At some point or another, we’ve all been guilty of choosing guys and relationships that we knew were bad for us. In fact, some of us, myself included, repeatedly made a habit of dating guys that fall directly into that category. If you find yourself in the same position and want to stop ending up with crappy guys, you first need to understand why you keep choosing them in the first place.
You haven’t taken the time to figure yourself out.
One of the main reasons I was constantly in one toxic relationship after the next was because I was always dating someone. I never gave myself the time or space to really get over my exes and would jump right into a new relationship immediately. Because of this, I never really allowed myself to fully heal from my past relationships’ wounds or figure out what made those relationships so destructive. To stop the cycle of toxic relationships, you have to commit to taking time off from dating and create the space needed to figure yourself out rather than to simply look for the next pair of arms to run into.
You use your significant other’s problems as an excuse to avoid your own.
The best way to ignore your problems (and the least effective long-term) is to date someone whose issues take up so much room in your brain that you can barely remember what yours even were, let alone actually tackle them. This often works for a little while, like a band-aid on a deep cut that really needs stitches. You’re so focused on your partner’s problems that you really do forget that yours exist. Often times, I’ve found myself dating someone and helping them with whatever it is they’re dealing with when in reality, I should have been taking care of myself and facing my own problems head-on.
You make excuses for people instead of believing their actions.
When people show you their true colors, such as by regularly disappointing or lying to you, believe them the first time. Don’t give them numerous chances to let you down, to break your trust, or to keep you awake all night with worry. One of the reasons people end up in unhealthy relationships is because they make excuses for the behaviors of others, giving them the benefit of the doubt, sometimes over and over again. Usually, the warning signals of a toxic relationship are all there from the beginning—it’s just up to you whether you see them.
You lack confidence in yourself and the kind of love that you deserve.
I find myself settling for destructive relationships when other things in my life are going wrong as if an explosive relationship will distract me from my other problems or make them seem more manageable comparatively. You have to decide what you are and aren’t willing to compromise on in a relationship and stick with it.
You never learned how to set boundaries for yourself.
Toxic relationships are often filled with manipulation and control but typically start out under the disguise of a happy or loving relationship. Boundaries are a necessary and healthy part of a relationship, but if you aren’t used to enforcing them, it can feel a little uncomfortable or even mean. However, if you don’t set boundaries, a toxic person will take advantage of this. It doesn’t happen instantly; little by little, the destructive person in the relationship continues to push a bit more, and each time you don’t put them in check, they will take it a little bit farther the next.
You’re not ready for a relationship, even if you think you are.
It might be subconscious, but often when you’re choosing relationships that you know are destined for failure, a part of you isn’t actually ready for it. Instead of choosing positive, happy relationships that could very well lead to a future, you find yourself in toxic ones because you’re not really ready for a serious commitment. This could be for a number of different reasons, but what you need to do is take time to fully commit to yourself before trying to commit to someone else.
You get bored trying to get to know someone who may be good for you.
If toxic relationships are what you’re used to, you may find that when you’ve met someone who seems like they might be good for you, you’re uninterested or simply bored. You may feel like because there’s no chaos, there’s no spark. The truth is that you deserve butterflies and safety and you shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other.
You’ve been through painful situations in the past, which makes you empathetic.
Often times in these kind of relationships, the manipulative and controlling person justifies their actions because of painful things they have dealt with in their past. If you share some of the same traumatic experiences or understand what you’re significant other is going through, you’ll be more likely to make excuses for their unacceptable behavior. While it’s great to be empathetic, you can’t let people treat you badly because of the past.
You mistake reckless chaos for passion in your relationships.
Of course, love is passionate, but that doesn’t mean it should be chaotic. Often times people in toxic relationships confuse the craziness and the destructiveness for passion. It is possible to be passionate and gentle. It is possible to be passionate and considerate. In fact, those are necessities for a healthy relationship. Do not romanticize a toxic relationship under the pretense that it’s passionate; it’s not pretty in a tortured way, it’s just torture. You deserve better.
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