21 July 2019

Respect my rules

Dress from New Look - shop it here

If like me, you've been glued to Love Island, you will have watched the drama unfold this week as Michael tried to win back Amber.... around the same time someone showed an interest in her. It's the tale as old as time - you become more appealing when you seem to be moving on. 

The male f*ckboy logic is standard - they seem to only want you when you seem to be almost out of their reach. Thankfully, Amber decided to back herself and try to make a go of things with (hot new) Irish guy Gregg much to the nations delight (now we just have to hope she stays with him!). Online has been full of articles about respecting herself despite the allure of knowing someone fancies you. 

All this drama on Love Island has made me think about my own life decisions and choices for relationships. I joke online about being chronically single - not because I never meet anyone, but because I never meet anyone decent. I get myself into negative situations texting people. I know things won't go anywhere but I still waste time trying to make effort. The feeling Amber had - the one of knowing that someone fancies you (but potentially has zero respect or feelings for you as a human) is one I know all too well. The idea of lust vs love is one that has become even more heightened with the advent of social media - we constantly are exposed to attractive people that we feel drawn to but those real, amazing loving connections are harder to find. It's something that I'm looking for but haven't found yet. 

I think part of the problem has been that I haven't been respectful of myself. I've made bad choices when I've thought bad attention was better than no attention. I've let men pull me in and push me away. At its core, it's abusive behaviour. No matter the state of a relationship with someone - whether it's a friendship or a casual flirtation, if the person doesn't respect you, what's the point? In my experience, if the respect is gone (or didn't exist to begin with), it's hard to establish a good relationship.

I panic all the time that I am going to end up on my own... but as my best friend pointed out recently, why is that so bad? I have my own house, my own car and a good job. I answer to no one but myself. I certainly shouldn't be answerable to someone that I'm dating that seems to have no respect for me. 

I've made 3 new rules for respecting myself moving forward and hopefully they provide some food for thought for you too

1. Text less, date more
My friend has a rule that if someone doesn't arrange a drink or coffee with you after texting for 48 hours - block them. I used to think it was a bit harsh but now I get it. It stops heartache, investment and months of texting. I've also come to realise that women become so invested in texting one person when boys are texting 10 girls at once. A guy I was texting once (and have since become really good friends with) recently admitted he was texting AND dating a handful of people at the same time he was messaging me. A DELIGHT (if I wasn't his friend now I probably would have gone crazy)! If you are reading this and have been texting someone for weeks or months with no commitment to hang out other than "U out?' on a Saturday night, tell him BOY BYE.

2. Block his number, enjoy your summer
Getting no where with someone? Getting constantly pulled in and pushed away? Block him. You don't need to go full blown ghosting - a simple 'this isn't working' and block. You'll feel awful but not as awful as they make you feel about yourself. My auntie says "You let other people make you feel awful about yourself because of their actions" and it's true. I've let my mental health be impacted by behaviour that I can't control. It's not your job to work out why people do what they do - take aforementioned boy from point 1. I really wrecked my head wondering why did he bother to text me but date other people - am I not pretty enough? Am I not wife material? Ultimately it doesn't matter because it's his damn loss. 

3. Core values
Sometimes you have to go old school and get out a pen and paper (or okay, if it's really late, the notes on your phone!). This is something I did recently. I sat and worked out what actually I expect for someone to me respectful for me. Ultimately for me it came down to two things - communication and kindness. Everyone will be different but it's a worthwhile exercise to get you thinking. So next time I date someone and they don't tick my kindness or communication box, it's on to the next one - no bending the rules or saying 'Aw they are so nice when I am with them but then they don't text me for 4 days'. Keep your standard high girls!

What are your rules for respect? Let me know over on Instagram @GemmaLEBond