Don’t accept painful love. 

Love doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

Love shouldn’t feel like the plot-line to a dramatic TV show that’s dragging on for its 8th season. You know the ones where the characters have all dated one another, and often at the same time. If your relationship involves a stark contrast between the good times and the bad times you could be participating in a toxic dynamic. Being in a relationship with an emotional manipulator can be exhausting. These relationships often lack stability and trust but breed anxiety and insecurity. There are several signs that your love life is mostly just painful.

1. You experience high highs.

When things are good they are really good. You relish in the affection you’re getting and feel addicted to the admiration from your partner. You stay in contact constantly and wait to hear from them. The minute you see their name on your phone you feel ecstatic and washed over with unexplained relief. The fixation resembles an addiction. You believe the dependency on one another is romantic and may signify that they are “the one”.

2. You experience low lows.

You feel nervous, unhinged, jealous, anxious, and paranoid. There is a churning feeling in the very pit of your stomach that you often try to ignore. You’re falling apart at the seams because you try to convince yourself you can trust this person who has had nothing but a pattern of untrustworthy behaviour. You feel as though this is a lack of trust on your side and not necessarily a product of their actions.

3. You’re in a push and pull battle.

Your partner gives you crumbs. As soon as you feel starved of their love and deprived of your sanity they say a few of the right things to pull you back in. They give you a taste of affection and they ease your skepticism with promises. In the end, the words temporarily cover the real behaviour. Anyone can be on their best behaviour for a limited amount of time. The actions never match the promises which is what produces the ups and downs.

4. You’re “solutions-oriented”.

You hold the believe that relationships are hard and couples need to work through tough times together. However, it seems like you’re always the one working to resolve your partner’s problems. The boundaries you once had and the behaviour you said you would never tolerate begins to deteriorate. Soon, things you could never imagine accepting are a routine part of your relationship.

5. You feel confusion and self-doubt.

You begin to ask yourself if this is what other relationships are like. Is it normal for your partner to be in contact with their ex? Is it normal to want to check their phone when it’s unattended? You may ask friends or family on the outside but quickly begin to hide your partner’s behaviour to protect your image and the image of the relationship so you can stay in it without outside judgement.

6. You feel like you would die without them.

This may sound extreme, but for many people tied up in a toxic relationship it isn’t far from the truth. Toxic relationships leave people starved of self-esteem and therefore dependent on their toxic partner to provide it to them. The cycle ends up leaving one or both people in desperate need of one another. A successful relationship usually involves two people who want to be together. As soon as this want turns into a need, the relationship becomes harmful.

How Healthy Love Feels.

With healthy love comes a feeling of peace. You feel a sense of stability and trust in your partner. You don’t feel addicted to reassurance from your partner. There is not a discrepancy between what your partner says and does; they don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Healthy love provides the same security and comfort as a long-time friend with the positive romantic love that builds you up and compliments the person you already are.

Healthy love doesn’t just take one healthy person. Having a stable, peaceful, and nourishing relationship requires two whole and mentally healthy individuals who compliment each other, rather than complete each other.

Today’s Practice:

Take a fresh look at the relationships in your life. Identify how this relationship makes you feel about yourself. Ask yourself if you are in a healthy and wholesome relationship with person you are right now. Ask yourself what your intentions are went starting new relationships with other people.