Letter to America’s daughters: Please don’t ignore red flags while dating

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Young and in love.  There is nothing better. The innocence, the newness and the excitement. The butterflies, the chills and the feeling as if you are walking on clouds. Everything seems better, you feel alive, the sun shines brighter, the birds chirp louder and the days feel magical.  All of these experiences and feelings may sometimes override the health of a relationship. We ignore certain feelings.  Certain situations may go unnoticed.  The subtle signs that things are not as they should be may tend to get ignored, especially when we are young.  We see this all of the time, teenagers and young adults believing they have found “the one” only to see it unravel years later.   But how can we know? And are there ways we can gently nudge these beautiful daughters to a path which is better suited for them? A path that will lead to unconditional love, kindness and the wonderful treatment they deserve in their lives. Because yes, they do deserve all of the kindness and unconditional love this world has to offer.

Well, I am here to tell you, and all the beautiful daughters out there to pay attention.  Follow your gut and pay attention to how you feel.  A conversation feels off?  Pay attention, An aggressive response to a simple question? Pay attention. Everything counts. 

Listed below are some tell-tale signs that this relationship may not be the right one for you:

  • Your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner does not approve of your friends and there is tension when you want to spend time with them.

  • They may be critical of how you dress and what you wear.

  • The majority of your friends are not the biggest fan of this relationship

  • They tease you in a “loving way”, however leaving you feeling bad about yourself

  • They raise their voice and are argumentative during a conversation

  • They leave you feeling you are at fault for all that happens in the relationship

  • You start to worry when you are in public that a possible interaction may get heated?  As a result, you find yourself not wanting to go out as much with other couples and friends, you begin to stay home alone more and more … and more.

  • You begin to look at other couples and notice how kind they are to each other

  • Your partner acts very differently in public than when they are alone with you.

  • You begin to feel as if you are walking on eggshells and think it might be your fault

If any of these behaviors are displayed in your relationship, pay attention.  As we get older, these behaviors usually do not go away.  They become embedded in the fabric of the relationship as the years go by. We begin to accept these behaviors as “the norm” and by the time we realize the relationship is unhealthy, it may be too late.

So, how do you know if this relationship is heading down the path of “unhealthy” at best?  Here are some additional questions you can ask yourself and let your answer be your guide.  I call this the “Best for Test.”

  • Do you feel like your true authentic self when you are in their company? Or do you notice that you hold back on certain aspects of your personality?

  • Do you feel energized or uninspired when you are with them?

  • Do you feel better about yourself when you leave them, or when you are with them?

Again, everything counts. Pay attention to the messages you are receiving from yourself. 

You deserve to be treated with love, kindness and respect. Do they make you feel as if you can conquer the world? Do they make you smile on the inside? Do they support your dreams? 

Dear American Daughters, pay attention to all of the signs and the feelings inside. 

You have one life and deserve the best starting with the partner you choose.  You’ve got this!

This post was submitted by Fortune 50 exec turned women's empowerment coach, Stacey Aaron Domanico. Her new book, Where Do You Spend Your Heartbeats? Design the Life You Desire, One Heartbeat at a Time is now available.

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