It’s clear from the messages Cardi B posted this week that she is suffering from what I call “Start Over Syndrome.” This means that you’d rather accept sub-standard behavior from your partner than go through the process of starting over: meeting someone new, falling in love, and learning to trust again.
It’s not just victims of cheating, like what Cardi B is allegedly going through with Offset, the man of many sex tapes. It’s also women and men who are just plain tired of putting themselves out there, swiping right and left, or lack confidence in what their options will be if they return to the dating pool.
How do you know if you’re in the right relationship or if you’re just hanging on as a sufferer of “Start Over Syndrome”? These are the signs that you need to reexamine your relationship.
Do you find yourself critiquing other people’s relationships. Are you silently judging when you see someone else engage in PDA? Or have you ever asked your partner why you can’t be like another lovey-dovey couple you know? If there is just a slight tinge of saltiness when you think of other’s happy relationships, you might need to admit that your relationship isn’t giving you what you need.
If I had a dime for every time one of the fans of the Dates & Mates podcast said they realized they were with the wrong person but couldn’t break up with them because they were too tired or too old to re-enter the dating pool, I’d have about $6.70. Lack of options should never be the reason to stay in a bad relationship. There are other fish in the sea and if the one you have is rotten, throw that thang back. You will love again.
Cheating is not necessarily a fire-able offense in a relationship. If you can get to the root of why it happen and address that core issue, it’s possible for a relationship to rebuild. However, it’s not possible if you’re stalking your partner’s Instagram every 10 minutes and interrogating them about every person in their contact list. If you can’t forgive, forget, and trust your partner again, you cannot remain in a relationship.
Difficult conversations are just that…difficult. Rather than talk, many people would prefer to give the other person a reason to break up with them. Since cheating is a deal-breaker for many relationships, that is one of the quickest ways to get out of a partnership. Whether your partner knows about your cheating or not, if you’re acting on impulses to sleep with other people, you are disrespecting your partner and your relationship. Save the drama and get out while you can.
Couples who have been together for a long time or those who have hectic work and travel schedules like Cardi B and Offset often develop separate friends, interests, and lives. A relationship in which you are apart more than you’re together can work but it requires much more effort to stay connected.
Years have gone by and you’ve both gotten comfortable. Maybe there was talk of marriage at some point but things never progressed in that direction. Even if tying the knot is not a goal for you, your relationship should continue to grow and evolve. You’re either growing together, apart or completely stuck in neutral. Get clear on where you want your relationship to go and if your partner isn’t on board, they need to keep it moving.
No matter what Cardi B and Offset decide to do from here, let this be a lesson that having Start Over Syndrome is not a reason to remain with the wrong person. No, every man does not cheat and yes, you can find someone again if your needs aren’t being met or if you’re being disrespected in your relationship, but you have to believe that yourself before you can make it true.
Damona Hoffman is a certified dating coach and TV personality (from #BlackLove and A Question of Love on FYI TV.) She gives weekly dating and relationship advice on The Dates & Mates radio show and podcast.
(Photo: Prince Williams/WireImage)