I’d be the first to admit that I go above and beyond for those I love. If I decide to commit to you, there isn’t too much you can’t get from me. And due to my generous nature, I’ve encountered many a mate who was undeserving of what I had to offer. I was taken for granted, and often my significant other failed to appreciate, support and respect me the way I needed despite my unwavering commitment to the relationship at the time.
Let’s just say that I’ve had my share of emotionally taxing learning lessons.
My experiences aren’t unique. Many of us can think back to a time when we knew deserved better but allowed less worthy individuals to entertain our hearts, bodies and minds, and, ultimately, wreak havoc on our spirits. We confused an undeserving mate with the normal trials and tribulations of a healthy relationship, and our hope led us to make excuses on their behalf when in actuality, we should’ve given them the boot.
He’s under a lot of pressure at work.
She’s busy with the kids.
He’s just tired.
Although these are all valid reasons, there is a distinct difference between going through the ebbs and flows of love and being downright disrespected. Here are five signs that you may deserve better in your relationship:
1. Your mate takes you for granted.
You know what’s worse than being taken for granted? When you refuse to accept that your mate is treating you like a discarded object. If you find yourself feeling unappreciated for all you bring to the relationship but you constantly make excuses for your significant other’s behavior, then it’s time to get some self-esteem. The one who loves you should never make you feel unwanted, and a good, appreciative partner will communicate reasons for their temporary absence/distance from you and the relationship.
2. You are not a priority.
At some point in a healthy relationship, your mate needs to come first. Although it is unrealistic to expect your significant other to drop everything for you all the time, you should never feel like you are low on his or her to-do list. A quality relationship places the focus on your mate’s needs, wants and desires. Both parties work together as a unit to ensure the other is satisfied. Committed individuals in loving, joy-filled relationships understand the need to invest in their union and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices that come with such a rewarding experience. They understand that the return on investment is far greater than the risks.
3. You feel like you’re in the relationship by yourself.
Your mate walking into a space where you dwell and not greeting you is unacceptable. Your significant other asking you where dinner is before asking how your day went is unacceptable. If he or she cannot grant you the same courtesy they do the doorman, then you may wish to tell them goodbye. Feeling alone goes beyond not partaking in certain social activities as a couple. It goes beyond being in separate physical spaces at any given time. It is a constant state of feeling emotionally disconnected to your mate and realizing that your pleas for change are falling on deaf ears. If you are feeling more like an accessory or a doormat than a mate, then you definitely deserve better.
4. You’ve mentally checked out.
Routines are great. They help things run smoothly in what can often be a chaotic, fast-paced world, and the certainty of what we must do on a reoccurring basis is refreshing. But to not be present in your relationship is a whole different ball game. Real love never makes you feel like you’re just “going through the motions.” If you find yourself waking up to the same ole mess, dwelling in what once was and just downright not giving a damn anymore, then you deserve better. Mentally checking out of a relationship is one of the first signs that things need to end. Often, your checking out is a way to function while in a toxic relationship because all other means have been exhausted. You are in emotional survival mode and your mind is on autopilot. The last time I checked, relationships were about feeling. No one should feel like a robot in love. To no longer be mentally invested means that your heart is certain to follow, and it’s only a matter of time before your body does the same.
5. Your last relationship was better.
It’s best not to compare your current mate to your past relationships in order to give the new guy or girl a fair shot. But FORWARD is the name of the game. Love has no time for regression. If you find yourself on memory lane more than in your present situation, it’s time to evaluate some things. Who has time to reminisce about the good ole days when you should still be living them? Just sayin.’
Relationships are not always rosy. Making life work with someone is a constant challenge, and only those who are fiercely committed to love and one another will succeed. But knowing when to throw in the towel is critical, too. Anything that exists in confusion for too long will be swallowed by it. So if you happen to be in a relationship where you feel that you deserve better, do yourself a favor and go get it.
Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY. She moderates various events centered on love, relationships, politics and wellness and has appeared on panels throughout the country. Her book, Drive Yourself in the Right Direction, is available now. Keep up with Shantell via her website, Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.