Avoid The Trap
During the initial conversations, when most women are “shit testing” and most men are “compliance testing”, be aware of some red flags of abusers who exploit the “everybody deserves love” lie.
These are all bad signs:
Saying that “everybody deserves love”. This would count out most Christians and other “love everybody” religions, on the surface. So if they’re of one of those faiths, ask for clarification about the difference between someone being entitled to, and this being an ideal that the loving person is supposed to be striving for. Ask them if this means someone should stay with an abusive spouse despite being beaten, etc. If their ideals are unrealistic in that, this person is setting you up to be downgraded or mistreated, and if you don’t take it, they will condemn you instead of taking responsibility.
The inconsiderate sort of bad personal hygiene, and not even trying to be presentable are a signs of anti realism in romance. A person should accept themselves and their limitations, but they should shine through them, not wallow in them. There is flawed, and then there is ugly. If a person tolerates too much physical ugliness in themselves, they will probably expect you to tolerate too much emotional ugliness.
As with their body, same with their home. If you can’t sit down, breathe without the scent of decay or other nastiness, or use their bathroom without cleaning it first, then they don’t and won’t care about your feelings. A man will need to touch the toilet seat to lift it to pee. A woman has to sit on the seat, and that her clothing may graze the bathroom floor. The sink should not smell like there was a war with bodies laying around for three hot days. Some people let some things slip because they’re busy, or depressed from being alone too long, but there’s a limit.
As a sidenote, a single bed is also a bad sign of something related, but not specifically the “unconditional” problem. An adult who is stable and doesn’t have issues around sex, has a two-person bed. A single bed means they are unstable, or they are banking on moving in with you.
They treat themselves and their partners like porn. If they collect photos and/or videos of themselves and/or their partners nude and/or engaged in sex acts, run. RUN!!!!
Nude photos you give to a person almost never stay just between you and them, even with relatively normal, sane people. Sane people’s computers and phones are compromised and stolen every day. An abuser doesn’t care about this because it’s all about their immediate gratification. They exploit the “unconditional” the same way the trust demand abuser does. If you don’t make porn of yourself, they threaten to lose interest in you, dump you, or degrade you by saying that you have trust issues or you aren’t “liberated” enough.
The photos or video will become a way that they will try to control you if you disobey them, and after you are discarded.
They demand that the sex or other features of your relationship mimic porn or any other fiction. This includes Disney or any relationship guru with overly idealistic views. It is normal for abusers using the “unconditional” trap to accuse you of not opening up enough or not listening or not caring enough about their needs if you don’t do something exactly the way they want you to, or don’t feel about something the way they imagine you should feel about it.
They convince you to do things that you say plainly that you are not entirely comfortable with or don’t enjoy, and then become angry when you feel exactly as you said you would. They may have stereotyped you in some way (such as you must be more promiscuous because you are a red head), and express angry disappointment when you do not live up to that. They say that you are not “in sync” with them when it is clear that you could just as well be a robot following orders for all they care. You are not allowed to have your own needs, or to be offended that someone would cast you in a fantasy character role and then demand that you be what they fantasized without knowing you, instead of who you are…but YOU are the one with the problem in their eyes.
They are currently abusing or neglecting someone. How they treat others is how they will treat you. The way they use the unconditional game is to claim that their relationship with you is different, and they would never treat you how they’re treating this other person.
Someone from their past, or one or more of their exes behaves in a way that indicates they are recovering from that person’s abuse. If people in their family have gone “no contact” with them, or speak to them in a way that sounds like a therapist coached them how to talk to a person with XYZ condition that abusers usually have, be aware. Abusive people don’t just fall out of the sky. Most have a history, and make a bad reputation for themselves.
In this case, the unconditional game is, “Don’t hold my past against me.” They will say it was a long time ago, when they just did or said something horrid to the person or people less than a week prior.
Demands that you trust them, or go farther than you intelligently should for them. This is a disgusting misuse of someone’s attention that is far too common in this age of over entitlement. It is usually men demanding that you give them sex or a kind of sex that requires a lot more than usual trust. With women, it’s usually that you give them money or buy them things, or trust them with your property earlier in the relationship than this would be appropriate.
They make it a major crime that you don’t trust them when you don’t know them very well. They will also make it a crime that you don’t trust them after they have broken their word. “Give me a chance.” “I need a man/woman who trusts me.” Then there is the big curse, “You will end up alone/always end up with liars/never be able to have a relationship,” if you don’t open your spleen to them.
They feel insulted when you state that in a certain situation, you are watchful or put off. If you say that when X happens, you are watchful or you take it as a bad sign because this often indicates Y, and they behave as if you personally insulted them, you probably hit a nerve. Even a smart abuser will at least pretend and say that they are not like that. A person who is not an abuser may say the same, but they will have examples of their behavior, and other indicators that this is truly the case. It’s usually the dumber ones who get bent out of shape over hypotheticals that wouldn’t apply to them if they had good intentions.
People who play this sort of mindgame are only getting you to open up your soul so that they can take a squat and poop in it.
Your love is yours, and nobody is entitled to it who doesn’t love you. Even if you love your enemies, you don’t have to *express* that love to them. It is yours to give or not. Don’t let anyone use your kindness against you.
Credits: Thanks to Arden Keren for help with this article!