If you’re wondering whether or not you’re in a toxic relationship … you probably are. To make the distinction a little easier, here are the four key differences between a relationship that’s healthy and one that you need to get the hell away from.
1 In a healthy relationship your partner teaches you; in a toxic relationship he lectures you. The best kind of relationship is one where both partners learn from each other – where you aren’t by any means the same person, but you can teach each other different ways of looking at the world. If you’re learning nothing from your partner, you may as well not be in a relationship with him at all.
In a toxic relationship, it’s less learning and more lecturing. He believes that his way is the right way – always. And, if you disagree, he’ll fight his case until you’re too tired to argue any more. He’ll never bother trying to see things through your eyes. If you aren’t on the same page as he is, you’re in the wrong – it’s as simple as that.
2 In a healthy relationship your partner is your biggest fan; in a toxic relationship he’s your biggest competition. Being in a relationship where there’s mutual support is of the utmost importance. In a healthy relationship, your successes will be your partner’s. When you get that huge promotion or achieve something that means a lot to you, he’ll be the one waiting at home with Champagne in hand. He’s the best cheerleader you could ever ask for.
In a toxic relationship, though, your partner seems to be in constant competition with you. In fact, he barely even seems happy when something great happens to you. He’s always trying to one-up you, or he diminishes your achievements. He finds a way to bring you down when you’re at your happiest – and that’s not okay.
3 In a healthy relationship your partner earns your trust; in a toxic relationship he expects it. When you’re in a healthy relationship you totally trust your partner – and he’s done nothing to break it. He’s always been honest with you, and you’ve extended him that same courtesy, because both of you know how important trust is. You’ll always tell the truth, even when it’s hard.
In a toxic relationship? He thinks he can do whatever the hell he wants and you’ll be content to believe he’s not up to anything questionable. He uses the term ‘trust’ as a weapon against you, constantly accusing you of having none whenever he feels challenged.
4 In a healthy relationship your partner isn’t afraid to apologise; in a toxic relationship he’s never, ever wrong. Look, we all screw up in our relationships at one point or another. Nobody’s perfect. But a healthy relationship is one in which both of you can make a mistake, realise you’ve made a mistake and then apologise for making the mistake. You know being in the wrong doesn’t make you ‘the loser’ – you’re just happy when an argument is resolved and you can go back to being happy together.
If you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s a little different: your guy refuses to admit to being wrong. You’re always the one to blame, and he’s a pro at convincing you that you are the problem. That’s emotional abuse – and that’s as toxic as it gets.
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