It’s a common piece of advice that when you are seriously dating someone you should do it with your eyes wide open, and after you’ve committed have your eyes half closed. We deal with each other’s foibles, idiosyncrasies, and faults because we love the other person. We know when to push them to be better, when to let them be, and which subjects are off-limits.
This is about the off-limits areas of a relationship. If your loved one is always pushing you on these things and trying to get you to change when you have no desire to do so, it might be a good idea if you don’t see them anymore. There are at least six:
Your family relationships may be really simple or complicated, but they are your family and you know how what they are like and what the do’s and don’ts are. Maybe you have a great relationship with everyone, maybe your grandpa is horribly racist, or maybe you changed your name and moved three time zones over to be away from them. The point is your loved one shouldn’t force you to change the dynamic that already exists. Don’t let them take you away from your loved ones or force you to be around family that makes your skin crawl for the sake of their comfort and sense of normalcy. Maybe your relationship together will make you want to change things, but it shouldn’t be because they are pressuring you to do so.
Let’s be honest: the human body is a gross meat bag. What makes someone beautiful isn’t their hair color or cup size; it’s the personality underneath. A person who really loves your body doesn’t love it (solely) because of your height or how much you can bench—they love it because it’s yours. In our image-obsessed photo-shopping society, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t want to change anything about their appearance. But any changes that you want to make should be met with either loving encouragement or the assurance that it’s unnecessary. If you are getting the impression that they are pushing you to lose more weight or get botox because they won’t find you attractive enough to stick around, then you shouldn’t. Stick around, that is.
In spite of society’s shifting attitudes about sex, one thing that is solidifying is that sex is something you should always be comfortable saying no to. Sex is a big deal, especially the first time you have it. That is a step that both of you should be 100% certain you are willing to do before you do it. If you aren’t, your partner has to be okay with that. If you are in an intimate situation together and you have definitely expressed your desire to not have sex, they have to respect that. This is why we have tasers and mace.
Don’t mess with the divine in people’s lives. I’ve written before about being civil when having religious discussions, and that applies here. If your loved one is constantly trying to get you to abandon your beliefs and/or adopt theirs in a way that you are uncomfortable with, you should let them go.
How the two of you approach politics has a lot in common with religion. Not seeing eye-to-eye can lead to resentment and bitterness down the road. They may even look down on you and lash out in other ways because you disagree. To be fair, one man’s badgering is another man’s lively debate. What feels like a mockery of all you hold dear may feel like an intellectual discussion to them. Find out their conversation style, sense of logic, and methods of resolving conflict before you decide whether they’re curious or just attacking you. If they’re always attacking, you should disengage.
Understand that I don’t just mean a job. You can be working somewhere terrible like a call center because you have bills to pay. In that case, you may have a lower opinion of it than your partner does. A career is something that you are earnest about doing, passionate about, your dream job. While every other person today wishes they were a celebrity, movie star, or astronaut, you may love your job as a receptionist, social worker, or botanist. You shouldn’t get belittled or made fun of for your passions, least of all by the person who professes to love you. The person who loves you will lovingly support you in your professional life. Please don’t misunderstand: setbacks, impossible odds, and repeated failures may prompt them (and you) to reassess what you should do. However, that’s very different from being told that your work has no meaning, is stupid, or is a complete waste of time. One of those attitudes is done out of love. The other is not.