I didn't know it was toxic: 5 signs you should leave that relationship


I was in love with someone I thought was a pretty great guy for 14 months. I loved everything about him. He was my sun and my stars (as Daenarys said to Khal Drogo) and everything I thought I wanted and needed, but I didn’t see that he was actually just a kid in a man’s body who wouldn’t and couldn’t commit to me and lied to me constantly.

I broke up with him because I thought I was doing him a favour. That he was better off without me. That I was impeding on his life and he needed me to be gone for him to be happy. I was wrong. I was in a toxic relationship with a man that had me convinced that everything I was unhappy with was my fault. His lying, his cheating, his deceit had become my fault. And I was in denial about it. All of it.

I didn’t see that my relationship wasn’t working, but now I see what went wrong. So here are a few things I’ve learnt and I hope they can help you.

You fight constantly, but never resolve anything
I got to a point with my ex where I began to become resentful because there were so many unresolved issues. I began to pick fights about stupid things so I could shout at him. This sort of worked because we would end up fighting (about the dumbest things), but it didn't resolve any of the issues we really had. We would get mad, fight about something stupid and then apologise and make nice, but then I was still really angry about our bigger issues.

Your sex life changes
My ex and I were pretty well-matched sexually, but even that couldn't stop the fact that sex became different because our relationship was different. There were now all these excuses as to why we couldn't have sex and fights because of it. Then, when we did actually have sex, there was little to no emotional connection - I could feel that he no longer loved me and I would cry while he cuddled me, but he would tell me that it wasn't true or that it was just a one time thing. It wasn't.

You no longer trust them
I stopped trusting my ex after he cheated on me (yes, I do regret staying another 8 months), but he promised to make it up to me and, like a fool, I believed him. I became crazed, obsessed with what he was doing and where he was going. I became jealous when he wanted to go to a party without me and I checked his phone when he wasn't around. While I had reason to be suspicious (turns out he was still being dishonest) it wasn't good for me and I became someone I didn't like.

You only think about their happiness
Yes, being in love with someone means wanting to make them happy, but when it comes at the cost of your own happiness, something is wrong. My needs always took a backseat. I thought this was okay, that I was being a good girlfriend. But I didn't realise I was being bad to myself.

You're the one making all the effort
I was the one who planned dates, who did cute things like left him notes that said "I love you" or decided what we would do for the weekend. For our one year anniversary, I spent two days making him an assortment of gifts and he got me nothing. This was also partly my fault because I let it become my job and never said anything. It eventually became one of the things we fought about.

I still catch myself missing him, but I'm really glad that I had the common sense to tell him "boy, bye". If you see any of these signs in your own relationship, I recommend that you try to fix it if you can. If not, well, it may be time to make some lemonade and tell him

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