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As I am renewing my routine of scrolling through Tiktok for hours every night, I seem to find myself on “Healthy vs. Toxic Relationship Tiktok”. It’s almost comical for me, considering I am currently within my first healthy relationship after a lengthy toxic one. I realized that all of the adjustments I faced are relevant for many people going through a similar situation. Personally, I didn’t even realize how toxic my relationship was while in it. The consistent mental and emotional abuse set me aside to turn into an insecure and dependent girlfriend that wasn’t who I was as a person. I was constantly aching for calls, a simple text back, or just a few moments where I could make him happy, even if it meant putting myself in harm’s way. It became mentally ingrained into my head that this is how every relationship is supposed to be. In the end, I was grateful that I could get away from this individual but I never realized how much work I would end up doing in order to grow as a person and hold a stable relationship. 

Before diving into the awakening that I had when  I started that first healthy relationship, it is important to emphasize how crucial time alone after a toxic relationship is. When getting out, deep inside there is a breath of fresh air, a moment that the body relaxes, but it doesn’t stay long. This is because mentally, the brain isn’t used to cutting off communication with its abuser. Having time alone allows the brain to heal and refocus on the person that you want to be, not someone else trying to control you. Spending time with friends and family was a crucial part of helping me to continue on the path I wanted to. I was single for a while after this relationship and, to be frank, was still “in love” with the person that had this massive hold over me. I thought that I was ready to just rebound and find someone new that could take the place of this person. Take that time, as long as it may be, and find that piece of you that loves yourself. 

Now, onto the happy ever after. I feel so fortunate to have found someone that respects my views on the world and brings those into our relationship. The easiest path that I could’ve gone down would be to seek a partner that was just as toxic while keep spiraling down a rabbit hole, but I waited. I found a companion that communicates and lifts me up on a bad day but also holds me accountable for my actions. While it may all seem like rainbows and butterflies, there were so many unspoken adjustments that I had to make. Here are just a few that I have come across. 

  1. Feeling bored in the beginning because you are so used to the extremes

Toxic relationships are either at an extremely high or an extreme low. Those neutral calm moments are so rare, that finally finding a healthy relationship may feel boring at first. It seems so calm and I even found myself attempting to start arguments before I had to rethink what I was doing so I didn’t push my partner away.

  1. Insecurity without anything to prove that there shouldn’t be trust

Being used to a lack of communication can raise trust issues in any person. Toxicity can promote that by a partner gaslighting you into thinking that you’re crazy which can only make things worse. There were moments where I was panicking whether this person I was seeing actually liked me or was telling the truth about who he was or what he was doing. This wasn’t because I needed to know, it was because I was so used to being lied to that I couldn’t trust anything anyone said for a long time. I was fortunate to have patience and reassurance from the other side or else I would have psyched myself out. 

  1. Being independent while in a relationship

Many unhealthy relationships tend to isolate the couple by either the actions of one person or both. It is healthy to have alone time and see friends. In fact, nowadays, I love it because I can go back and have something to talk about with my partner. This was probably the hardest adjustment I had to make because I was so used to being blamed if I wasn’t there to answer the phone or respond to a text that I was scared to do anything else but live in the relationship. 

These adjustments are just a few things that I have had to learn but have also given me security and happiness in life. They are so rarely publicized and while every situation is different, there are a lot of similarities that occur. One thing to know is that you are never alone, someone that is supposed to love and cherish you shouldn’t make you hurt. Coming from a romantic, we all deserve love and it is never too late to experience happiness whether receiving it from someone else or, especially, from yourself. 

With love,

Kiera

**Edited by Annie Stibora

Hi! I am a junior business student at UVM. I love looking for new trends coming up every season and I'm passionate about music and reading. I'm interested in exploring all the unexpected things life has to offer and am excited to share them along the way!
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