“I’m way too smart to settle for a relationship like that.”
…..You sure about that?
Dumb relationships can happen to smart people.
There have been MANY intelligent individuals who’ve found themselves entangled in unhealthy relationships. I’m one of them! I’d always done well in school and in life, I had read all the right books on relationships and dating, learned from the dating disasters of others, and worked hard to improve myself and make my corner of the world a better place.
Yay for me! Gold Star for Kristin! ….Except that wasn’t enough to keep me out of trouble.
These points below are principles that I’ve found to be true in my own dating mistakes, and also in observing the mistakes of close friends and family members. So, without further ado, here are 3 ways that smart people can make the very dumb decision to be in a toxic relationship:
They Scramble Their Priorities
No relationship can ‘complete’ you. Healthy romance is sparked between two whole, complete individuals- not two ‘half-people’ coming together in a desperate attempt to become whole. Desperation is incompatible with contentment. If finding “the one” is at the very top of your priorities, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Instead of obsessing over someone worth finding, it’s far more wise to pursue peace, care for others, and develop your character as you grow as a person. As you’re living out your God-given purpose, look around you and see who else is running in that same direction. That’s probably someone you’ll want to get to know. 🙂
They Neglect Their Vulnerabilities
When you’re vulnerable, you become needy and desperate to find a person to fill that void and provide security. This is a VERY unhealthy place to begin a relationship. News flash: Smart people can find themselves in vulnerable seasons too, and these are NOT the seasons in which to pursue a relationship. First things first- secure your foundation, and find an emotionally and spiritually healthy place. Otherwise, you might find yourself settling for an unhealthy relationship without even realizing it! Trust me, it’s not worth the risk.
They Ignore the Red Flags
This is a tough one. I used to observe my friends in their toxic romantic entanglements and say to myself- “I would NEVER let that happen to me!”
But I did.
Turns out, ‘red flags’ are easy to ignore. Sometimes, those ‘red flags’ don’t surface until AFTER you’ve already taken the plunge and fallen head-over-heels in love with someone. And then something crazy happens; those ‘red flags’ don’t seem so red anymore. You start to talk yourself out of acknowledging the obvious. “Maybe it’s not ‘really’ a red flag, maybe it’s just a difficult day.” “Maybe I can change him.” “ Maybe that’s the last time he’ll hurt me.” “Maybe he’ll love me if I give him ____.” Maybe, maybe, maybe.
The road to a broken heart is paved with ‘maybe’s’.
Here’s some black-and-white FACTS to clear the hazy gray smoke of the ‘maybe’s’:
- If trusted friends and advisers are telling you that the relationship is bad news, LISTEN to them.
- If there are signs of emotional and/or physical abuse, don’t sugar-coat it or justify it.
- It’s SO common for a person to realize that their dating relationship is a mistake, but they persevere because they think they’ve already invested too much time into it- they can’t seem to let it go.
Don’t hold onto a mistake just because it took a long time to make the mistake.
Relationships can get messy! NO ONE is ‘too smart’ to fall for the lies of a dysfunctional relationship. Seek wisdom, keep your mind open to advice and difficult conversations.
I fully believe that God can and WILL work ALL things to the good of those who love Him. If you’re finding yourself in a toxic relationship, please know that there is so much more that God wants for you! There is nothing as amazing as a Christ-centered relationship built upon mutual respect, genuine selflessness, and sacrificial love. If I hadn’t let go of my own unhealthy relationship in the past, I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience a truly healthy relationship. I thank God for the joy and freedom that came as I began to date the man I ended up marrying. I am happier now than I ever dreamed I could be!
There is freedom in letting go of the bondage of a toxic relationship, and there is healing and grace in Christ.
You are so loved!
God bless you always.