We all want to have a fairytale ending but that does not mean to make all relationships work at the cost of your monumental breakage because “omg we’re soooo in love you guys.” Relationships evolve and while acceptance is the key, no hot pursuit of love should be blinding.
Hence, it is important to identify the red flags or shades of wrong from the outset so that love does not dissolve into ash and legal fees. Feel drained or unhappy after spending time with your partner and feel something has been missing for a while? Well, that something is you.
That is what a toxic relationship does to one. It contaminates one’s self-esteem, robs off happiness and messes with the way one perceives themselves and the world. You might think that you can fix a broken heart, broken relationship or broken people to kill loneliness but in reality, unless a person himself or herself accounts for their own action and decides to mend their past themselves, they will only add a load of baggage to their partner and what once started healthy will slowly unfurl to bad feelings that can pollute the relationship and distance the people in it.
The notion that it only happens to those submissive by nature is a myth. It can happen easily to the strongest, healthy and independent people. Hence it is important to look out for these red flags that can spoil a relationship’s happy ending.
1.Buying solutions to patterns of disrespect
Disrespecting the other partner’s time by casually “forgetting” events or being chronically late or covering up any other pattern of disrespect by buying something nice, checking together into a fancy restaurant or going on a trip somewhere is a red flag. The key is always to solve any issue instead of brushing it under the carpet as it will surely re-emerge in a worse form later. Buying solutions to patterns of disrespect only leaves one partner feeling like an ATM and the leaves the other feeling incessantly bitter and unheard over time.
The only solution to being unheard is communication. Talk about that issue that makes one feel broken and talk about how to rebuild it instead of burying it under gifts. Save the gifts for expressing solidarity, regret or to reaffirm the commitment when everything is already good but never as a replacement to underlying emotional tensions.
Another important red flag to notice is when only one person is invested in love, compromising schedules to make time for the other or always be the one willing to share the things. It does not make you independent and it is not healthy. If this happens, you will feel that the relationship stops giving and starts taking too much. It turns lonely and it’s exhausting when only one person is working to hold a relationship together. Many people are under the impression that if they try hard enough, they can make things work alone but come out of the fantasy world, they will see that they were enough and always have been. Being taken for granted is a red flag not seen by many who are blinded by the irrational notions of romantic love. The only way to pull out of this is to stop being always readily available. There is no way the other partner will not come around when they realize no one is going to babysit them anymore.
Remember, it is you and your partner against the world and not you two pitted against one another. Hence if instead of being kind, there are conversations filled with sarcasm, criticism, overt hostility, an indirect attack, a cowardly move for control, finding small and petty ways to piss your partner off or indirectly addressing the issue and expecting your partner to figure out what’s upsetting you, know that it is a red flag. These red flags come in the form of anger disguised as indifference (‘whatever’ or ‘I’m fine’), manipulation disguised as permission (‘I’ll just stay at home by myself while you go out and have fun’) or a villain disguised as a hero (‘You seem really tired baby. We don’t have to go out tonight. You just stay in and cook yourself some dinner, I’ll watch this game and have a few drinks by myself’).
Passive aggression shuts down one’s capacity to respond to issues to be dealt with directly and hampers a relationship because clearly, the two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly. The solution is to not drop “hints”, instead express feelings and desires openly while making it clear to your partner that it is their support that you expect and not be necessarily responsible or obligated to those feelings. Work towards making your time together into something positive or supportive of each other’s goals with a mutual desire to see the other succeed.
No healthy relationship focuses on your weaknesses or actions of the past. This trait is reserved only to a toxic relationship which instead of nurture your strengths, focuses on continually firing shots from history as a way to control, shame and manipulate. No human is free of error but that does not men one’s cringeworthy past mistakes are brought up over and over again until they completely kill a relationship. It only deflects the current issue by ginning up guilt and and being even with your partner only to make them feel bad in the present.
This is a red flag and the way out is simple. Don’t bring past mistakes up. Ever. You have to be accepting of your partner and deal with the issues when they happened instead of bottling them up only to erupt later.
5.Blaming your emotions on the partner
Clashes are inevitable in any relationship but just because one did not have a good day and the other is busy with theirs does not give one the right to accuse their partner of being insensitive, callous and not readily available for one’s lousy emotional state. Poor maintenance of personal boundaries, instead of negotiating and setting a precedent, leads one to selfishly blaming their partner for one’s own emotional turmoil. Sure, you should give attention to your partner if they are having a bad day but letting your life constantly revolve around their emotional well-being at all times will only make you bitter eventually.
This red flag can only be uprooted when both the partners take the responsibility for their own emotions individually. Expect your partner to be responsible for their emotional stability while you take care of yours by only being supportive and not obligated in any way.
A healthy relationship is a two-way effort. Both the partners must be willing to change and compromise for the better, both should work on the lack of affection or trust or respect and both should avoid excessive blaming or judgment. All relationships, especially love is worth the effort and the awkward conversations.
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