Listening to Love is Blind by Alicia Keys
So, if you’ve read more than a few of my blogs, you’re well aware of the fact that I’m a proud Libra. I’m also a rising Scorpio. Think what you want about us, but our loyalty cannot be questioned. We are ten-toes-down, right-or-wrong-loud-and-strong loyal to friends, family, and loved ones. I’ve stayed in more failing relationships than I can count for far longer than I care to share because of this strong sense of undying duty. As a result, I’ve wondered if loyalty was an honorable, respectable trait or just another character flaw.
When it comes to relationships, loyalty is the cornerstone of strength and endurance. It often looks like unwavering support and commitment. There’s no doubt that loyalty can be a beautiful and essential factor in a thriving relationship.
But, there’s a fine line between healthy loyalty and blind loyalty, and crossing it can have toxic consequences.
What is Blind Loyalty?
Blind loyalty in a relationship is an unshakable commitment and allegiance to your partner, even when it comes at the expense of your own peace of mind and well-being. It’s the type of loyalty that blinds you to the negative aspects of the relationship and prevents you from recognizing or acknowledging glaring red flags. Once again, loyalty is a great thing, but when it becomes blind, we definitely have a problem here.
The Perils of Blind Loyalty
- Lack of Individual Growth. If you ever find yourself suppressing your individual goals, dreams, and aspirations or compromising your ambitions to accommodate your partner’s desires, this is ain’t it, sis. If you feel the need to sacrifice your personal growth for the sake of the relationship, that means you don’t have a partner who supports you in return. In such cases, your relationship becomes all-consuming, and your identity outside of it fades away.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with becoming one in a marriage. But that doesn’t mean losing your own identity. Healthy relationships inspire and encourage personal development and growth. It’s essential to strike a balance between being loyal to your partner and staying true to your own goals and aspirations. Win he wins, you win and vice versa. You’re winning together.
- Suppressing Your Feelings. When we prioritize our partner’s happiness to the point where we ignore our own emotions, it’s a matter of time before we’ll reach our boiling point. Suppressing our authentic feelings builds up resentment, frustration, and unexpressed pain. These are recipes for disaster because everyone has a breaking point, and it often happens in a toxic way.
A healthy relationship looks like both partners feeling comfortable expressing their true feelings to one another through open and honest communication. The key to creating space for your feelings in your relationship is learning the value you hold as an individual, apart from your partner. Your partner should be invested in resolving conflict and nurturing the emotional intimacy in your relationship.
- Perpetuation of Unhealthy Behavior. Displaying blind loyalty can inadvertently cause us to enable destructive behavior. Whether it’s turning a blind eye to addiction, accepting abusive behavior, or allowing neglect to persist, we may be unknowingly reinforcing negative patterns.
Instead, strive for mutual support and accountability in your relationship. The goal is to address issues head-on and finding the courage to advocate for ourselves when we witness unfavorable behavior or actions that make us uncomfortable.
- Dissolution of Trust and Honesty. Blind loyalty does not equal trust. Refusing to acknowledge or address our partners’ shortcomings or misdeeds by turning a blind eye means that we’re not placing values in trust or honesty.
When we confront issues honestly and openly as soon as they occur in the relationship, even when it’s uncomfortable, we are doing the work necessary to establish peace, respect, and trust. Trust is built on transparency and authenticity – speaking up when it counts and showing up as you are.
- Lack of Accountability/Placing Blame. If you ever feel like you bears the brunt of responsibility while your partner avoids accountability, this can lead to resentment, real quick. In order to thrive as a couple, you should share responsibility and accountability for your actions.Create an environment where bothof you can can grow and learn together through disagreements, misunderstandings, and missteps.
- Emotional Burnout. If you feel like you have to consistently put your relationship above all else, emotional burnout is inevitable. Constantly prioritizing someone else’s needs over your own can be overwhelming and it takes a huge emotional toll over time. If you’re in a position where you’re caring for your partner, you still need to maintain a balance by working routine self-care into your schedule. Remember, your relationship should be a source of love, support, and happiness, not emotional exhaustion.
- Inability to Adapt and Evolve. Blind loyalty can make it challenging for your relationship to grow and change as life’s circumstances often require.
Flexibility is essential to in order to embrace change, work together, and support each other when facing life’s challenges. If you don’t have a solid partnership or the security of knowing you can rely on your partner, growth will be hard to attain.
Adjusting Your Loyalty Standards
I’m not asking you to abandon your sense of loyalty. Like I mentioned, loyalty is a good thing. But we all need to recognize toxic traits and take steps to address it when necessary. Here’s how:
Heighten your self-awareness: Reflect on your own needs, desires, and boundaries in your relationship. Make of list of potential healthy and blind loyalty traits you’ve observed in your relationship and work on a plan to address the areas that concern you.
Establish open communication: Create an environment where you both feel safe to express your true feelings, concerns, and goals. The time for having honest conversations is at all times. This lets you focus on identifying and resolving issues in your relationship.
Demonstrate mutual support: Shared responsibility and accountability are key for a happy, thriving relationship. You should be focused on each other’s personal growth and committed to celebrating individual achievements. Remember, your win should also their win.
Striking a balance: Maintain a healthy balance between your personal well-being and your commitment to your partner. Your happiness shouldn’t be stemmed in being with your partner. It should come from within. Find out what happiness looks like outside of your relationship and gain your partner’s support in going after it.
I’ve learned the toxic consequences of blind loyalty firsthand. It wasn’t until I recognized what triggered my behavior that I was finally able to understand why I felt the need to lend my time, energy, and attention to situations that were no longer serving me. I was then prepared to establish ground rules for my relationships that allowed me to feel comfortable being loyal to my partner. So, get clear on the terms of loyalty you’re comfortable with offering. Remember, this looks like whatever it looks like. Only you can decide what it entails. Here’s a list of prompts you can use to get started.
Just know that being confident with your standard of loyalty in your relationship can lead to a healthier, more fulfilling partnership—one where both of you will grow, thrive, and add new layers of happiness to your lives, together.