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Toxic is a word thrown out often today. The social media trend explores people’s own toxic traits, toxic friendships, families, and relationships. This begs the question: what makes a romantic relationship toxic? And how do we know when enough is enough? Let me help you figure it out.

  1. Being unfaithful: Not every relationship is the same. There are open relationships, exclusive relationships, and many other kinds with their own defined parameters. But what happens when these agreements are broken? Cheating in a relationship isn’t impossible to overcome, but it does break trust, and once it’s damaged, trust is a hard thing to rebuild. X and I dated for 3 years, and it was within our first year of being together that I found out he had cheated, not only with one person, but two. After an emotional confrontation and a few weeks of time apart, we decided to continue seeing each other, only to be interrupted by uncovering X’s Tinder profile. After some more time apart, being blind to the pattern emerging we decided to stay together once more. After hiccups through this final year of dating, X called it quits to date another girl. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” isn’t always the case, however, in retrospect it was silly of me not to be cautious of him being unfaithful after the first time.
  2. “It will never happen again” …except it happens again. Accidents happen, sometimes our repetitive behaviors are hard to break. But where is the line drawn? If you find yourself constantly speaking out against behaviors that make you feel less confident in your relationship, it’s not good for you. I think it goes without saying, this was X’s go to line after being unfaithful. Don’t ignore the signs, guys.
  3. Losing yourself: Always remember who you are, your goals, your hobbies, your personality, and your drive. Don’t let your life revolve around your significant other. It’s natural to be disappointed when you can’t hang out with them. But don’t leave your friends behind, don’t forget put your S.O before your work or your sport. As time goes on, and depending on your level of commitment, the relationship will go up in priority. But, “you have to love yourself before anyone else” isn’t just a cliché. It’s something that can stick with you and get you through the harder times, and the times where your S.O can’t be there or isn’t there anymore. Dependency isn’t the worst thing but becoming overly-dependent can be detrimental to your mental and emotional health. ***NOTE: being in an extremely controlling or possessive relationship is an early sign of an abusive relationship. See the bottom of the article for more.
  4. Unhealthy Sex: Sex is an important thing in any relationship, whether you’re sexually active or not. If you are having sex, make sure the relationship doesn’t only revolve around sex or sexual activities. Foundations of some relationships can get lost once sex is brought into the picture. Along with this idea, make sure all parties are on the same page. If you aren’t having sex or are limited in sexual activities that you can participate in, make sure your partner(s) are clear with these conditions. Make sure all sexual acts are CONSENSUAL. Make sure all parties are comfortable.  ***NOTE: to learn more about consent, see the bottom of the article

These aren’t the only things that can signify an unhealthy or toxic relationship. Everyone has their own definition of what makes them uncomfortable and what doesn’t bother them. And sometimes, it’s hard to know when a relationship starts hindering you more than it helps you. We form relationships to find sanctuary, to be comfortable, to be loved and make us stronger. If you’re relationship isn’t giving you what you need, and what makes you happy, then it might be time to re-evaluate.

Abuse Hotline and Website:

                For the crisis hotline for abuse in PA, text CONNECT to 741741

                Or click here for more details.

Sexual Assault Information

Being in a romantic relationship with someone does NOT mean you have consent or don’t need to articulate consent.

Call (800) 656 HOPE or visit the website.

Jessica is a student athlete Communication Major at La Salle University, with concentrations in Public Relations and Communication Management. Along with being a member of the track team, she contributes as an intern and author for Double G Sports, and is a campus correspondent for Her Campus. In her career future, she hopes to work with a Public Relations team for and established sports figure or another well known organization.
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