When it comes to relationships, some of us have had the unfortunate but eye-opening experience of being in at least one extremely toxic one. If we were lucky, our first experience was enough to be our last, someone us have to go through various toxic relationships until we realize what is really wrong with us or our partner. Sometimes, you are so deep in the trenches that just can’t even see the mess you are in until reality hits you in the face.
We human beings have the tendency to idealize things that we want. There have been studies that claim to have shown that being in “love” actually makes your lover seem more attractive, intelligent, and desirable than they really are. This is probably true, and I’m sure we can all look back at people dated ask say, “Wow, what the hell was I thinking?” That is how powerful being infatuated or falling in love can be – it’s so powerful that you literally fall head-over-heels obsessed with the other person, and in most cases, the idea of what the other person could be, instead of who they actually are.
When it comes to dysfunctional relationships, people usually hold on because they are deeply invested; whether it be finances, dependants, emotions, or even that so much time has passed that they feel there is no way out. I think people rather try to make the best of the situation they are in, and endure hardships if they aren’t too extreme, in order to avoid the amount of pain and suffering or energy it would take to get out. So ultimately, when we do realize we are in a shitty relationship, we try to focus on the bright side and tend to convince ourselves of reasons not to leave, in some sort of trade-off were we lose anyway.
People focus solely on some possible bright future tend to ignore the reality that exists now. They have this “hope” that one day things will get better if they just wait it out. Some people remember how things were, and get stuck on the idea that their relationship can be how it once was like in the beginning and all the pain will go away one day. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Again, our wishful thinking keeps us afloat but we aren’t living in reality. This is an extremely flawed way of thinking and will bring nothing but long term pain and suffering for both people involved.
So what are some signs that you may be in such a situation yourself?
1.) Physical abuse: Whether a one-night instance where you got slapped by your drunk lover, or you endure a continual barrage of chronic physical abuse; when it gets to these points, the trust is broken and it’s probably going to be over. The person that you used depend on protect you has now become someone who will harm you when things go wrong. Maybe you could try to forgive the first incident, but then you can’t blame them if they were to do it again. Maybe they will never hit you again, but you will never forget that they have and this could leave you with a deep emotion scar. Unless you can truly forgive what happened, chances are your relationship will end, and it definitely should end if this is a continuous thing; no ifs, ands or buts about it. I think the only time you should ever be allowed to hit your partner, is if they turned into a flesh-eating zombie and are trying to eat you and your children. Other than that, I think it’s unacceptable and extremely unhealthy. If violence is present in your relationship from either of you; yes women even you, then it’s consider leaving.
2.) Addiction: Whether it’s gambling, drugs, alcohol, or something else, when your partner is an addict, to the point that it becomes a problem and is effecting your wellbeing, the relationship is most likely doomed. The reason for this is that trust is truly broken, as you know their addiction will be top priority which means that they will lie and betray you in order to fulfill their needs. If they acknowledge their faults and want to change for the better, then there is hope in saving your relationship. However, if they do not wish to stop their addictive behavior, then it would be in your best interest to leave. If they are not willing to change or they cannot change, you don’t have to feel sorry for them. You are in a relationship to be someone’s partner; not to be their therapist or savior. If things don’t change, you know where the door is. Maybe you leaving will force them realize it’s time they make some serious adjustments in their life; whether you are in it or not.
3.) Deception: Although our lovely media has made you believe lying is normal for men and women, it’s not normal for a healthy relationship. The most important thing that needs to be in place in order to have a real, deep and meaningful relationship with someone else is trust. If you can’t tell someone the truth and are constantly finding ways to avoid getting in trouble, or avoiding confrontation because you are afraid to tell the truth, then you should reconsider what you are doing. If you can’t be yourself or you can’t do things you want to do because it will hurt the other person, maybe you should find someone else who will appreciate you for you or not be in a relationship at all. If you are being lied to or you are constantly lying to someone else to maintain peace, then maybe it’s time you stop deceiving yourself and end your relationship. If you can’t be honest with yourself, there is no way you can be honest with anyone else.
4.) Cheating: Unless you have an agreement to be in an open relationship, cheating is unacceptable. But what is cheating exactly? I think it is really the betrayal of the promise to be with that person only; in other words, a violation of the loyalty contract you made with them. But what if the situations is so complex that both people somehow contributed to it? People usually think cheating is malicious or some sort of evil plot, but usually it’s because something is missing from the relationship that used to exist but has gone away for some reason. The partner affected may not want to lose their lover, but also cannot live without their needs being met. They may even voice their needs over and over to their lover, but to no avail, until eventually, someone else comes and they are drawn to them. In order to fix something like this, forgiveness may work only if both parties acknowledge that they each played a part in this and are willing to make the necessary changes and put the past behind them. I have seen this happen before and watched couples grow stronger because of it. It won’t be easy but it is possible. However, if the person is a habitual cheater who just wants to have their cake and eat it too, while your relationship is actually fulfilling, then it’s time to walk out the door and have some respect for yourself.
5.) You’ve grown apart: Over time, people just naturally begin to drift apart:; interests change, goals change, attraction dies, chemistry ends and people begin to want to take a different path in their life. If you are starting to feel this way in regards to your relationship, then I think you must tell your partner the truth. It is unfair to keep dragging this along just because you are afraid to hurt their feelings. People’s feelings will always get hurt, and ultimately, it’s their problem, not yours if they are unable to deal with them. Sometimes telling your partner that you are growing apart may even lead to a conversation where you both find ways to get on the same path again. Sometimes it will end it and it will be the best for both of you. Either way, it’s a win-win situation or being honest is really the best thing for both of you in this case. So tell them the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
6.) Disrespect: This can come in many forms, but here I am referring to someone mistreating their partner via constant verbal abuse, mind games, and degradation. If you’re in a relationship where your partner is the type to put you down, talk down to you, or constantly belittle you in front of others, then it’s time to reconsider your relationship. You’re only move at this point is put out an ultimatum and demand they instantly stop this disrespectful behavior towards you, otherwise you will leave. If they don’t stop, then you need to stop disrespecting yourself and head for the door. You deserve someone who will respect you and treat you well, but no one is going to do that if you don’t respect yourself first.
7.) Bad communication: If you are in a relationship where both of you are lacking skills in the communication department, then it will most likely naturally fail on its own over time. Constant miscommunications will turn small issues into giant arguments that could have been avoided. Eventually, one day you will find yourself breaking up over something as stupid as the toilet seat. Of course the toilet seat being up isn’t the real problem at all; what really is the problem are the deep underlying problems of your relationship that were never discussed. If your partner doesn’t talk to your like they’re your best friend, then you really don’t have a true relationship with them. If you are looking for a deep, meaningful connection where you can share everything that’s on your mind and have great conversations, I suggest you walk out that door, otherwise you will be forced out the door after months of painful frustration and endless drama.
8.) Unbalanced: If you find yourself in a relationship that is totally unbalanced in the favor of your partner, than you are not in a relationship, you are in a dictatorship. A healthy relationship is balanced and both partners play off each other; each contributing to the other at different times. There may be a time where you need to help your partner, and another time where they need to help you. If you are treating them like royalty while they leave you feeling like a worthless peasant, then it’s time for you to get going. It may be hard for you to leave when you feel less appreciated, but that in itself should be enough to go out and get someone who will appreciate you more.
9.) Ego based: Sometimes, someone will become the object of our desire simply because they are a challenge to us. We can easily fall victim to this ego trick; especially when we want to conquer what we think we can’t have and will lead us to do or allow things we would never tolerate in order to obtain them. What starts off as a desire, can lead into an infatuation and, in time, a complete disaster. If you’ve finally realized that you have gotten yourself stuck with someone who you have sacrificed your own dignity to be with, then you need to stop and realize that this person knows that you value them more than yourself, and will use that to manipulate you. In fact, you may have already realized this to be the case and feel powerless, but you’re not. The only way to redeem yourself is to get the hell out of this kind of relationship, otherwise, you will fall into an unhealthy power-struggle that will drain the life out of both of you.
10.) It’s only physical: If the only thing you have going in your relationship is physical attraction and sex, eventually you will get bored of it and it will come to an end. If you partner has more feelings than you and wants more, then the right thing to do is leave; if not, then enjoy. If you are the one who has more feelings, and your partner doesn’t want to move forward, then you should probably leave and find someone else who will take you more seriously.
11.) It’s a soap opera: If your relationship is like a TV soap opera and you’re not an actor, then it it’s time to end the drama. If you hate drama and aren’t walking out the door the first sign that you are dating a unstable drama queen, then you deserve every annoying fight and issue that comes along your way; having no one to blame but yourself. If your partner has no interest in correcting their childish behavior, then the final act should be you heading for the door.
These 11 things I listed are only guidelines of when I think you should leave your relationship, and by no means are they laws. We are not all the same, nor are all of us in the same exact situations, but we must be wise and careful with our tolerance. We need to know the difference between forgiveness and weakness; and the difference between mistakes and manipulation. Sometimes the situation does dictate and people can choose how they want to handle their relationships.
Years ago, I actually stumbled across an article like this when I was too weak to walk away from a terribly toxic relationship I was in, and it helped me clear my mind and find the strength to leave. Maybe this will give you that same strength so you can do what’s best for you. I hope you found this article to be useful, as that one article I read was for me.