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Let’s say there were two lovers — Freddie and Joselyn — in a relationship. The two lovebirds hit it off almost immediately. In a few weeks, Freddie told Joselyn he wanted them to move in together, and Joselyn was game. The thought that it was quite early for such a decision occurred to her, but she brushed it aside.

Freddie went on to make a number of “demands” in the relationship, and Joselyn went along with them each time. A year into the relationship, loverboy says he’s no longer interested in the relationship. Joselyn was hurt and broken! But while she mourned the love that had so quickly faded, she found herself feeling free for the first time in a long while. That was when she knew how messed up that relationship was, no thanks to her yes-man ways.

Love is sweet and fun, warm and comforting, but relationships are complex. For many of us, we are overwhelmed by the emotions — the butterflies in the tummy — and fail to see that relationships are so much more. Real talk, if you’re not in a relationship just for the cruise, then you need to use your head as much as your heart, if not more.

Naturally, we all want to say “yes” to the people we love; we want to give them what they want because we love to see them happy. But no relationship lasts or succeeds that way. You need to understand that the relationships that work are not the ones where one partner perpetually takes while the other is a bottomless giving pit.

Think of your relationship as a career. No, not the jobs you take because there’s nothing else and you pay your bills. I mean, your career — that path you’re passionate about and would love to explore for life. You know how seminar resource persons emphasize the need to be intentional and create clear-cut goals? (Cue the timeless S.M.A.R.T.) 

This is the same thing you need to do in a relationship, and one of the first places to start is defining and communicating what you don’t want.

Here are reasons why: