I don’t believe I have EVER, ever, ever, EVER, EVER been in a relationship where there’s been one-hundred percent trust, and I wanted to talk about that. My father lied incessantly, my ex-hubby was a compulsive liar, G would lie here and there, S lied increasingly about work and smoking, even MB lied but would then have that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look about him, after which he would confess. I truly did not know what it was like to date a man who did not lie (let alone a man that did not drink, smoke, do drugs or anything else obsessively, but that’s a topic for later).
I’ll tell you one thing. It’s not like you go around all your life dating blondes and then you suddenly find yourself in love with a brunette. It’s a little more exciting than that.
When I first met D, I proudly exclaimed that I can always tell when someone is lying. “I can read minds,” I said, bragging. And truth be told, it is one of my finest qualities. Heck, I’ve had a lifetime to hone my skills. But D’s response was unusual and believe it or not, slightly disappointing. “I don’t lie,” he said. “In fact, if I tried to lie, it would be pathetic.”
Two things occurred at that moment:
- I felt as if one of my best, most well-used skills was being jeopardized (he could care less if I could read minds, because he was claiming that he’d just tell me the truth anyway), and
- I didn’t believe him. How could that be true, I thought. Everyone lies. Don’t they?
The short simple answer is no, everyone does not lie. We as LA’s however, are probably very drawn to liars though because we so desperately want to believe in a fairy tale. Not only that, but it almost seems natural that avoidants and lying go together like butter and scotch. How or why I do not know.
So, as the days went by it was my general nature to still distrust him. He would say he was tired and I wouldn’t believe him. Then he’d come over yawning. A tiny part of me grew in size.
More time went by and as is naturally the case when you are close with someone, I’d notice more and more examples of this man’s goodness and his trustworthiness. I still had moments where I would distrust or suspect something, but it was ALWAYS quelled by the reality that there was nothing to worry about.
It has been over four months that we’ve been together. That’s NOT a lot of time. But I have the advantage of knowing his reputation through my brothers who have known him for nearly 20 years. He is known as a very trustworthy, good man. That, coupled with my own observations, has led me to RELAX. FOr the first time in many years, I am actually beginning to trust someone again. That when they say they can’t come over because of x, y and z it means they can’t come over because x, y and z are true. I can relax because for the first time in many years I don’t have to be suspicious or worried or mistrusting. I don’t feel like I always have to question his behavior. I have started to take things at face value.
“Oh, you took your kids to the park? How nice!” Used to be “Oh, you took your kids to the park? But then why when you called me did I hear voices in the background as if you were at someone else’s house?”
This kind of knee-jerk reaction of suspicion to my boyfriend’s stories does NOT exist anymore. And though my skills at reading minds and figuring out lies is beginning to atrophy, I can deal with that. Because more so than anything, if feels good to feel SAFE and SECURE in something. It feels good to have an instinct about something and have it met with the truth. Yet another sigh of relief in my new life.
All that being said, here’s my list of characteristics in people you want to AVOID at all costs. You deserve better (I never thought I did, but I know now that I will never settle for less):
- Lying: if you catch someone lying, this is a bad sign. It signifies immaturity and an inability to OWN your life and what you’re up to. It also rarely goes away, if ever.
- Cheating: cheating is just an overall ugly bad thing. If you’re cheating you should STOP and get real with yourself. Cheating is narcissistic. It shows total disregard and disrespect of SELF and OTHERS. Why get involved with someone that has this repetitively in their past.
- Addiction: Ok, so we’re all addicts here. But that doesn’t mean we have to go out and date someone with the same or worse issues as ourselves. Two addicts together can lead to INSANITY. It’s just not a good idea. I used to think, we’ll have so much in common, he’ll be able to understand me better than anyone. Bull. Never happened. Addicts are oftentimes very selfish, self-centered individuals more concerned with feeding their own addictions rather than trying to understand yours. Besides, their addiction (like OURS) keeps us safe from forming real, intimate bonds with others. Unless an addict has some SERIOUS recovery under his/her belt, STAY AWAY. This is true of workaholics, sex addicts, gamblers etc.
- Narcissism: just plain ‘ol stay away. Bad news. Read more on narcissists here.
- Abusive: Physically, mentally, sexually or otherwise. I have never had to deal with physical abuse on any grand scale, but I have experienced enough sexual and mental abuse to not be able to detect it in others. What is black and white to some people is a little gray to me. Example: I never considered the fact that leaving porn magazines out and about where your five-year-old daughter can get to them was abusive. Though it is not directly considered sexual abusive, this is HIGHLY NEGLIGENT behavior. Loving, caring parents try to protect their children from things like that, not expose them to it. Read up on defining abuse so you know what to avoid!
- Neglect/Avoidance, and/or Smothering: I used to think that I was bad at giving men enough “personal space.” Or, alternately, that they were bad at giving ME enough personal space. I never realized (until I was in a healthy, loving relationship) that personal space hinges greatly on whether or not you are dating an avoidant– someone who’s prone to neglecting you and/or running away. When someone you like avoids you, or does not spend a healthy, secure amount of time with you, you begin to wonder if your wanting to spend a certain amount of time with him is natural or if you are being too greedy. You begin to distrust yourself. Same in reverse. You could be dating a man who smothers you and you start to pull away, hoping he’ll give you more personal space. Any situation that is out of balance isn’t going to feel good. You need to seek balanced and healthy. SOmeone who is not afraid of commitment or intimacy will not avoid you OR smother you. They give you space and yet, they love being with you.
- Fears Intimacy: This is easy to detect. It’s the guy who’s in his 40’s or 50’s, never been married, no kids, no pets etc. These people are generally FUN and EXCITING. But that’s the end of the line. If you are looking for commitment, you ain’t getting it here.
- Financial problems, doesn’t get along with family, etc.: Getting fired or losing your job is one thing. Unable to hold down a job and constantly in financial crisis is a headache you don’t need. Plus, it’s a tell tale sign of instability and incapable of committing in a loving relationship.
I’m sure there’s a ton more to this list, but these are the basics!