When we begin dating someone new, our brains are flooded with chemicals that make us feel like we are on top of the world. Everything feels bright, shiny, and new when we are falling in love. However, that warm, shiny feeling can sometimes blind us to relationship red flags and get us into something that isn’t healthy.
How do you know when you’re ignoring your relationship red flags, when the rush of love has you floating on air?
Know how the brain works when it’s in love.
We all know the feeling of falling in love. It’s a feeling like none other. It can help us find a perfect partner, but, like any drug, it can sometimes cloud our judgment. Our brains secrete powerful chemicals that are meant to help us find a mate. These chemicals, like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins are what give us the positive feelings we associate with falling in love. They have a strong influence on how we choose and stay with a partner. When we are around someone we’re attracted to, we can feel physical symptoms like a flushed face, racing heart, and an overall warm feeling. We feel the “chemistry.” You may spend hours thinking about your new love, fantasizing about how wonderful your life will be together.
This is your brain working to connect you to another human being. It’s a good thing! However, this rush can be deceiving if we get lost in it, and overlook red flags because we are too hooked on the good feelings this new person creates in us. Because of this, it’s important to have a few sober reminders that you are aware of prior to getting high on love, so that you be sure you’re able to see clearly when the rush hits.
Know the basic red flags of any relationship.
There are some basic qualities that everyone should steer clear of when they see them in a new partner. This includes someone who is overly jealous or possessive, someone who can’t maintain a job or is unable to manage their financial life over time, someone with a significant criminal background—especially domestic violence or crimes that involve hurting others—untreated addiction, no relationships with friends or family, or someone with a victim mentality. Many of these qualities spell trouble and can be indicators of deeper mental health issues in someone.
Know your OWN red flags.
What have you learned from past relationships that you know you need to avoid this time around? What’s important to you, specifically? Maybe you’ve learned you must have a partner who allows you to keep your independence, or you need someone who is highly affectionate and attentive. Maybe it is someone who is willing to explore a spiritual path with you, so dating a devout atheist wouldn’t be a good mix. Maybe you need someone who values sobriety. Know yourself well…and trust that it is OK to have expectations, rules, and boundaries in a relationship.
Remember to focus on abundance, not scarcity.
If you have a scarcity mindset in love, you may have beliefs like you’ll never find a good relationship, there are no perfect partners for you, or love only happens to other people. This mindset is a dangerous combination when you feel high on a new relationship. Its easy to ignore the warning signs when you are getting filled up on any kind of love, even if it’s the unhealthy kind. If you meet someone you like, scarcity can tell you that this is as good as it gets, so it’s ok to ignore your red flags. If you have reason for concern, its better to release them and trust that another love will always come around.
Your body holds your clues.
If you’re confused about whether a partner is good for you or not, trust that your body knows the truth. A great technique to access your truth is to take daily “body checks” and ask yourself if you are making a good decision to stay in a relationship.
A body check is a simple technique that involves taking a few minutes to sit quietly. Do some deep breathing, and get centered in your body. Bring to mind your partner, and ask your body if this relationship is right for you. Then listen. Do you feel your body expand in confidence, or do you shrink in fear? Do you feel uneasiness anywhere? Notice your gut and heart areas, in particular. They are important energy centers that hold a lot of emotion, especially around relationships. Do they feel tight, tense, or fearful? Or do they feel settled and trusting?
This technique may be easier for some people who are more in tune with their bodies, but could take practice for others. When practiced daily, this can help you learn the difference between the feeling of just having a desire for a relationship to be what you want it to be, and the reality of what it is.
You always have the answers to whether a relationship is good for you.
Just listen, pay attention, and trust yourself. Most people can look back after a breakup and notice the red flags that were present from the beginning, but they were ignored because the rush of love was so strong that it was easy to overlook the reality of a situation. Know your red flags, and trust that they are always worth following. There is plenty of healthy love in the world for you.
This article was originally published on MeetMindful.com by Chelli Pumphrey