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Broken Engagement: Avoiding Betrayal

The case of Demi Lovato

Frank Schwichtenberg / Wikimedia/Free Use
Steer clear of blind trust
Source: Frank Schwichtenberg / Wikimedia/Free Use

Many people who are looking for love hope to be swept off their feet. The idea of a whirlwind romance is the subject of many novels and movies. But for some, it can end up being a sad fairy tale—not based in reality and often with an unhappy ending.

Recently, celebrity couple Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich called off their engagement after a rapid-fire love affair that began in March and led to a marriage proposal in July. Demi has talked publicly about how her music is getting her through her heartbreak. And while it isn’t clear what caused their relationship’s demise, it is not unusual when love is put on such a fast track.

Often you can meet someone and before you know it you believe you are head over heels in love with them, and they might appear to adore you equally. The problem is, sometimes who you think you are in love with and who that person really is are two different things.

Even so, it is very easy to go from the shallow end to the deep end of the pool and find yourself in over your head, attached to someone who might not have your best interests in mind. In fact, they may have their own agenda. As a result, while you see their devotion as intended to make you happy, it is really about getting what they want from you. It is like being in a bubble bath, it just feels so great in the moment the last thing you want to do is question it or take a closer look.

How can you make sure you really know your new partner and that your connection is real? How can you avoid being scammed and winding up heartbroken? And the most important question is, how can you protect yourself?

The first thing to do is to take inventory of what you are bringing to the relationship. Are there things you can offer that could greatly benefit your new partner? Do you have professional connections that might help them? Can you assist them with their work? Do you have financial resources they can profit from? In the same way, someone might have to think about a prenuptial agreement to make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of, think in those terms.

Consider also what they are bringing to the table, and if it is equal or one-sided. If what you have far outweighs what they have, and they are clearly in need of it (rent money, an introduction to an important person you know in their field), remain aware and hesitant to jump in with two feet until you learn more.

Another thing to think about is what they are giving you that has made you so enthralled. In many ways that initial love and attention, which may consist of flattery, compliments, and presents that appear to be thoughtful, are easy to give. While it can feel very powerful, the compliments may really be superficial because they can be given or said to anyone. Are their compliments personal and truly tailored to you?

Think about what else they are offering you. Are they supportive? Do they consider your needs? Or do they twist the actions that they say they are doing for you to end up being all about them? Do they overwhelm you with demands to be with them, to cuddle, for example, when you are working toward a deadline for your job and feel stressed, under the guise of wanting to be with you and express their love?

A third indicator of someone’s true nature is to look to their relationships with family and friends. Have you ever met their loved ones? Do you know the history they share with other people in their life? Have they had long ongoing friendships and connections, or many short ones that have now ended completely? Are they isolated with few to no friends? Ask yourself how much of their life they are willing to share with you, as opposed to how much they are looking to just inhabit your world without inviting you into theirs.

With all this in mind, you can begin to piece together the puzzle of who this person really is and what their intentions are. Be mindful of your generosity so you don’t set the pattern of being the provider. Limit yourself, and if they push you for more, that is a red flag. Can you trust them? Do they follow through with promises? Let them show you they are trustworthy by backing up their words with their actions. If what they say and don’t line up, that’s another red flag.

Unfortunately for so many, the initially perceived magic ends up being anything but. It is too easy to be blinded by love and wind up with blind trust. As I said in my book How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal, if you lead with blind trust, you are apt to get blinded by the reality about the person you are with and end up feeling betrayed.

When all is said and done, the most important thing you can do is trust your gut. If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. That knowledge will allow you to steer clear of a broken heart. If you have dealt or are dealing with heartbreak, maybe next time, if you keep these things in mind, you can find your happily ever after. And hopefully, Demi Lovato can, too.