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3 Key Ways to Protect Your Heart in a Relationship

Learn more about the 2–3–6 dating rule to follow.

By Jessey AnthonyPublished 2 years ago 6 min read

I have been in a relationship, two even, where the guys promised me everlasting love. We were going to get married, have children, and spend old age nourishing our love.

Fortunately, I had a child with one of them. Then tragedy struck, and he bolted. He got tired of waiting for me to recover. He didn't think I would walk again, so he gave up on us. We still keep in touch because of our daughter, but that betrayal stung for a long time.

Everlasting love. Marriage. These are the two relationship traps women fall for. It's disappointing and heartbreaking to believe you will be with someone for the rest of yourself only to be let down - miserable and forgotten.

We can't avoid the risks attached to love, but we can learn how to protect our hearts so we can make healthy and wise decisions in our relationships.

Our words and choices make up our actions. If we are able to train our thoughts to flow in a certain rhythm that predominantly puts our needs first rather than our wants, we will avoid making impulsive decisions that lead to bad and unhealthy relationships.

We will know when our partner's behavior or action do not align with our values and call them out or walk away.

Protecting your heart doesn't mean you should distance yourself, or be cold, or give silent treatment when you've been offended. It doesn't mean you should withhold your heart from loving.

It means protecting yourself from negative influences, toxic people, and behaviors that threaten your mental health. It means shielding your mind and body from anything that is not positive or fulfilling your life's purpose.

When you guard your heart in a relationship, you take time to consider how your partner is affecting your mood, attitude, thoughts, and choices. You think critically about his words and actions and how they influence your life.

To make things clearer, here are some ways to protect your heart in a relationship while being completely in love with your partner.

Unlearn cultural relationship norms

You must have heard that every relationship should lead to marriage when you were growing up. This is why most women are fixated on the outcome of every relationship they enter. The ultimate goal when you are in love is marriage.

Our mothers trained us to be good wives for husbands. I remember the time I told my mum I was in love. Her first question was, "Is he marriage material? "Can he take care of you and your children?"

These are probably typical questions any parent would ask. The problem is these questions put pressure on women. So we fill our heads with the relationship "outcome" instead of its "process."

When you focus on the process - building intimacy, we inevitably make better decisions based on who our partner is. Whether their values align with ours, and if we can tolerate their bad sides.

But when our focus is on the outcome, we compromise our standards and values to make the relationship work. We become the people pleasers. We start the fixing game - the one who tries to change our partner so they fit into our dreamlike image of who they should be.

Most of what we know about a relationship is so wrong that we timeless fall into desperation and ignore the red lights when we are in love.

Be content as you are

Have you ever been in your shell to a point you get uncomfortable looking in the mirror? You think you're not good enough to be with anyone until some guy comes around and tells you how beautiful and special you are.

Yes! We fall for this one too. We seek appreciation for our beauty, courage, or any kind of praise that signifies how awesome we are.

The truth is you are already awesome and special. You don't need to hear someone else say it before you believe it. If you keep degrading yourself, chances are you will forever be trapped in your own body. You will always be incomplete and lost.

You need to start believing in your special qualities. You need to trust yourself more because that's the only way you can escape the trap of "I'll be with you forever."

If you know that no one lives forever, then you should know putting all your hopes in someone is self-destructing.

Of course, it's beautiful to hear these romantic undying words of love, but it's more healthy to believe that most people professing their undying love won't give up their life for you if shits get down.

Take things slow at the beginning

New relationships are amazing. The flirting, cuddling, kissing, and pampering makes us lose track of time. And when you're lucky to find someone who loves you as much as you love them, you do anything for them.

Experts say women fall in love quicker than men. We are helpless when we are in love. Some people fall in love within seconds. They call it love at first sight. I call it reckless love.

I like taking my time to know a person's strengths and weaknesses before unleashing my heart. That's why I follow a 2–3–6 dating rule.

First, we start flirting with no strings for 2 weeks. If I find you interesting and fun, you will be upgraded to priority status for the next 3 months.

At this point, I will pay attention to your temperament, your vision, and your weakness. Throughout the first and second stages, I have no expectations. My focus is learning all I can about my partner to see if they complement my values and goals.

I always assume my date is in some kind of entangle before we met. Giving them 3 months is, so we both clean our cupboards without feeling guilty of cheating.

If their character is consistent with their words, I then move on to being committed for 6 months. In this stage, we bring in plans for our future. If we wanted to move in together or not. And what our ultimate goal is for the relationship.

I'm very particular about what I want in a partner, and spending 6 months is more than enough to know if we are compatible for the long haul. If we are not, the relationship ends right there with my heart intact.

The point is to take your time to unravel a person. Most people are good at pretending. When you rush into a committed relationship after a date or two, you miss the opportunity to know your partner's real personality. And they betray you; it stays with you.

Most often, the playboys don't last past 2 weeks. They quickly start making expectations of you, like giving them privileges meant for husbands.

Once you fall for this trap - thinking you are the only one for them, you start losing a bit of yourself little by little. Because husband privilege means you have to compromise, so if he's not what you need in a partner, you will have to compromise a lot to keep the relationship.

Now you have a weapon up your sleeve on how to protect your heart in a relationship. Instead of bottling your feelings and letting fear reside in your heart, try my 2–3–6 secret and see how it works for you.

If he cannot withstand your delay tactics and appreciate you for who you are, then how can he spend forever with you?

Love is a beautiful thing. If we can protect our hearts, we will build a sustainable, peaceful, and healthy relationship with ourselves and others.


About author

Jessey Anthony is a motivational speaker, fitness coach and relationship expert who helps people become confident in themselves in any challenges they face in life. Sign up to my newsletter & more cool stuff.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter, and Quora.

This article appeared here.


About the Creator

Jessey Anthony

Jessey is a travel addict, freelance content writer and fitness coach. Check out more from me at:

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