Recently, I received an email from a woman asking for relationship guidance. She said she was enamored with a man she met, and they could talk about anything. Their dates were fun, they were intimate together, and they seemed to understand each other well. However, she noticed that her boyfriend never invited her to spend time with his family or best friends. He would post photos of where they went on dates and what they ate, but never included her in the photo. It became clear to me that this woman was being (something millennials call) “stashed.” Stashing is when someone hides their date from their significant other or friends.
You may ask why anyone would let themselves be “stashed” or used by a person who pretends they don’t exist. They often allow it is because they never realize they’re being kept from that person’s life on every other level. They’ll tell you what you want to hear but will never introduce you to anyone as their girlfriend or boyfriend; chances are they will never talk about you to anyone. If confronted, the stasher will tell you you’re crazy and lower your opinion of yourself. Here are some tips to take care of you when you’re dating a stasher:
Stop making excuses. Everyone wants to be loved and having someone feels good; but when they are using you, it’s important you confront yourself with the truth.
Don’t waste your time blaming them because they aren’t going to change. Invest your time in someone you CAN change – yourself – and take responsibility for your part in all of this. Make a plan to leave the relationship.
Contact a mental health professional to help you build your self-worth and confidence. Learned helplessness is a real condition, and you’ll need a mental health professional who can emotionally support you as you exit this relationship. A professional can help you restore your self-worth so you won’t date another one.
Realize you’ve been in an emotionally-abusive relationship. Don’t go back for any reason.
Don’t beat yourself up when you remember “good times.” The good times are not a reason for staying with someone who takes advantage of your love.
We teach others how to treat us. Don’t ever allow someone to treat you carelessly or with disrespect. Dating has changed, but character is still the most important quality in a partner no matter what generation you were born into. –Mary Jo Rapini