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What I Learned from My Year-Long Toxic Relationship

I have heard a lot of people say that they don’t regret having been in a really bad romantic relationship because if they hadn’t have gone through it, they wouldn’t have learned or gained something out of it in the end. This is not fully true for me, as I do regret having to go through a terrible relationship and I truly wish I hadn’t. Toxic relationships are incredibly emotionally draining and after a while of reflecting upon my most recent toxic relationship, I realized that I had actually gained a lot of knowledge from it. 

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Infatuation is not love

Yes, it does feel amazing meeting someone new who actually shows interest in you and it’s even better when you get to spend all hours of every day and every night talking to each other about everything under the sun and more. It’s easy to fall into this trap if you let infatuation with a person, especially if you just met them, dictate your thoughts or feelings about them. This will lead the relationship off to a bad start right from the beginning because you’ll be constantly rushing to take the next steps in the relationship. Really get to know them first and enjoy the process. This will allow you to determine whether or not that person is right for you and if you decide that they are not, it’ll be easier to walk away from it and avoid deeply hurt feelings.  

Fall in love with actions, not words

Words are lovely. They make you feel good about yourself, especially if they are coming from someone you really care about; however, this may be a dangerous thing to rely on in a relationship. In the end, words are just words. If you notice that your partner is all talk and no action (i.e., has a way with words and knows very well how to talk to you and make promises without ever actually following through with any of them), then maybe it’s time to take a step back. This will just continue to accumulate bad energy within yourself. If you find yourself falling for words, this is like falling in love with the potential for the type of partner you hope will emerge someday through actions. Empty promises lead to disappointment and then lack of trust, which you really need to maintain a good and healthy relationship.

Discuss issues right away

This is true for most relationships, but especially in a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. For fear of disturbing the peace, causing tension, or losing my partner, I would often let things slide, even red flags: things that bothered me and really hurt me. When I would mention some of these things, I would seldom be satisfied or reassured because each time we didn’t work on the problems. The pain I had felt before just continued to grow and spread.

Don’t ignore red flags

Ignoring things that may be off is setting the relationship up to a wrong start. If you notice something off or if you blatantly see that something is wrong, do not ignore it for fear that no one will be interested in you again or for thinking that this person is the one. Listen to your gut as well; you know when something feels right and when something just doesn’t add up.

Best relationships form out of friendships 

Going from dating to full on titles, going from strangers to people who are now obligated to commit to each other and trust each other, are really big adjustments. When you’re friends first, it sets the two of you up with already-established genuine love, care, and trust in each other. That way, when you decide you want that commitment, it won’t be an obligation.  

If they never put you first, they’re not worth fighting for

In a lot of cases, this is understandable; your partner may have moments where they’re unable to put you first, or they may be really stressed and going through something and you need to be there for them. But if you notice that you are basically always an afterthought and you constantly have to ask for reassurance from your partner to make sure that they still care about you, or want to be with you, and you are always the one fighting to work things out, then maybe it’s not worth the fight anymore. They may genuinely be bad at communicating with you which is an issue that can be worked on, but if you mention the issue and your concerns to your partner about how this makes you feel and still, nothing changes, it might be time to understand that this person is not the one for you and may not care about you as much as they may say. This person is not ready to be in a committed relationship with you.  

To focus on and always love yourself

By the end of it, I found that I was so preoccupied with him, my feelings for him, and trying to be there for him, while at the same time trying to make it work, that I had put myself last just as he was doing and I was losing myself in the process. This realization caused feelings I did not know even existed; I was angry. But I then began to really focus on myself, my life, what I liked to do, what made me happy, school, family, and found my feelings melting away. I had discovered that I have the power over my happiness and not him. 

When to let go

As hard as it may be, it is possible and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to do this either because your state of mind and peace are also important when finally making steps towards this action. Throughout the relationship, I was constantly hurt, non-stop, and though I knew that I needed to get out of it, I was not ready or mentally and emotionally prepared to do so. It was not until things really started to get tiring and old that I just really didn’t care anymore. I realized that I had wasted a lot of my time, effort, and energy on potential and this took an extremely large toll on me, but it was this point that I knew I was prepared to let it all go. I had stopped lying to myself.

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