Unfortunately, there's no guide on how not to be a
shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. In fact, many of us go through life worshiping that dizzying, irrational romantic love that somehow finds busting the windows of a car in a fit of tears somewhat endearing. Reality TV leaves us with a false definition of love, Hollywood couples seem to crumble everyday and well our culture’s take on self-love over everything doesn't leave much to be desired.
So, we take what we can get and hold on... no matter what. Only issue is, that’s not love and many of the principles we accept as normal, actually go against what is traditionally considered “romantic” in our relationships.
Here are five toxic relationship habits MOST people think are totally normal but aren't:
Imagine there’s a scorecard and each of you keep track of the other’s shortcomings in order to justify current righteousness. When both people in the relationship do this, it becomes a endless fight to see who is less culpable and who owes the other one MORE of an apology.
This is an overall lose-lose situation. Not only are you adding salt to wounds by drudging up past transgressions, but you’re totally dodging the current issue itself. Should this behavior continue, you and your partner will spend more energy on breaking each other down, than building each other up.
You must recognize that by choosing to be in a relationship, you are choosing to accept all their prior mistakes. If you don’t accept this, then ultimately, you do not accept them and should not be in the relationship.
Trying to elicit jealousy to get your partner's attention.
You may be doing this in many different ways. For example, maybe you flirted with someone hoping that your boo might notice. Or, maybe you purposely ignored a text your partner sent while you were hitting the club with friends. You may have taken this one step further and called an ex just to stir the pot and hope that your significant other notices and makes him want to work harder.
Let's assume you “love” your boo–yet you know that these actions aren't “cute,” but in fact will be hurtful and create a feeling of distrust. Maybe your play for attention will even cause your partner to call it quits. Why, then, are you purposely hurting someone you love?
We get it. Once we start dating someone, we want them to think we're the best thing since sliced bread. We want them to maintain our relationship. In saying that, keep in mind that they chose you! There is no need to go above and beyond for attention, when by entering a relationship with you, he/she has said “I'm calling you my girl and taking you off the market, because girl... you’re the bomb.”
Does your partner consistently behave inappropriately and then blame you for it? Say you catch your man (or woman) red handed, getting a little too close and comfortable with someone else. Instead of apologizing and begging for forgiveness, he’ll immediately blame you for not being there for him, so he entertained other options.
I bet this instantly made you feel guilty and inadequate and wanting to try harder. This is a form of emotional blackmail. Many times, young couples function on a level that isn’t healthy for either party, yet each person seems hell bent at holding on, no matter the cost. Their love for each other and desire to remain in a relationship is stronger than the real, toxic problems they’re facing.
Other situations involving emotional blackmail could look be as simple as your partner making you take responsibility for him or her failing to get ahead in their career. Or blaming each other for being held back financially or having no friends. At the end of the day, this type of behavior leads to only one thing... insecurity. If you believe you’re being emotionally blackmailed, remember this... it’s not your job to take responsibility for another person’s actions. Your partner made their bed and needs to lie in it.
Taking them back again and again.
While Hollywood is littered with couples like Princess and Ray J, Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, all whom accepted infidelity as a part of life. In other words, let cheating slide... for now. Fact of the matter is, in the real world, cheating is never okay. There are far too many fish in the sea to live in constant mental torment over whether your significant other is where they say they are, etc., etc.
While forgiveness may come easy at first, there’s no guarantee this behavior won’t happen again. After all, you gave them a pass. This isn’t to say that once a cheater, always a cheater. People can change. But once this line has been crossed, it is hard to FORGET. Far too often, this is when resentment creeps in like an undetectable diseases. One that will transform you into someone or something you no longer recognize.
In saying that, should you chose to forgive, forget, and move forward with someone who has cheated, truly FORGIVE. Be patient. Rebuilding trust will take time. Be present and open to work through the pain you are feeling. Dropping hints and other passive-aggressive behavior won't fly here. In order to restore you're relationship, you'll really need to get down to the nitty-gritty, no matter how much it hurts. On the other hand, should you choose to move on, don't waste energy hating the affair partner. Never isolate. Forget revenge and choose rediscovery. After all, hasn’t your ex already stole enough joy?
Basing your relationship on idealistic expectations.
You don’t love someone because they’re “perfect,” so beware of your tendency to “fix” something that isn't broken. At the end of the day, people are who they are. They are perfectly imperfect, just as they should be. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more for someone, but once that crosses the line of trying to manipulate someone into doing something they’re not really feeling, then Houston we have a problem!
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It’s been my experience, that the less you expect from someone you care about, the happier you’ll be. No one in your life will ever act exactly as you hope or expect them to. After all, they are not YOU–they will not love, understand or respond like you, so it is better to love them as they are. Some of the biggest disappointments in relationships are the result of misplaced expectations. Ridding of unrealistic expectations of how someone “should be” will greatly reduce unnecessary frustration and suffering.
What are some toxic habits that you've let go of to improve your relationship? Let us know in the comments below!