What I’ve Learned About Toxic Relationships From Watching My Friends Be In Them

We’ve all been in at least one toxic relationship over the years — it happens to the best of us. However, I’ve seen some of my friends go through some of the most destructive, depressing experiences with guys who just weren’t worth their time, and their experiences have taught me several lessons about love that I’ve carried with me ever since.

  1. Wanting the same things in life is a must. Not having the same life goals doesn’t mean a relationship is doomed but it’s a big sign you’re not headed in the same direction. If you can’t agree on family matters, household responsibilities, financial issues or where you want your relationship to be in five to 10 years, you need to reevaluate the relationship. While no couple will have identical plans for their future, the happiest ones have a common focus. You’ll never get anywhere together if you’re not headed in the same direction.
  2. You’ll Never Change Your Partner. People don’t change. They can grow and evolve, but expecting your S.O. to do a complete personality 180 to fit your perfect idea of a partner is going to backfire spectacularly. Going into a relationship and thinking you can somehow change the bad habits of your partner is pointless. You can motivate by example or you can change your reaction, but expecting your partner to conform to your desires and expectations is the perfect recipe for resentment and/or a breakup.
  3. If you can’t talk, you can’t be together long-term. You have to learn to effectively communicate your wants and needs to your partner in regards to everything from intimacy to who’s doing the dishes. Talk, use hand motions, draw pictures — do whatever you need to convey your feelings, needs, and priorities. Without the ability to talk about things big and small, there’s no way your relationship can thrive long-term.
  4. Sex isn’t everything but it’s damn important. A healthy sex life in a long-term relationship is incredibly important. Touching, hugging, kissing, intimacy — these are all crucial parts of your relationship and will bring you closer. While getting intimate with a casual partner is good, intimacy with a serious partner is way more enjoyable. Sure, life gets in the way sometimes and you won’t always be jumping each other’s bones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) keep the passion alive.
  5. Jealousy Is a Bitch. There’s no room for jealousy in a healthy relationship. Your person is your person for a reason, but remember he’s not your possession. You don’t own him, nor can you control his behavior — and the same is definitely true in reverse. Have enough confidence in him and yourself to not sweat little flirtations or a night out with the boys. Your guy loves you because of you, so while a hot blonde in a skirt may catch his eye, she won’t capture his heart like you did. As long as he shows you the same courtesy, respect, and trust, you’re golden.
  6. There’s no excuse for Mental Or Physical Abuse. Abuse of any kind is NOT okay. If you realize you’re the victim of mental, emotional, sexual or physical abuse, you must get whatever help you need to end that relationship immediately. No man should ever endanger your self-esteem or your physical well-being. If this happens to you, call a friend or someone you trust and get out.
  7. If a relationship brings you down rather than lifts you up, you have to leave. A relationship that’s not bringing positivity into your life isn’t worth it. Your partner should be your biggest cheerleader and support you in all your endeavors and adventures. If you feel he’s bringing you down, let him go. There’s someone out there who will be your number one fan and encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
  8. You shouldn’t be spending 24/7 with your partner. No matter how great your partner is, it’s incredibly important to have “me time.” Make sure to take the time to enjoy a sport, hobby, or pastime that you can do on your own, no partner allowed. Too many times, people give up their interests to make a relationship work. Different interests are healthy, though, and some independence within the relationship will help balance out any stress or emotional pain.
  9. Your friends will be instrumental in getting you through a bad breakup. While getting out of a terrible relationship is a step in the right direction, it’s difficult to do it alone. You’ll need your friends’ love and support to get you through the difficult period of adjustment and getting over your ex, so don’t forget about them while you’re still with the guy either.
  10. You Owe It To Yourself to Move On. Don’t get lost in a daydream of what your relationship could have been or how to fix it. Once you’re out of a toxic relationship, stay out. Spend time focusing on yourself, find a new hobby, spend more time with your friends, or just spend more time finding out who you want to be.
Michelle is a twenty-something gal experiencing New York City. You She's into trends, beauty, and fashion. You can check her out on Instagram @rotbotkohd.