When I started dating my first serious boyfriend, I had really messed up views on how relationships should be.
I was adamant that there was a “perfect” way to relationship, and I knew how to do it! It included several rom-com style ridiculousness, like sitting on the same side of the booth at restaurants and never devolving into small chat. Always going deep!
Watch: Mamamia confessions – Our relationship dealbreakers. Post continues below.
He played along for, really, longer than you might think, and then he dumped me.
“You’re too controlling,” he told me.
That was not the last time I would hear that. It was a pattern that came to define how I thought about my early relationships: I knew how to have a perfect relationship, and if I could just find the “right” guy (aka a doormat), then we would have one and live happily ever after.
Before I took myself to therapy and did some real work, being “controlling” was a toxic behaviour I carried into each of my romantic relationships.
A relationship can only be as healthy as its unhealthiest member. If you keep being in toxic relationships, it could be because you keep picking bad people, but it could also be because you might be, like I was, bringing in some toxic behaviours.
It sucks to think that you might be the problem, but if the same issues keep arising again and again, you might need to look at the fact that you, and only you, are the common denominator. We all deserve healthy loving relationships, and those are not possible if they become toxic. Awareness is always the first step in making a change.
Here are some toxic things you may not even realise you’ve been doing to your partners.
1. You don’t respect their privacy.
Your last romantic partner cheated on you, and once you found out, all you can do is berate yourself for the fact that you missed all of the “signs.”
There were so many! you tell yourself. I am never missing those signs again!
Fast forward to your next romantic relationship: even though things are going great, you still find yourself trying to peek at their phone whenever they’re not looking, or you borrow their computer to “do some work” when really you’re trying to work out what their email password is.
Trust isn’t earned through complete access to all of your partner’s personal items. Neither can you demand such access. If you’re searching, you will likely keep searching, even if you find no evidence. You either trust, or you don’t, and if you do trust, you show it by respecting their privacy.