03 May Dating and Emotional Safety
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Most blogs or articles on dating are on knowing if the guy or girl is into you and how to have a successful relationship.
What is often missed in all the talk of romance and relationships is how to date safely. Not just physical safety but emotional safety. How to date so we don’t get emotionally hurt or abused.
So, here are some quick tips on emotional safety.
DON’T CONFUSE LOVE WITH ATTENTION
This can be challenging, particularly if we haven’t experienced or felt love. The attention we get from the other person can feel like love.
Take it from an old guy who learned the hard way. Love and attention are miles apart.
When a person loves you, they want the best for you. When a person gives you attention, they often want what is best for themselves. For example,
It is easy to say, “we have to love ourselves first”, but to do that, we have to have felt love from our parents or our Carers or someone important in our lives. If we don’t feel loved, it is hard to love ourselves.
This is why often, we can “fall in love” with someone who gives us attention because we mistake it for love.
For example, you have met someone who gives you all this attention, and you think they really love you. Then they start asking you and putting pressure on you for a nude selfie. You aren’t comfortable with that, but you feel trapped because they have given you all this attention.
If the person loved you, they would respect that you feel uncomfortable with nude selfies and not put pressure on you.
ALWAYS BELIEVE A PERSON’S ACTIONS
Your new boyfriend or girlfriend may tell you they love you, but if they do not show that in their actions towards you. Always believe the actions.
There is a saying – “actions speak louder than words”. It is easy to say, “I love you”, but if your boyfriend or girlfriend’s actions toward you say something different, trust their actions.
Example Your boyfriend or girlfriend says they love you but then puts you down and criticise you in front of their friends. That is not love. Gaslighting behaviour clearly shows that a person is using you rather than in love with you.
BEING LOVE-BOMBED? RUN
A person who love bombs generally has at least a couple of issues.
- They are doing it to get control over you quickly. When we haven’t had much attention, suddenly receiving all the attention from this person is flattering, exciting and fun. However, the person is not doing it to flatter you; they are doing it to control you. Love-bombing is one of the techniques used by people who are narcissistic to get control over you.
- The other reason a person may use love-bombing is because they are insecure and have no boundaries. They are using love-bombing as a way to attach to you.
You don’t want a person who is insecure as a boyfriend or girlfriend, and you certainly don’t want someone who is narcissistic as your partner.
THE PERSON TALKS, AND TALKS, AND TALKS ABOUT THEMSELVES
Healthy relationships are based on shared interests and concern for each other. If you are with someone who talks about themselves and expects you always to listen and “help” them, be careful.
For example, your boyfriend or girlfriend says things like, “only you understand me”, or “you are the only one I can share this with”. Sometimes, we only share things with our partners, but if our partner only talks about themselves and never lets us talk about what is important to us, that is not love.
When we date or are hooking up with people, we need to keep ourselves safe physically and emotionally.
– Written by David Kernohan, Director of Youth Legal Services