It was love at first sight. My mind yelled stay away but my heart was not cooperating. I listened to my mind, but not for long. We became friends, then good friends, then best of friends. I thought he told me everything, so did I.
Two years into our friendship upon ending high school, he managed to slide past the friend-zone and into my heart while my then boyfriend was forced into the friend-zone. I never felt happier and guilt-ridden at the same time. What a weird combination it seemed. Nevertheless, I knew that my best-friend turned lover is “The One”.
It felt like we were on honeymoon. Perhaps that explains all the better what it meant by “honeymoon phase“.
Six months into that phase, I saw a side of him I never thought I would. He was nothing like what he claimed to be or promised he would be. I was a different person too. I thought maybe, just maybe, he would change. He did, but for the worse. It came to a point where I would be crying everyday, he would be crying along with me. He had anger issues, while I was too sensitive. We were at loggerheads almost so often, we could count the happy days in a year in one hand.
I did things I never knew I would do, and so did he. We were both ashamed of each other and ourselves. However, we loved each other it didn’t make sense. I shut myself down while he hid his true feelings.
It was a toxic relationship.
10 years into the future, we are now happily married with a beautiful daughter and a charming son. The man I had a toxic relationship with is now my husband. We live in a beautiful mansion, with four dogs. As baffling as it may seem, we did it. Here’s how;
1. Speak your mind out
Some of us do speak our mind but not in a well-perceived manner. The key to speaking your mind out is the way you convey the message. Be sure not to use insulting or hurtful words. Always keep your partner and your emotions in check. Often times emotions escalates, which could make things worse. Be sure to use calm intonations.
2. It takes two hands to clap
The most important thing in a relationship is to be a team. Do bear in mind that a team does not mean losing your sense of individuality. A team is to make sure there is a common goal. Set common goals with your partner and discuss them thoroughly. Be very sure that is what the both of you want and not just one person agreeing to the other.
3. Speak your appreciation, don’t just feel it
As much as we may argue with our partner, we can’t deny that they have done some nice things for us too. However at the heat of an argument or when things are not very nice, we often tend to remember the negative more than the positive. Therefore, we need to make sure that the nice things are said out loud. Tell your boyfriend how much you appreciate him cleaning the apartment. Thank your girlfriend for making dinner. Have heart to heart conversations and practice it always.
4. Look in the mirror
In a relationship, we often tend to pinpoint the mistakes of our partner because it is easier to notice the mistakes of others compared to our very own. We must understand that human beings are fallible; we are bound to make mistakes. It is okay to admit your mistake, it does not make you a lesser person. Introspect from time to time to see what we may be doing wrong. And when we do realize that we have made a mistake, set your ego aside and apologize wholeheartedly.
We’re often led to believe that a toxic relationship is the end of everything; is that really so?
Not many of us speak of having a toxic relationship with the fear of us or our partner being judged. There are many ways to reach out. Contact your local marriage counselor, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Reach out to trusted friends, reach out to family. Most importantly, reach out together.
Perhaps in the end, things would eventually work out and that would put an end to the toxicity and not the relationship itself.