I started most relationships in my early 20s with a dizzying amount of stupidity.
Even though my parents had been married for 20-plus years, they didn’t have a relationship I would have ever wanted for myself. Thus, my relationship skills had bloomed in a sludge of pop culture manure: rom-coms, fairy tales, novels. Beautiful beginnings with no clear blueprint of how you navigate the muddy middle.
I thought love meant my partner or I had to be a vessel. Either I’d find a man so perfect and needless that I could pour myself into him, or he’d be so utterly broken that I’d be the only one that could help him fill in all of his cracks.
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I was set up to believe some habits were healthy when they weren’t. By being in a relationship with toxic behaviours, it would make the entire relationship toxic.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship occurs when one or both individuals lapses into their own self-interest, and the three traits of every healthy relationship — trust, respect, and love — fall out of balance. Often, one or more traits will drop off altogether.
In a relationship without respect, you’ll tolerate being treated like a doormat or discounted. In one without love, you’ll suffer from a lack of affection. In one without trust, you’ll tolerate lying and cheating. Without all three of the traits of a healthy relationship, your relationship will be and/or become unhealthy.
The five toxic habits you might think are healthy.
Whether it’s you or your partner acting out a particular habit, it’s not okay. ANY toxic behaviours will swing your possibly previously healthy relationship into unhealthy territory.
1. Being together all the time.
It’s common in the beginning of a relationship to become enmeshed, but relationships have to develop to mature.
Mature relationships require both individuals to individuate.
You come to realise that everything you do outside of your relationship (friendships, hobbies, etc.) contributes to you being a better partner.