How You're Mistaking Your Toxic Relationship For One Fueled By Passion

This morning, after a smiley barista handed me my steaming cup of tea, I smiled at the thought of using a coffee sleeve to protect my hands.

We do so much to safeguard our bodies, including sunscreen, helmets, seat belts and checkups.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if you even had a little cushion under your wrist while you're typing away at work.

We take such caution in preserving our outer shells, our skin and our bones. But yet, when it comes to relationships, we often use every excuse in the book to neglect the safety of our hearts.

I get it. I really do.

The excitement, adrenaline, fighting, making up and jealousy is addicting. It's quite possibly the hardest thing in the world to remove yourself from. For whatever reason, we are wired to thrive off of those magnetic, unquestionably chaotic forces in other people.

I believe that this is something that everyone should go through at least once in their lives.

That toxic relationship. The one that pulls you away from your family and friends -- and in hindsight becomes the life-sucking tornado that ultimately makes you realize why some people are content with plain ice cream. Sometimes too many toppings defeat the whole idea of sweet things.

It’s messy and resentful. It’s the sort of thing that even the strongest and most guarded people can fall into.

It’s like holding the hottest cup of coffee with no sleeve, because you’re too into the caffeine to care about the scars it’s sure to leave.

It’s complete and utter lack of care for your long-term self and all about the present. It’s leaving facts out of stories when you talk to your closest friends because you know they’ll tell you to get out. It just seems unbearable.

It's exhausting. And you'll never understand why your best friend keeps going back to the bad guy until you've been there yourself.

It's the best and worst thing. It's both terrifying and eye opening, because it's living.

In a very bizarre, almost contradictory way, it helps us appreciate a balanced, stable and healthy relationship; even one that might have once appeared boring to us. It’s the gratitude for land after being submerged in the sea.

The explanation I've too often heard in the sea's defense is, "But this is passion."

I promise you, it's not. Passion is intense. Passion is strong. Passion is enthusiastic. Passion is, in many ways, a very healthy description of something.

We tell ourselves this because we know that the alternative would make us look foolish. “I’m staying in this relationship, even though it’s super toxic and unstable, because I find it too exciting to leave. Plus, I’m reliant on it emotionally, so there’s that.”

I know it’s hard, because I’ve been there. But the only way out of the cycle is to see the relationship for what it actually is.

Replace the pseudo-excitement with disorder and the adrenaline with calamity. Remind yourself that intensity doesn’t always have to be tumultuous and that there’s a difference between fighting and pure hostility.

We know the very clear lines between passion and poison, but we so often choose to blur them because it’s conveniently less trying -- at least for now. The “for nows” will only pile up into one big, flashing, unavoidable, “Holy shit, what did I get myself into?”

Liberate yourself from the madness. Learn to appreciate the plain ice cream. The coffee sleeves were created for a reason.

Do you remember who Rose boarded the ship with before meeting Jack?

Passion is good. But don’t confuse it with toxicity.