Toxic relationships will make you think about dating differently. They will slowly transition you from a romantic to a skeptic. They will make you wonder whether true love exists, whether happily ever after exists, whether loyalty exists.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you’re going to get a warped view of love. You’re going to misunderstand what it means to be in a relationship. You’ll start to mistake jealousy and short tempers for passion. You’ll mistake little acts of love as the best you could possibly get.
The longer you spend in a bad situation, the more normal it feels. You get used to the arguments and the tension and the tiptoeing around. You might keep stories from your friends because, deep down, you know how horrible you’re being treated — but at the same time, what’s happening to you doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
A part of you assumes every relationship has the same problems. Most people just those problems. They don’t talk about it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. These are the lies you tell yourself. They help you feel less alone, less confused, less upset.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you wrongly believe your best move is to stay in the same place. You don’t see any point in leaving because you probably won’t find anyone better, you probably would be just as miserable single, you probably wouldn’t benefit from walking away. You keep coming up with excuses to stick around, even though your heart is dying to find a new home.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you change into a completely different person. You lose your naivety. You lose your innocence. You lose your faith in others. You become someone tough, skeptical, closed off.
You don’t want to let anyone else into your heart because you know what happened the last time and you don’t want a repeat in history. You don’t want to be stupid enough to trust again.
You stop thinking of first kisses and puppy love as romantic and start thinking of them as foolish. You feel bad for the new couples who don’t see pain coming. You assume it’s only a matter of time before they have their heart broken the same way yours has been broken.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, it hardens your heart. It makes you stop wanting to be the nice person, the giving person, the person who puts others before themselves.
If you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you might lose your faith in others. You might question whether any relationship is meant to endure years, decades, a lifetime. You might find yourself deciding the single life is easier, less risky, less painful.
Toxic relationships have the power to change everything about you — from your personality to your beliefs. They could turn you into someone you don’t recognize. They could turn you into someone you don’t even like.