This post was written by Gabriella, a loveisrespect intern.
Winter break is coming up, and that means you can finally relax instead of worrying about school.
Wish you could say the same about a relationship?
Sometimes unsteady or new relationships can feel confusing and hard to navigate, especially if a crush is playing “relationship games.” These games aren’t very much fun, and they usually include behaviors that don’t help build a healthy relationship.
So what are some of these “games,” and how do you spot them?
Sending Mixed Messages
Are they really flirting with you, or are you reading too much into it? One day they act like they like you…and the next day they completely ignore you! Unfortunately, many people apply the motto “treat them mean, keep them keen” in hopes of catching the attention of a crush, but this creates an unhealthy foundation for a relationship before it even begins. Being treated like you don’t matter after believing a relationship would become serious can feel emotionally draining. While it can be a little scary, being honest with someone you’re interested in helps establish a relationship with a foundation of respect. If you feel like you can’t be honest with someone, or you feel like they’re not being honest with you, then maybe a relationship with that person isn’t right for you.
The Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is when one partner ignores the other as punishment for their own hurt feelings, frustration, or jealousy. No relationship is perfect, and people naturally make mistakes. It’s okay to feel hurt about something, but it’s not okay to behave in a disrespectful or hurtful way because of hurt feelings. Receiving the silent treatment can be scary and frustrating because often it is unclear why the other partner is mad. Again, open and respectful communication is so important in a healthy relationship. Ignoring someone until they do enough or beg enough is not a healthy way to resolve conflict.
It’s totally normal to feel upset if a partner does something hurtful, but it’s important to remember the boundary between being angry and wanting revenge. The urge to get even instead of communicating feelings is toxic to a relationship because it focuses on causing more pain, not healing it. It’s not always easy to control anger, but there are healthy alternatives to taking it out on your partner, like jogging, yoga, or a hot shower. Instead of getting even, learning how to communicate expectations and respectfully compromise can help make the relationship stronger.
Another game people sometimes play is expecting a partner to earn their love. In this game, affection can be “earned” in all kinds of ways, like replying to constant compliment fishing, always giving expected presents, or sacrificing every minute of free time for their partner. Trust and love are given, not earned, and it’s unhealthy and unfair for one partner to constantly make sacrifices in exchange for affection and appreciation. Guilt-tripping, threatening breakups, or making accusations when a partner fails to meet relationship requirements are meant to establish power and control and can be signs of emotional abuse.
Are any of these “games” being played in your relationship? We’re here to help. Just give us a call, chat with us online, or text us anytime!