One of the main jobs of being a healthy adult is to make decisions. In fact, there is a saying, “More than doers, we are deciders.” And this quote couldn’t be more helpful when it comes to love addicts (or any addict for that matter). The reason I say that is because we love addicts tend to do before we think. We tend to be doers, not deciders. We act impulsively, we make decisions based on our emotions, or our fantasies, we even allow our inner child to “get behind the wheel,” as Susan Peabody always says. And while this is a great way to live and experience the world when you are a child or a teenager, it’s not a great way to live as an adult. In fact, it’s downright irresponsible and careless. I have a lifetime of bad relationships and mistake as proof, and I am sure many of you might feel the same way.
But in order to go from being a poor decision-maker (Hey, look at that guy laden with red flags, he just winked at me, he must like me, maybe he’s the “One” I’ll go for it!) to being a good decision-maker (Hey, look at that guy laden with red flags, he just winked at me, he must like me, I think I will AVOID that one because I deserve more than he can offer…”) certain lessons must be learned.
During my path, it took a while, but I learned the following lessons that helped me become a better decision maker. If you have lessons of your own, please share! Here are mine:
1.) I used to make decisions based on what others thought and felt of me (he is showing me attention, whether I like him or not, I should date him). Now I base decisions on what I think and feel (I am flattered that you like me and are showing me attention, but I’m not interested).
2. I used to make decisions based on no sense of right or wrong. I would overlook all kinds of red flags and flaws (OK, so he has a drinking problem, that might go away. I will date him any way because he’s cute.” Now I make decision based on my VALUES (I will never date anyone that drinks alcohol too heavily, so I will not date this person even though he is cute.)
3. I used to make decisions regardless of items of importance or significance (If someone was good looking or had chemistry, that was more important than the fact that he constantly cheated on past girlfriends). Now I make decisions based on a hierarchy of important items (Looks are secondary to a man who has values, respect and virtue.
4. I used to make decisions in a split second, without thinking. I believe my first impulse was correct. I was so wrong. My first impulse was almost always wrong! Now I take my time before I decide anything.
5. I used to believe I had to make a decision (you either commit to me or not!) Now I recognize that sometimes it’s OK to not make any decision (the world is not black and white, I don’t have an answer right now and therefore, do not feel the need to make a decision.)
6. I used to base my decisions on my emotions (my heart says “He’s the one!”). Now I base decisions on both my head and my heart and weight the importance of both (My heart says “He’s the one,” but my head says he lies too much and he’s too avoidant for the long haul, so I will have to cut my losses and move on.”)
7. I used to panic at the thought of making the “right” decision and so I would make a decision blindly, without thinking (Who cares what I decide! I’ll probably suffer anyway.) Now I know that it takes a little more effort and work to come to the “right” decision and it may not always be right, but I assess my risks and try to make the “best” decision (Writing lists, taking time to think about the positives and negatives and knowing that you are WORTH making a good decision helps).
8. I used to make decisions based on no knowledge of a subject or a refusal to look at the reality of a situation (I made decisions about relationships based on my fantasy of that person). Now, I am less afraid. I make decision based on the truth and what is real (I no longer close my eyes to the truth, even though what I see I may not like and it may mean I will have to give up a potential new relationship, at least I making a clear, wide-eyed decision).
9. I used to let others decide for me, turning over the control and responsibility to them because I didn’t think I was capable of making my own decisions. Now I recognize I am (almost always) the best person to decide what I want, and while I will, from time to time enlist the help or seek advice from others who are wiser than me, (based on the significance of the decision to be made), I know I am the only one who has final say.
I would like to add too that learning to make good decisions on your own will give you good practice for when you need to make decisions, problem solve and negotiate with a partner. So, see these lessons as important stepping stones that will make you a more well-rounded, conscientious person within a relationship.
- Fear of Making the Wrong Decision (solutionsorganizing.wordpress.com)