Recently, my boyfriend and I broke up. We were together for three years and it was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make. Once we broke up, I felt like a weight was lifting. That’s when I realized I was in an extremely toxic relationship.
I always felt like I was walking on eggshells.
Most days, things between the two of us were okay. I considered my boyfriend to be my best friend. However, there was this constant feeling of walking on eggshells. It regularly left me in a state of nervousness. I never knew if something I said or did would set him off and launch us into a huge fight. This left me feeling on edge and jumpy, always waiting for an argument to start for reasons I didn’t understand.
When he got drunk, I got anxious.
Whenever we’d go out with friends, I found myself watching how much he would drink. That might sound excessive, but the drunker he got, the more likely we were to get in a fight. It happened like clockwork. Yes, people can go out and drink and not be in toxic relationships, but with him, it was different. He would drink to the point of no return and then get mad at me for not drinking as much as him. It’s never a great idea to argue while drunk, but that’s how most of our fights started. Our nights would either end in tears or him storming out of the house. The next morning, my boyfriend would act as if nothing had happened.
We broke up multiple times.
Relationships are hard and sometimes couples break up only to realize they genuinely want to be together. With us, this wasn’t the case. I would break up with him and he would call me crying to get back together. Eventually, I would succumb (love is a tricky emotion) and we’d end up getting back together, sort of acting like nothing had happened. We said things would be different every time we got back together but they weren’t. When we got into fights, he would always bring up the fact that I had broken up with him to use against me.
He told me I was the only reason he was happy.
If you think that sounds romantic, trust me, it’s not. By telling me I was the only thing that made him happy, there was this enormous amount of pressure put on our relationship. Take it from someone who went through it—you need to be satisfied on your own before you can be happy in a relationship. I’m all for helping your partner out during difficult times, but when your partner is solely leaning on you for happiness, there’s a problem.
Our relationship was filled with never-ending drama.
I remember being so pumped for our first vacation together- I got up early, packed all of my stuff, and eagerly rushed over to his apartment. I accidentally woke him up when I knocked on the door(I had gotten there about an hour early out of excitement). He opened the door, screamed and cursed at me for waking him up, and then slammed the door in my face. I remember just standing there in shock with tears in my eyes. When he opened the door again about 40 minutes later, he was ready to go. We never talked about the door slamming and cursing. This example is just one prime case of how ordinary things in our everyday life turned into huge ordeals. Instances like this happened multiple times before I realized it was a recurring pattern.
I was incredibly unhappy.
Okay, this may seem like the most obvious one. If you’re unhappy, why don’t you just leave?! It’s not that easy. It took me a long time to realize that a big part of my uneasiness and lack of happiness had to do with my relationship. I never felt secure in it. Deep down, there was a little voice that was telling me I should break away, but I remember not wanting to deal with the pain. The break up was like ripping off a band-aid. I knew it would hurt, but in the long run, it was the only way to heal my wounds. And guess what? A few weeks after the break-up, I started feeling better, and I mean A LOT better. Sure there were still some difficult times when I mourned the relationship, but once I was able to make a clean break, I saw how toxic our relationship had been.
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