At a time when love letters have turned into mushy BF/GF appreciation Posts, first sightings are made up of edited social media pictures, Matches are Artificial Intelligence-ly made, and all it takes for us to find âThe Oneâ (or the flavour of the season) is a right swipe on our phone screen - the rich essence of the good olâ love of the old days has gone amiss.
Or has it? Maybe instead of vanishing away, romance has just changed its appearance, shifting along with every other change that modern society brings. Despite this evolution, thereâs a host of toxic behaviors that continue to show themselves in love - that you may have noticed with that less-than-ideal date from last weekend, or even a couple thatâs lasted for years.
When the world goes offline, and the prying eyes of âfollowersâ are not to be found anywhere, and the âlikesâ are hard to come by, the face of modern-day love stories undergo a transformation that doesnât quite look like the love we grew up wishing for.
Our writers have weighed in with their perspective on the how and what about the five things you definitely need to keep a check on when looking for romance - both big and small.Guilt-Tripping
Devlina: âWe could have had a great time out if you didnât insist on attending your grandmaâs birthdayâ, âno wonder your ex left/hated thisâ, âI wonder how I ended up here with youâ - first off, these are HUGE red flags that you shouldnât be ignoring. If your partner has been using these sort of retorts to come back at you and guilt-trip you for doing something you want to/love to do, or holding you hostage emotionally for taking a stand and not siding with them, itâs time you remind them the relationship is not bigger than your individuality and voice.
Sharan: I donât think itâs possible to have a relationship without guilt of some kind occuring every now and then - people are different, and sometimes a partner doesnât match up to our expectations (and vice versa). The problem for me arises when someone attempts to induce guilt on the basis of insecurity - say guilt-tripping me for spending time with a friend, instead of having an open and frank dialogue about their feelings.Ignoring Consent
Â© Eros International
Devlina: âHow could you say no to such a simple thingâ, âjust give it a try for meâ, âweâre doing this, whether you like it or notâ - if any of these ring a bell, chances are, your partner needs a refresher on âconsentâ. If they are making you feel bad for saying no, or forcing you to do something youâre not okay with or even checking your phone without your permission, these are all signs that they do not respect your right to say no or choose for yourself. That canât ever be healthy for a relationship.
Sharan: While consent regarding *** and intimacy is a clear-cut requirement for any healthy relationship, I feel that it matters even on mundane things for a simple reason - practising consent implies respect and the knowledge that you earn a partnerâs trust and that youâre not simply entitled to it. Sure, sometimes we do things in relationships that weâre not particularly enthusiastic about, it happens. However, being vocal and taking the effort to confirm consent shows that you arenât in a relationship for your own desires - but for a shared experience with another human being.Forcing Them To Choose
Â© UTV Motion Pictures
Devlina: Again, this brings us to, âyou either spend your weekend with your family or meâ or âyou either stop doing that or weâre doneâ - choosing for you on your behalf and giving you senseless ultimatums clearly means your partner is coming from a place of selfish needs and narcissistic pleasure of getting the âupper handâ in the relationship - there is no place for this in loving relationships.
Sharan: Yeahâ¦ this one is never fun. Could be a situation like forcing you to choose between groups of friends or even different sides of a family - giving someone a âdo what I want or weâre overâ line is at its best laughably childish, and at its worst, emotionally traumatising. Holding someone hostage in a relationship is a serious red flag, and I donât see any reason why someone should continue to stay - especially when relationships with people who care for you are at risk.Being A Control Freak
Devlina: âWhy are you friends with her on Facebookâ, ââyou canât go to that party without meâ , âdonât take his/her callâ - if you have heard anything along these lines from your partner and are turning a blind eye to whatâs an obvious case of insecurity and jealousy, I suggest you pick your poison and get down to having that conversation about drawing the line when it comes to your personal space.
Sharan: Itâs one thing to give constructive criticism as a partner, but an entirely different kind of issue when someone begins to control your freedom and choices as an individual. Itâs a hard line to draw as well - sometimes we just want to see our partners happy, and give into that pressure too often. However, if you find yourself constantly compromising on activities and personal choices such as your hobbies or interests, itâs time to speak up and reconsider things. You might be a partner, sure - but youâre an individual first.Playing The Blame Game
Devlina: âYou forced me to take this extreme stepâ or âI wouldnât have done that if I werenât so angry at youâ - whether this brings back memories of angry outbursts, physical violence or emotional abuse, we suggest you come clear about how it's totally unacceptable and walk out the door for good. Man or woman, nobody deserves to go through this shit, no matter the âexcuseâ.
Sharan: Weâve all seen the pattern before, either in real life or on TV - thereâs that one person who does something awful, and justifies it by seamlessly transferring the blame onto their partner. Classic example of adding insult to injury, huh? I think anyone who resorts to this instead of behaving like a normally functioning adult has some serious issues to unpack - and Iâm not sure if dealing with endless excuses sounds like my idea of a âfun relationship.â