all my clients can look back and say that the warning signs were clearly on display from the beginning. What they struggle to understand is why they were so willing to ignore them in the first place.

Love should not be blind, or painful.

We still have a way to go when it comes to the choices we make in the love department. I work with women who, despite their confidence in other areas of their lives, are less sure about what is healthy in a relationship and what is not. What they discover in our sessions is that many of the relationship rules they have been struggling to accept as normal, are actually oppressive, sometimes strange and completely unacceptable. In case you wondered, late night dust inspections and lights out at 9pm are not normal relationship behaviour.

Some other things that are not normal or ok – to save you some time.

‘Gaslighting’ is a form of emotional manipulation where your partner continually dismisses your feelings as irrational and wrong. If this happens often enough you begin to doubt yourself, making it easier for you to be controlled. Here are some signs;

  • Many of your conversations with your partner are debates about how wrong your thoughts and feelings are. Your partner will insist you have read the situation all wrong.
  • What you say is met with complete shock at how ‘off base’ it is. This is another way of creating self-doubt in your opinions.
  • You are told that no-one else has ever had an issue with what you are bringing up. This is a favourite tactic used by serial flirters and liars.
  • You are told that what upset you was ‘only a joke’ and the only thing that needs to happen is for you to lighten up.

Losing trust in yourself can happen gradually and it will increase your dependence on the very person who keeps making you feel insecure. Note to self – this is not healthy love.

So, what are some of the early warning signs?

While some of these signs may appear harmless by themselves, what they show is a character that is opportunistic and willing to abuse their power when they have it. It also shows a tendency to not take ownership, shift blame and dominate, which will all be used against you eventually. These signs are often very easy to observe;

  • They have few long term relationships.
  • They dismiss old partners as ‘crazy’.
  • Their stories have a theme, such as they always ‘win’ in the end.
  • They hold grudges and share stories of revenge.
  • They will spend a lot of time talking you into their way of thinking.
  • They will not change their mind on an issue despite new information.
  • Where they can get away with something they will (being undercharged etc.).
  • They do not admit mistakes or apologise.

Choose well.

Many women admit that their focus is on being chosen by a potential partner, rather than doing the choosing. There are women who also believe that it is the loving thing to do, to accept some or all of these characteristics. No one is perfect, they say. This is not about becoming so choosy that you will be single forever. There are plenty of challenges, circumstances, quirks and insecurities that we can lovingly accept into our lives. What we need to recognise and avoid however, are the character traits in people that constantly seek to manipulate and diminish others.

Your new love strategy.

Your heart is only one part of the healthy love story. If you include your best thinking and your gut feeling into the mix, you will be in the best position to allow extraordinary, enduring love into your life. Slow right down and allow the love process to build on evidence. Most fakers want to go quickly and bombard you with words they have no intention of delivering on. By all means listen optimistically to the wonderful words, however you must wait for the actions that bring those words to life. Only then will you know you are moving toward something real and good.

Click on the link to get your copy of Nada’s new book Wisdom for the Real You: How to be Your Best in Life’s Tricky Situations.

Nada Tramosljanin is also an expert on The Love Destination Expert Series.