A romantic relationship should be healthy for the emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of both parties as well as being a pleasant and enjoyable experience. However in some cases it can end up doing more harm than good and become ‘toxic’. In such cases your relationship is actually unhealthy and may be putting stress on your immune system, or damaging to your social life. If this is the case you then need to make serious changes to the way that you work as a couple and as individuals in order to salvage the relationship before it does any damage.
A relationship can be toxic in many ways, and it might not even be the case that you don’t get on. In some cases it can actually be that you’ve become too ‘in love’ with your partner to the point of obsession or dependence. First of all then, while it’s great to idolise your partner, it’s important that you still view them realistically. Holding them on a pedestal might seem like a nice way to view them, but at the end of the day it unfortunately will mean that your view of them is removed from reality. They might seem perfect, but the truth is that no one is completely perfect and a failure to recognise this will only lead to an unhealthy relationship, possibly resulting in your feeling inferior, becoming overly dependent, agreeing with everything your partner says, or being too easily lead by their opinion. A lack of questioning anyone can leave you open to manipulation, even if it’s unintentional. At the same time. eventually an unhealthy ‘worshipping’ of your partner will become tiresome for them as they begin to want someone to challenge them or help them improve rather someone that will simply constantly agree with everything they say (though they’re sure to garner some enjoyment from it at first…). Eventually when this façade of perfection is broken then, this will lead to the breakdown of your relationship that will be highly emotionally damaging for both parties.
Closely linked to viewing a partner as perfect is becoming obsessed with them. This too can become dangerous for both parties and can lead to the obsessed individual neglecting their other commitments and relationships. They may also then find themselves demanding more attention from their partner than their other half will be able to give which again can eventually result in the breakdown of that relationship. Where the individual has previously been obsessed with their partner a b breakup itself can also be dangerous, leaving a large chasm in that person’s life that can lead them to behave dangerously or lash out at their loved one. Obsession can also lead to stalking and other behaviours, even if it might at first start off mildly.
Similarly simply becoming too dependent on a partner can be unhealthy. This might not be quite as extreme as being obsessed, but by spending too much time with a single person at the expense of other commitments and relationships you can easily find yourself with a one dimensional life and nothing too fall back on in the case of a break up. Two individuals who don’t have enough independence in their relationship may also find that they run out of things to talk about as they are rarely out of each others’ sites or that they are resented by other friends and relatives.
On the other hand of course are relationships where there is no illusion of perfection. Obviously continuous arguing will take a toll on anyone emotionally and psychologically and can cause a lot of stress. This continuous stress can then place strain on the immune system and even lead to illness meaning that such situations would greatly benefit from counselling or at least a break. Identifying and solving the common triggers for an argument can also be a good strategy.
A lack of trust can also be highly toxic in a relationship, and is something that should be worked on by both parties – why does one partner feel they can’t trust the other and is there anything they could do to make it better? Constantly worrying about whether or not your partner might be cheating can be stressful, and for that partner it can be distressing having your other half constantly checking up on your whereabouts. Worse suspicion and mistrust can eventually lead to accusations and even spying and further breaches of trust on their half. In such situations it’s important to talk about where this mistrust is coming and then deal with this source. Often this can either be the circumstances in which you and your partner originally got together if one of you were originally in a different relationship, or it can be due to insecurities or lack of confidence on the part of the suspicious party.
In many relationships it’s also possible that one member can begin to manipulate their partner or attempt to control them. Often if an individual feels insecure in their relationship they will try to ensure their partner doesn’t leave by damaging their self esteem with barbed comments and insults. A healthy relationship should leave both parties feeling more confident in themselves, so if this isn’t happening and you are in fact feeling less confident then you may be in a toxic relationship and should get out. This is particularly important in such relationships as in many cases manipulative partners are also those who abuse or beat their partners. Even if this never happens, psychological abuse can be just as bad.
Being in a relationship with someone who has a lot of issues themselves, perhaps an addiction for example, can also be highly damaging for the other side as they feel they need to ‘look after’ their partner and help them stay clean and sober. Similarly a relationship with someone who breaks the law regularly can put strain on both halves and might even be a danger for the innocent party. If you suffer from a lot of personal issues then you should make it your responsibility to have them seem to before you commit to a relationship. If on the other hand your partner develops a destructive habit or engages in harmful or illegal behaviour then you should encourage them to get help and work on their own personal problems before you resume your romantic involvement.