It takes some women years to get out of a toxic relationship. You can be a smart girl and still be completely blind-sided by new emotions that come with your first serious relationship. Red flags and completely obvious signs of infidelity can be sitting there, right in front of your face, and you could still come up with ways to rationalize everything your partner is doing so obviously wrong.
So, here are ten pieces of advice that I have come up with while reflecting on my past relationships:
1. Don’t fall for the “players.”
You might be “special” and a player might actually be really into you, but those types of people like to have their cake and eat it too. Even if you end up dating them, players almost never grow out of it. They will most likely either cheat on you or move on to the next shiny new thing as soon as you’re comfortable. That may sound like a bit of a generalization, but it’s one of the few that I will maintain as facts for the rest of my life.
2. If your family and friends don’t like your S.O., then it’s probably time to move on.
The people you are close to and trust usually have your best interests in mind. If you are telling them details about your relationship and they have hung out with you and your boyfriend/girlfriend multiple times, then they probably know what they’re talking about. Because you are too busy being lovestruck by your new beau, your family and friends are seeing firsthand how your S.O. treats you. When they finally tell you how they feel about your S.O., try not to get defensive and just listen to what they have to say. Your loved ones know you better than anyone else.
3. Don’t let them tell you how to dress. They are not your boss or mama.
If your S.O. is telling you what to wear as a plus one to their event or to maybe dress a little more conservatively in front of their parents, that is fine. You should respect their wishes when it comes to their family. However, if your S.O. is starting fights or ignoring you over something that you choose to wear. That’s a problem. This means that your S.O. believes they “own” you in some way and are entitled to make you feel bad about yourself for embarrassing them or asking for attention. Wear what you want.
4. Be mindful of how much time you spend with them.
Make time for other priorities in your life. Nothing annoys me more than the couple that has to constantly be with each other because I used to be one of those people. Why are you basically living with them? Stop settling down like an old married couple and go have fun with your friends and family. Don’t just make your loved ones a backup plan just because plans failed to go through with your S.O. They know that you only want to get dinner tonight because Billy is out of town. You’re not slick.
5. If y’all have broken up more than once… it ain’t workin’
You know what I’m talking about. There is always that one couple that breaks up and gets back together so many times that you lost track and stopped caring a long time ago. Sorry, but if you can’t decide if you want to be with someone and have gone on multiple “breaks”, it’s time to move on. Yes, you probably still are attracted to them or care about them, but that doesn’t mean you work as a couple. Stop wasting your time.
6. Abuse is not always physical
Be aware of the manipulative types. If you see them manipulating and lying to their family and friends, then they are 100% doing the same thing to you. This is where it becomes dangerous in relationships because you don’t know what is true and what is not. A manipulative person will do everything in their power to spin the story to their advantage and turn the problems on you.
They will call you crazy and victimize themselves. Or they will ask you why you would ever accuse them of such a thing. They will come up with so many explanations and lies for things that you will start to question your own sanity and worth. This is called “gaslighting” and it is officially classified as a form of abuse in psychology. It is a strategy that people use to break you and make you trust them so they can continue doing whatever they want while knowing that they can convince you of anything.
7. You don’t have to give into their “needs”.
If your S.O. gets mad at you for not wanting to engage in a sexual activity-red flag. They should be respectful of your boundaries from the beginning to the end of your relationship. You are not responsible for their satisfaction. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that they own your body.
8. They have a superiority complex…
People who are critical of everyone else but themselves are the worst. Don’t waste your time on someone who can’t admit their own fault in a situation. Both members of a relationship should not only communicate but also feel comfortable with recognizing
their own mistakes.
9. You never receive anything in return…
Your S.O. just takes and uses, but you’ve come to the realization that whenever you need something from them- it’s an ordeal? Yes, when you help someone it should be from the heart and not a part of an agenda. However, if you are constantly putting your all into the relationship and it’s unrequited when you’re finally the sick one this time… then you are probably just being used.
10. They call the shots.
One day things between y’all are going great, and the next day they’ve decided it’s over. Don’t let them just break up with you whenever they please so they can have a “break”, then come running back in a week when they decide that they want you back. You are not a doormat. “Breaks” are just for people who are too scared to actually tell their S.O. that they no longer want to be with them.
Healthy relationships are key to being happy, take a look at our list and see if some of the things that your boo, your friends, or even you do are unhealthy.