I have two 23-year-old women in my life who are both in bad relationships. This is not only my perspective, but they, themselves, often complain about their partners. Their mothers and sisters agree (the fathers aren’t around).
However, their partners know just what to say/do after a blow up to keep my friends around. Each of the women’s partners are immature, self-absorbed, manipulative, and lazy, leaning on each woman to supplement their meager income. There is some verbal abuse. When between jobs, instead of earnestly looking, they are distracted by video games, TV and goofing off.
And the cycle continues.
Having three decades on them, I can see the signs of a bad relationship not getting better. But whenever someone suggests each woman is being manipulated and can do much better, she gets defensive, standing up for her partner. We are concerned that they may get pregnant or elope which will make thing so much worse.
It made me think that we — you and I — could come up with some sage advice to pass on to our next generation. What lessons would the midlife you pass on to the twentysomething you if you could? What would you tell a much-younger you about critical signs for a good relationship and red flags? Since you are now much savvier, what wisdom would you impart?