You might be missing the signs of a toxic relationship
You’re in a relationship—the sky is clear, the birds are chirping and the world is healing. It’s you and your SO against the world. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything. Even red flags look pretty in pink, so if you’re looking at life through rose-tinted glasses, it’s very likely for you to miss them. Before you know it, it’s your SO—and, possibly, the world—against you.
I know because I’ve been there. A student leader on the Dean’s List dating a reformed fuckboy? Straight out of Wattpad! But I should’ve known that it was better off as a fictional story. I can spend all day looking through my long list of examples, but one that stands out is a guy who would frequently talk about settling down and having a future together, but whenever I asked him to DTR, he’d tell me that I was pressuring him and being inconsiderate of his growth. The ending? He cheated on me by having phone sex with one of his previous fuck buddies who had COVID at that time (to make it even worse, he didn’t tell her about me until after they did it). Funny, yes! But also scary—if I didn’t know about it, I would have remained blinded by love and stayed with him.
Thank God I realized I’m not Bob the Builder to go around trying to fix someone who doesn’t think they need fixing in the first place. But I wouldn’t have done it without the countless hours of talking to my friends, trying to unlearn everything I thought I knew and listening to Taylor Swift’s Dear John on repeat. I was able to rise from one of my lowest lows and, to be honest, I still am trying every single day. I’ve come so far though, and I’m finally able to do what my loved ones wanted for me: to remove my rose-tinted glasses before it was too late and take a good long look at the telltale signs of a toxic relationship.
Sounds familiar? Here are some signs that you may actually be missing:
You’re sacrificing your values
Your personal values serve as a compass that guides your decisions. These are the beliefs that you spend most of your life nurturing. If your partner gets you to agree to things you normally wouldn’t—especially if disguised as a form of compromise—then it’s time to do some thinking, honey. Sacrificing your beliefs will lead you to enable unacceptable behavior. Stand by your values; don’t be with someone you don’t like and don’t be that someone, as well.
You’re scared to communicate what you want
Wanting to please your SO may seem like a characteristic of a good partner, but always settling for what they want, despite it being against what you do, may be a sign of a toxic relationship. This hyper fixation on partner-pleasing could be rooted in fear of disappointing them, causing them stress or even instigate a fight. It shows that you’re doing it out of fear, not love or respect.
A relationship is a two-way street. You make up half of the partnership, so why shouldn’t you have a voice in it? Be assertive, especially if you know you’re in the right. You are your own person. Sure, thinking of what they want is nice, but are they doing the same and being considerate of you?
View this post on Instagram
You take your partner as they are
If your partner pulls the “take me or leave me” card, do consider the latter. Common red flags can be found in these kinds of statements. When you raise a concern regarding your non-negotiables, they’ll say, “This is who I am.” At some point, you’ll convince yourself that you’re responding out of unconditional love. Hate to break it to you, but you’re not. It’s your anxiety in the thought of losing them that pushes you settle—no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.
Taking your partner as they are because they refuse to better themselves hinders growth, not just for your relationship, but for you and your SO as individuals. (P.S. This doesn’t mean you should condemn them for past mistakes that they’ve already worked on and can’t do anything about.)
The signs aren’t always noticeable, and it takes a lot to recognize them, but it will take even more from you—mentally, emotionally and physically—if you continue tolerating them. Being in love with someone is no reason to ignore the unsettling feelings they cause. And just so you know, everyone has the tendency to be toxic. Watch yourself, too.
Words Kyla Villena
Art Macky Arquilla