THERE is nothing as consuming, powerful or magnificent as love.
But boy oh boy, it ain’t half tricky at times. Relationships are wonderful that is true (or at least they should be) but as we all know, they can also be tough and quite frankly, a challenge!
Like many of us, I have made some humongous mistakes in my life when it comes to matters of the heart. Some real humdingers. Many I’ve learned from, others I’m ashamed of, some it’s safe to say I won’t ever be repeating again.
And I don’t think for a minute that I’m the only one. Love is the most complicated emotion of them all so it’s little wonder that relationships aren’t always so easy, even when they should be.
Here are five common mistakes that I believe women make when it comes to love. And more importantly, how we can all stop doing them.
(And if you don’t do any of these, well then lady, I salute you!)
We’re too easy
Yep, you heard me. In times gone by, men had to woo us, fight for us in battle, pen ballads, lay down their lives for us and quite frankly prove themselves to us before we’d even give them the time of day.
Many a moon ago, men had to put in a hell of a lot of effort to win a fair maiden’s hand but these days, well, it’s all gone a bit to pot hasn’t it?
Make no mistake ladies, I am a feminist and a proud one at that. I believe in equality. I believe in fairness for all.
But when it comes to love and romance, even I have to reluctantly admit that there is some truth in the fact that men like to chase and that women should be chased.
To be honest, I used to think this was all a load of codswallop (gosh, that’s a good word!). Really I did. But the older I get, the more I realise, that it’s true. The easier you are to ‘win over’, the less worthy you are generally perceived by the opposite sex.
Don’t ask my why, but men seem to need to have a challenge to maintain any interest at all, especially in those early days, and to be fair, they perhaps have a point. We shouldn’t be easy, we should demand some effort, we should have high standards of how we expect to be treated and by whom.
People only ever treat us as we allow ourselves to be treated so if the object of your affections isn’t treating you right, then it’s time to set the bar higher, appreciate your worth and cast your eyes around for another lovely chap who will.
Let’s raise our game ladies. (And theirs too, while we’re at it.)
We’re too giving
As women, we’re natural ‘givers’, usually taught from a young age to look out for others. To care, to nurture, to love and to give much of ourselves to make other people happy.
In the main, this is an admirable female trait that we should be proud of, but the problem arises when some of us take this a little too far in our relationships and give too much.
Yes, it’s wonderful to give and be concerned about the happiness of the person we love and cherish. But too much giving can be seen as smothering or worse, mothering, which let’s face it, isn’t very attractive nor appealing.
So how do you know if you’re giving too much? Easy my friends. Easy. If you’re feeling unappreciated, taken for granted, exhausted and quite frankly, just generally unloved by your other half, then I bet my bottom dollar you’re putting too much in and not getting the return you deserve.
Relationships are about give and take. From both sides. So if you’re the only one that’s giving, it’s time to pull back and reserve some of that love and energy for yourself.
It’s true what they say. We can’t love anyone properly until we learn how to love ourselves.
We’re too forgiving
Everyone makes mistakes. Of course they do. And I’m the first one to hold my hand up and say I’ve made many in my time.
But goodness me, us women really do seem to have a tendency to forgive people, much more easily than we should.
Personally, this is one of my biggest relationship faults and dare I say it, a pretty big contributor to me staying in an unhappy, abusive relationship for as a long as I did in my late teens.
I don’t know about you but when I love, I love deeply and find it hard to turn my back on the person I care about. I believe in them – often when I shouldn’t – and like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Lovely yes, but also rather bloody stupid too.
I’m a clever girl (or so people tell me) but yet when it comes to relationships, I have lost count of the amount of times I have ignored alarm bells going beserk in my brain. Chosen to ignore them in fact.
Over the years, I have listened to far too many excuses, made too many excuses and forgiven some men for some pretty s***** behaviour. Men, whom quite frankly, weren’t good enough to lick my boots, never mind have me in their lives.
Forgiving someone when they are genuinely sorry is the decent kind thing to do but forgiving someone far too many times, for too many relationship crimes, is unforgiveable, to YOU.
We’re too eager to please
There’s nothing wrong in wanting to make your man happy. Nothing at all. Unless of course, their happiness means your unhappiness, that is.
Think about it for a second. Does it?
Are you the one who constantly makes sacrifices so you can stay together? Is everything about him and not you? Have you stopped seeing your mates because he’ll miss you if you go out? Do you only dress in clothing that he loves? Have you stopped wearing make up because he hates it?
I’ve seen too many confident, intelligent women lower themselves or put their needs on the back burner to make their beloveds happy and it never fails to amaze me how much some women will sacrifice of themselves to stay in a relationship.
Regardless of how much you love someone, it’s incredibly selfish of anyone to place demands on you or to put their happiness in your hands. Relationships need two happy, healthy people in them to work, not one person draining the other.
So don’t ever let your relationship consume you completely. Too many women do and it only ever ends up in tears.
Know who you are, have a full life of your own and don’t ever sacrifice so much of who you are or your needs, that you end up losing yourself or becoming miserable, in the process.
We’re too easily seduced
Confession time. I am an incorrigible romantic. I believe in love. Indeed, I am fascinated by love.
At how two people meet and decide to come together and manage to stay together, to build a life as a couple. Or indeed, not.
We all love a good love story don’t we? Something to warm our cockles. Something to bring tears to our eyes. To remind us of past loves, potential loves or those whom we have loved and lost.
Women love romance. We love to be seduced. And we also love to believe in the impossible. We want to believe that true love will prevail in the end, regardless of the situation or the costs.
And herein, lies the very problem.
Because it is this seduction, this hope, this belief, that is the key to our failings in relationships. This is what makes us ignore warning signs, to confuse love with lust, to stop listening to our brains and to stop seeing the truth.
We allow ourselves to get swept away in the drama and the romance and we believe, believe, believe!
It’s inconceivable to many of us that the happy ending may not exist. And so, we believe and continue to hope, even on many occasions, when we know we should know better.
In all honesty, I’m not sure how to combat this ‘mistake’ or even if we should try, for I am damned if I’m going to say to you that loving love is a bad thing. Because it isn’t, it’s rather beautiful.
However, from my experience, I will say this. The kind of love that comes in and sweeps you off right off your high heeled feet is usually the one which will see you falling down back to earth with a cold, hard bump.
It is possible yes. And it can endure. But just be careful. If a love story you are in, seems too good to be true, it could very well be the stuff of fiction.
What do you think of these? Have I missed any major ones out? What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made when it comes to love?
(Don’t think the chaps are getting away scot free either, next week I’ll be sharing the five biggest mistakes men make when it comes to love too.)
Have an incredible weekend everyone!
With love (and pouts)