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“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.” Mark Twain

Married, now separated. Engaged, now you are back to being a girlfriend. You were girlfriend; now you are lovers. You were lovers; now you are friends. Any downgrade in your relationship status should indicate a substantial red flag.

The down-grader is having second thoughts. They are not sure you are going to be in their future. A subtle way of stepping back is downgrading your status. The words “take a break” may be said, or “I need some time.”

The distance can mean that they are going to shop you out. While they are looking for something better, they will keep you simmering on the back burner. If nothing else pops, you may get an upgrade in status. Begs the question, are you alright with being set aside?

Pay attention, and ask yourself a couple of questions. Is this what you want? Are you willing to accept less in a relationship you thought was going forward and now is going backward? What does your gut instinct tell you? Can you deny or excuse away the backward spiral? It may feel like waiting for an accident, the vultures are circling overhead, and you are terrified to move. I get it; breakups suck. Heartache may be something you want to put off, but how is your heart now?

If you found yourself in a less-than when you were more-than, how do you handle it?

I was engaged to a man that I adored. His family was my family; he was dynamic, affectionate, and fun. We were together for over five years before we became engaged. Very quickly after we were engaged, he unengaged us. I knew in my heart he would never marry me. I understood I wanted to be married. It wasn’t easy to back away from him. I loved him, but our togetherness would never be complete enough for me. He had one solid foot in but never the ‘marrying kind’. He was stunted, no moving forward with me. I could not change that fact and found myself a fool to try. I had to learn to see myself beyond the man I was trying to change. I disappeared into our relationship, becoming a meek version of myself. I share this story in my book “A Man for Every Purpose, My Naked Journey Searching for Love”.

I had to put what I wanted ahead of our relationship. A terrible curled up on the floor break-up. I went through gut-wrenching pain and self-disappointment. After acceptance cleared through all of me, I never regreted ending us. I allowed myself to have what I wanted…an all-in guy.

Finding me in myself was the best thing I did. I will not lie. It took me a while. Honestly, then there was no stopping me or what I truly wanted. I became mighty.

If you know what you want, I think you need to be brave enough to get it, have it, and cherish it. This is our walk, our journey through love, no one else’s. The good news is we get a million chances if you are willing to learn the lessons along the way. Knowing your journey, stepping into your lessons, and choices it will only get better.

Have you had a downgrade in relationship status? Make damn good and sure it is what you want too.

My Mantra: “Knowing where you stand in a relationship is ideal”