We are the generation twice removed from the Cleavers; the aftermath of the rise in divorce rates.
We have seen all kinds of relationships modeled for us. In some ways, this transparency of what happens in other marriages is helpful, but it also creates uncertainties when trying to create our own.
Being a member of Gen-Y can feel like you are navigating the relationship minefield blindfolded, unsure of when to move forward or backward once problems arise.
When is it appropriate to stick things out? When do we back away? How do we know if someone is worth sticking it out for the future?
We are well aware that relationships are difficult and people are not perfect. We want the passion, the chemistry, the conversation and the love, but we know that gaining those rewards takes hard work.
We know that life happens, people change, and above all, relationships are hard.
All this being said, there are certain signs that Gen-Y daters can miss. Awareness of a few key traits will save you the heartache later down the road.
Owning Your Emotions vs. Emotional Blackmail
Emotions are a fragile part of our psyche. No matter where you hold them (on your sleeve, inside your heart), your emotions are potentially the most integral part of how you navigate different situations in your life. Being such important facets, they should be used as a way to express yourself.
The people in your life fall in all categories of the sensitivity spectrum. Knowing where you fall in the madness of it all will help you express yourself in conflict.
Being a sensitive person, I am aware that my own emotions can cloud my view in situations of conflict. Similarly, someone who is not as sensitive might not see how his or her words affect others. Your ability to express this maturely will do wonders when having a difficult time.
A person using their emotions in a toxic manner should be avoided. This manipulative mechanism breeds pain. This person may mean to say, "I wish you would listen to me," but it comes out, "I can't believe I am dating someone who is such a bad listener."
This manipulation and exaggeration of emotions comes from a place of drama and insecurity. Threatening the relationship to receive attention is a premeditated way to have someone feel guilty about more than the situation at hand.
Heated Discussion vs. Dirty Fighting
Eloquence is a gift. Some people have a natural knack for expressing themselves and explaining their point of view and others don't.
Don't mistake your ability to explain yourself as a sign of being "right." It is important to remember that while you may be able to process and work through your emotions verbally, not everyone is able to do this on the spot.
Give your partner the time to process as he or she needs. Pushing someone to talk when he or she hasn't processed will never end well.
When not given the time to calm down and process any given situation, people say things out of anger. Heated discussions and arguments are a normal part of the relationship process, but using your words to hurt someone should not be.
Heated discussion or not, name calling, throwing out wild accusations and any sort of blame casting is inexcusable.
Dirty fighting is a sign that you don't actually want to fix the problem; you want someone to feel pain.
Butting Heads vs. Conflict Buzz
Conflict is a natural part of having a relationship. You will never wholly agree on everything. You might argue and never come to a consensus. That is okay. You grew up differently and have experiences that have shaped who you are as a person as well as what your opinions are on a variety of subjects.
At times you may learn something from your partner, or your partner from you. Other times you will both stand your ground on opposite sides of the fence and never meet. There is nothing wrong with this, so long as your whole relationship doesn't revolve around conflict.
Some people actively seek out conflict in their relationships and this is often a sign of immaturity. If everything becomes a battle, your relationship will not and should not survive.
There could be a variety of reasons for seeking conflict: for attention, out of boredom, to fill an emotional void, etc. Whatever the reason, getting high off of constant conflict is unhealthy.
Remember that no relationship is perfect; no person is perfect. Differences are highlighted when you show a person your true colors, which is a wonderful part of the dating process. Don't back away at the first sign of imperfection, but know that you are getting to know a person at his or her core.
When we shed our glossy facade of who we want to be perceived as, we start to figure out if a relationship is good for now versus good for the future. Take the time to get to know someone, but respect yourself in the process.
Know when to step away from conflict and when to work through it.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It