There are few things more frustrating than watching a good friend of yours in a horrible relationship. No matter what you say or the advice you give, they seem to have all of the emotional survival instincts of a depressed sea captain, determinedly going down with (and on) the HRMS Douchebag all the way to the bottom of the Atlantic.
I should know. My friends love reminding me about mine.
Back in the bad old days, I was notoriously prone for my poor-decision skills when it came to women and relationships. I was a bubbling stew of low self-esteem, a defeatist attitude towards dating and the dogged belief that I couldn’t do any better, and that was never more evident than in the way I related to the opposite sex. If I wasn’t chasing after women because I thought I could get what I wanted from them (i.e. sex) without giving a damn about how it might affect them, I was enduring relationships with women I should have long broken up with because I thought… well, because I didn’t know any better.
It was a period of extreme frustration for my friends and family because they felt so damn helpless watching me piss my self-worth away and not knowing how to wake me up to what was really going on. At the risk of quoting song lyrics, when a man thinks he loves a woman, he tends to be willing to overlook a lot… and I was willing to overlook the fact that I was fucking miserable. I had convinced myself that I was in love with the woman I was dating – and to an extent, I was – and that meant that I was willfully blind to just how bad the relationship was and how much damage it was doing to me and to my friends. Part of it was, admittedly, because I thought that this was the best that I could do but another part was the fact that I just couldn’t see how toxic my relationship with this woman had become.
After all, like the poet says: the more you suffer, the more it shows you really care, right?
I spent years in complete misery because I couldn’t see the signs that my relationship had turned to poison… and everybody knew it but me.
Ever since then, I’ve seen far too many people caught in the same relationship death-spiral that I was, blind to just how bad things were and convinced that maybe this was just how relationships were supposed to be. So in hopes of opening a few eyes, I give you 5 signs that you’re stuck in a toxic relationship.