It’s time to raise your standards.
5 anti-situationship vows
How can we heal from the one-sided relationships that break our hearts over and over again?
It’s not easy, but the process begins with one simple decision: We have to decide that we’ll only invest in people who want to invest in us, too. Anything else is unacceptable.
This decision is about raising our standards for partnership. Having a standard for how we want to be treated and who we want to spend our life with is how we choose our peace and sanity over anxiety and chaos.
To raise our standards, we need to focus on character instead of being seduced by charm. Charm is fun — and it’s not a bad thing! — but it’s also surface-level. It’s not enough. Character runs deep, and it’s the core of someone. It’s trustworthiness. It’s consistency. It’s respect. It’s kindness.
What does that standard look like in an actual relationship? You should feel safe with them. You should feel like yourself with them. It should be easy to be around them. You should like yourself around them.
They should strike you as a good person: giving, kind, and warm. You should like how they treat people.
Differences add so much depth and interest to relationships, and you can approach differences between you and your partner with open curiosity. But you shouldn’t face conflict about critical values. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up sacrificing your integrity.
You shouldn’t wonder how they feel about you. You should know they feel the same way you feel about them, because you two should talk about it. It should be obvious.
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Standards are a pendulum: On one side, we might lower our standards too low because our hunger for love is stronger than our love for ourselves. We might let our fear of being alone guide us instead of exercising true, open-hearted discernment. But the other side can hold us back just as much: Looking for someone so perfect that we’re never satisfied. It’s unrealistic to expect someone to be perfect and to never disappoint you. It’s unrealistic to expect them to rescue you, or have no baggage. Remember, we’re all just flawed people trying to cope with our traumas and pasts and do the best we can.
We can’t chase perfection. But we can choose someone who is right for us.
In my work with my clients, my goal is to help people who have a pattern of being in complicated “relationships” to raise their standards to a healthy, realistic level. I want them to understand that you can’t build a relationship with someone who ignores your texts, and you can’t build a relationship with someone who won't talk about the future with you.
And part of that work means looking deep within ourselves. It means strengthening our characters and remaining deeply committed to our own healing and growth. We are co-creators of any relationship. We can set the standard for our partners, but we need to meet it, too.
As we work to raise the standard, I have five vows to share with you. Read them aloud to yourself. Then read them again. Come back to them anytime you’re faltering or feel like you’re losing yourself.
I will never not communicate what it is that I need in a relationship ever again.
I will be courageous, and I will be myself. I will not change myself for someone else.
I will never make it seem like my needs are unimportant.
I will never strategize to get someone to be more interested in me.
I will only be in relationships where the feelings are reciprocated.
What would you add to these vows? Let me know by replying to this email, and I might include it in a future message — anonymously, of course.
See you next week!