The Bad Relationship Series: Kicking A.S.S. and Listening In

Posted on June 12, 2013



If almost every bad relationship is preventable, then what’s preventing you from picking up on the warning signs before you get invested? 

In most of my sessions with clients, when we shift into a perception of power and analyze personal weaknesses, a common theme appears. People know, from the very beginning of most relationships, whether or not things will work out with another person. The disappointing romance, the manipulating boss, the lousy friends are all actually not that hard to discern. 

Does that come as a surprise? It shouldn’t, really, if you think about it. 

All of us are equipped with intuition and insight. By the time we’ve reached adulthood, almost every one of us has had quite a bit of experience interacting with other human beings from all different walks of life. We have everything we need to make wise choices in our relationships. But we don’t. 

What I’ve noticed when I analyze my clients’ (and my own) poor relationship choices, is that, from the very start, that soft, still voice inside of us was warning us to watch out. To be careful. To take our time. And we decided to drown it out with our insecurities. We decided to ignore our natural, gut-level signals because we were so eager to get the other person to like us. 

Ah, yes. The old Approval-Seeking Syndrome (or A.S.S. as I like to call it). Destructive in so many ways but especially because it suppresses our intuition. 

Think about the last unhealthy relationship you were in. Your intuition, from the very beginning, was most likely telling you to take heed. You were the one who chose not to listen. You forgot to check in with yourself because you were intensely preoccupied with what the other person thought of you. 

You were on a first date and were nervous. You hadn’t dated anyone for a while and were ecstatic that this nice-looking guy asked you out. You ignored the fact that he was very late, that he took two suspicious ’emergency’ phone calls outside during the short time you were together and that he gave elusive answers to some questions you asked about his life. You chose not to register any of this because he laughed at one of your jokes. “I guess he thinks I’m funny!” you thought. “Maybe he’ll call me back for a second date!”

Or, you were at a party where you didn’t know any one. You didn’t really want to go but your two closet friends had recently moved so you forced yourself to go so that you could meet new people.  You’re standing by the snack table, mortified that you have no one to talk to when a woman comes up to you and starts a conversation. You’re so relieved that you’re no longer standing alone, that you don’t notice the big read flags she’s flying. Each story she tells is a covered brag about how she’s outsmarted and manipulated other people for her own agenda. You don’t pay much attention to this or her lack of empathy because you’re happy that someone seems to like you.

Or, you’re on a job interview. You’ve been unemployed for several months and are starting to get panicky because you’ve been living on your savings and your bank account numbers are getting low. You’re so eager to get hired, to prove yourself in a competitive pool of candidates, that you dismiss the demeaning way your potential boss talks to his assistant. Or the fact that he’s looked down at your boobs several times when you were answering his questions. Or that, even though your interview is less than an hour long, he makes a rude, chauvinistic comment about his wife. 

We’ve all been here. In an effort to get others to approve of and like us, we’ve forgotten that we must also make sure that we approve of and like another person before we get into a relationship with them. 

If you want to get smarter about preventing bad relationships from happening, you’ve got to get your head out of your A.S.S. and start really listening in to what your inner guidance system is telling you. When you make a concerted effort to Kick A.S.S. and start listening in, you’ll be much, much closer to making better relationship choices.