We fight, we get hurt, we break up, we make up, and we stay. Time and time again. Does this experience sound familiar? If so, you know the struggle. But why are bad relationships addictive? And what are the signs you should move on? We’ve got answers.
Why Are Bad Relationships Addictive?
Toxic romantic relationships are full of highs and lows. And like other addictions, you’re constantly in search of the “high.”
Despite the toxicity, arguments, and abuse, the “high” and the validation one experiences when the drama dies down keeps people coming back for more.
The thrill of the chase can be intoxicating for those prone to relationship addiction or addition of other sorts. The fights serve as the chase, and the makeup period – full of cuddling and closeness – poses as the reward.
As a result of this emotional rollercoaster, chemicals are released in the brain that has people craving the sense of thrill this ordeal provides.
Other times, people may be addicted to relationships, even ones that lead to negativity and pain, because they are unable to be alone. That may stem from low self-esteem or trauma from childhood. Or an unhealthy attachment style in past relationships.
The addict may continue this pattern, entering toxic relationship after toxic relationship because they depend on others to feel loved. Or because they are using their relationship to seek validation.
There are a number of possible reasons someone may be addicted to a toxic relationship they know isn’t good for them. But one thing is for sure, additions – whether to substances like drugs or alcohol, or even relationships – are unhealthy, toxic, and extremely powerful.
Let’s look at the signs that your relationship isn’t healthy and how you can make a change, heal and move on.
The Warning Signs Your Relationship Isn’t Healthy
Your Partner Isolates You
You’ll likely want to spend every second with your beau when you enter a new committed relationship, and you’re all loved up. It’s common (and normal) to fall into a love bubble for the first month, but eventually, you have to come out. If your partner tries to isolate you from your friends and family, take note of this early warning sign.
Often, when isolating behavior escalates, the other person may try to turn you against your parents or friends. You might find your S/O demanding that you choose between them and the people in your life. Your partner’s demands can cause you to feel isolated like they are the only person you can depend on.
Belittling And Disrespecting
Belittling of any kind about anyone or anything is a warning sign of an unhealthy relationship. Comments about what you’re wearing, how your hair looks, what your interests are, or how you behave are major red flags. That includes any other criticism or disrespect about you or those you’re close to.
Over time, these small comments can have you questioning yourself and even losing confidence in who you are. If your partner is already acting this way early in a relationship, chances are, the problem is only going to get worse.
Hostile Or Aggressive Communication In Your Relationship
Hostile communication is communicating with aggression, high emotions, and a strong need to win the argument. In extreme cases, a person may become verbally abusive when communicating. They tend to have a lack of understanding and little care for the needs or feelings of the other person.
Has your partner ever said things like, “it’s your fault this happened.” “I didn’t mean it, stop overreacting,” or “I don’t care what you think.” If so, it is completely understandable if this treatment is taking a toll on you emotionally and even causing anxiety.
Hostile communication can result in you feeling disrespected, stressed, and attacked. You might find it hard to share things or even talk to your partner due to a fear of a damaging, negative situation arising.
Good communication is extremely important and is the center of a healthy relationship. When you can’t talk openly with your partner, you may have trouble relating and connecting. Thus, drama can form and put your relationship at risk.
Your Partner Tries To Control You
Does your partner try to control the way you live your life? Do they demand to know who you are with to what you are doing at any given moment? Just because you’re in a relationship, it does not give the other person the right to know every detail of your life.
It’s fine for them to contact you now and then to check in on how your day’s going. But if they continue showing a pattern of toxicity, such as saying you “aren’t allowed” to do certain things, take note.
Exhibiting controlling behavior can also look like telling you what’s right and what’s wrong. Or even threatening you if you do something they don’t approve of. Secluding you from your friends and family or trying to oversee every aspect of your life, such as your professional or social life.
You’re Untruthful To The People In Your Life
Have you found yourself lying to the people you care about? Lying about your relationship, how your partner treats you, or about your well-being? You likely don’t have bad intentions when keeping the truth from your loved ones. In fact, you probably do it to protect them or your partner.
You may not be ready to share the intimate details of your unhealthy relationship with the people in your life just yet. Or, you don’t want your family to turn on your partner if they found out about your relationship troubles.
If you feel the need to lie to your inner circle about how your relationship is affecting your mental or physical health, take note. That is a serious red flag of an unhealthy relationship.
Breaking The Cycle – Is It Time To End Things?
Deciding to leave a relationship is never easy. Especially if you’ve been together for a long time. The first step to recovery and healing is to recognize and accept that your relationship isn’t healthy – for anyone involved. The sooner you start to accept this, the sooner you can begin to create change for the better.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support from loved ones during this time. Or perhaps you consider counseling or therapy to help work through any difficult thoughts and rough patches.
There’s no denying that dealing with your breakup will be difficult. But the good news is, there is light at the end of the tunnel. What follows is:
- You’ll develop a stronger bond and greater connection with yourself.
- You learn what issues you won’t tolerate in future relationships.
- You’ll realize that you deserve to be in a real, loving, healthy relationship with someone who will support you and meet your needs.
- You will be able to identify signs of a toxic or abusive person.
- You’ll learn that even if you choose to leave your next relationship, you will always be okay in the end.
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