I don’t like to brag, but over decades of personal research I have become somewhat of an expert on bad relationships. Although I am in a happy marriage now, I can definitely check each one of these off my list of ex-lovers. Some true winners even fit into more than one category.
Here, for your reading pleasure, are six kinds of toxic relationships. I’m sure there are more, but I am only one woman.
The One-Sided Love Affair
Ah, unrequited love – fuel for poetry, music, and bad relationships everywhere. One person is desperate to make it work, clinging to their deeply held personal image of a connection that does not exist in reality. The other person may seem cruel, cold, and callous – but more likely they are just clueless and uninterested. It doesn’t really matter, because whatever their reasons, their partner is going to end up heartbroken when they wake up to the fact that they’re in it alone. If you are the taker in a relationship like this, the kind thing to do is to let them down gently. If you are the giver, as hard as it is, you need to stop giving right now. Either the object of your affection will miss you and start giving you the attention and care that you deserve, or, more likely, they will disappear and leave you free to pursue someone who will reciprocate your affections. Either way, you win.
The Idolized Infatuate
Do you put your partner up on a pedestal? It might be time to let them down, or let them loose. Idealizing your partner gives you unrealistic expectations of the relationship, and does not give them the freedom to be human. The pressure to be perfect can be suffocating, and it may be keeping your partner from opening up to you about their fears and insecurities – the very things that they need you to be there through. Let your significant other know that you embrace their flaws, and they will be more inclined to share them with you. This will allow you to connect on a much deeper level and build a more sincere and trusting relationship.
The Unforgiving Union
We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Failing to forgive breeds distrust, resentment, the inclination to punish, and a good reason to lie – quickly pushing you into one of the categories below. If your partner has done something truly unforgivable, you need to end the relationship. If it’s something you can get past, however, you need to make a sincere effort to work through the problem – don’t hold onto it just to hold it over their head later.
The Distrustful Duo
If you do not trust your partner, you will spend the entirety of your relationship feeling scared and insecure. If you do not have your partner’s trust, you will be forever walking on eggshells, never feeling good enough or strong enough. Either way, the relationship is doomed unless you learn to build some trust. If you can do that, your love will be built on a firm foundation of security and solidarity, and your home will feel peaceful and emotionally safe. Everyone needs a person to fall into once in awhile and you need to be sure that your partner is willing and able to catch you when that moment inevitably comes.
The Punishing Pair
You should never be scared of your significant other. If your relationship includes any kind of punitive behavior, it is time to get out of it. This includes physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, as well as less harmful behaviors that indicate the intent to penalize your partner for their conduct. These can include finding ways to “get back at” them, withholding affection as a means of control, or spending money excessively out of spite. If you are intentionally hurting one another, you are not working through your problems constructively and acting as a team. It may feel therapeutic, but punishing your significant other can damage your relationship beyond repair.
The Lying Lovers
If you are lying to your partner, then you are not only making it impossible for them to trust you – you are also putting up a wall. Partners who keep big secrets from one another are not able to connect on a truly deep level, because they can never know who their significant other really is. A need to hide the truth also indicates that you are engaging in behavior your partner would find unacceptable. If you value your connection, you have no choice but to come clean. Let your guard down, and tell your partner who you truly are. Your lover might surprise you and stick around to build a more honest and open connection. If they run, they were never meant for you anyway.
If any of these apply to you, you have two choices: fix it, or RUN. Either way, I wish you the best of luck in reaching your happy ending!