- Gender and Relationships
Is She In A Toxic Relationship?
When you have a friend or relative who stops hanging out with you once she is in a relationship, it might not be entirely because she's in love....
Often when a woman is in a toxic relationship she is completely blinded by her desperate need to have companionship, love, or the attention of a man that she doesn't see the negative effects that are being exuded. Unfortunately, when this happens, this unhealthy emotional, mental, and sometimes physical relationship will cause her to be blinded by what her friends, family members, and coworkers see clearly—a very unhealthy relationship.
There is a big difference between being in a relationship that you are excited about—therefore spending a lot of quality time—versus one that you feel the need to hide—spending a lot of time with him and only him—in fear of the mistreatment and arguments that your friends will end up noticing. Yikes!
When you first meet a guy that you develop feelings for, yes, it is completely normal to want to spend a lot of time together and less time with your friends and family, especially in the "honeymoon" stages. However, learning to create a healthy balance between your relationship, your friends, family, and things you enjoy doing—before you met your man—is just as important.
Many of us can relate to having that friend (or possibly yourself) who once she's in a relationship her entire life revolves around the guy she is dating. She won't make plans with you—holding her schedule open to see her boyfriend. She won't contact you as much—again, due to being consumed by her relationship. And, the only time she makes an effort to reach out to you is when there are issues in her relationship and she needs someone to talk to. Great. Of course the second her relationship is back to being "great" with her man you don't see or hear from her again until the next time things go awry. Wonderful.
Friendship is meant for growing and changing. At the end of the day you should want your friends to find a significant other that truly makes them happy. Although time you spend together might shift slightly, a true friendship wouldn't change so dramatically unless she has either moved, has children or is in an emotionally toxic relationship.
Not spending as much time with a friend who is in a healthy, happy and successful relationship is hard enough, however losing a friend to a relationship that is toxic is even harder especially if this is not the first time she has found herself in an emotionally disruptive relationship.
Often as women when we get caught up in the idea of having a relationship we will end up forgoing many things that we claimed we did not want from past experiences. Things like...
Not wanting a man who:
- Mentally abuses us
- Verbally abuses us
- Emotionally abuses us
- Physically abuses us
- Is a player
- Drinks or parties a lot
- Plays emotional games
- Is a poor communicator
- Travels a lot
- Is lazy
- Doesn't make time for us
- Is married or in a relationship
- Isn't romantic
- Is complacent
- Doesn't listen
- Is controlling
We can say out-loud all the things that we don't want, however the true test is when we meet a guy who has some of these negative qualities—often we make excuses in our heads to why this guy—even with all the red flags—will be different. Really? We will end up dating him just to find out that he's just as bad (if not worse) than our past relationships, but due to our ego and that panic feeling of not wanting to be single again, we hold on for dear life.
The more toxic relationships you encounter (and let into your life), telling yourself that you don't deserve better becomes easier for you to believe.
I have a friend who is in a toxic relationship. At times this can be very difficult for me to be completely understanding towards her situation—especially when she continues to get involved in one toxic relationship after another. And, she only reaches out to me when there is an issue between her and her man—which tends to happen a lot. Wonderful.
My friend has told me how her boyfriend has not only cheated on her many, many times, he has also talked to her disrespectfully multiple times—and he's even thrown a chair at her—but luckily missed. Yikes! Every time she calls me she will claim she is finally done being treated with such blatant disrespect, however days later she will get back together with him. Hmm...
Not only does she continue to get back together with this guy, she will also try to keep it a secret from me—but I'm no dummy. When she finally does admit that she's back with him she will start listing excuse after excuse, after excuse for his awful behavior—in hopes that I will give my approval. Are you kidding me? After the crappy excuses she gives she will follow up with how sorry he really is and how he's making it up to her with trips, gifts, and the promise of one day having another child.
My friend is in complete denial about what love is. When you have found the right guy you won't need to seek your friends approval, they will shower you with approval when they see how great of a guy he really is by the way he treats you.
What's shocking about my friend is that I rarely see her anymore and when she's finally willing to make time to hang out together she insists on bringing her lousy boyfriend. Are you kidding me! She can't seem to wrap her brain around the fact that I don't want to hang out with her when she's with her boyfriend.
Here's the thing, I don't approve with the way her boyfriend continues to disrespect her—I have been very straightforward and honest with her about this. However, this is not my journey, it's my friends to hopefully one day learn from (or from her history, potentially not).
I have told my friend that she can choose to be with anyone that she wants—Regardless of how THEY treat her—but I don't have to accept the same treatment. I still love and care about her, however trying to get me to like a man who has blatantly disrespected her over and over and over again is not going to happen especially since he has had zero remorse.
How do you know your friend (or possibly yourself) is in a toxic relationship? There are several signs—some more obvious than others:
- She stops hanging out with her girlfriends and only spends time with him
- She revolves her entire schedule around his before making plans
- She stops/lessens doing things for herself that she use to love: working out, meditating, hair/nail appointments, etc.
- He treats her disrespectfully and she still stays with him
- They break-up (over and over again) and she claims she's done but keeps going back to him
- He verbally, mentally, emotionally and/or physically abuses her
- She consistently makes excuses for his bad behavior towards herself and others
- He's very controlling to the point that she doesn’t do anything without his permission
- She only contacts her girlfriends when she's upset by something her significant other did or if they have temporarily broken up
- She's involved with a man who is already in an exclusive relationship with someone else or who is married
- She will claim that she loves him—very early into the relationship
- She claims what she feels for her significant other is love even after he has disrespected her (or abused her) numerous times
- She talks about him with a nervous/uneasy voice
- She never brings her significant other around her friends/family members
- Most of the time when she's with her significant other there is heavy drinking or drugs involved
Having a friend who is in a toxic relationship can be extremely difficult to witness, however unless he's physically abusing her the only thing you can do is be supportive.
Ladies, know that being in a toxic relationship is about the unhealthy emotional hold that a guy has in your life, not just on a physical level. If you can't tell all your friends with pride about the guy you are dating, that alone says it all. Bottom line, make sure to always have healthy boundaries with yourself and the people in your life, that way it is less likely you will have to deal with toxic relationships in any capacity.