At the beginning of a toxic relationship, everything often seems to be going well beyond belief. You have met someone who is charismatic and who seems to reflect what you desire right back at you. You might think your relationship is too good to be true — and almost in the next instant, you'll ridicule yourself for engaging in self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage in relationships is definitely a thing, and some folks are preconditioned to reject genuine love, care, and tenderness because of fear or lack of self-worth. Distrusting a relationship doesn't automatically mean it is unhealthy. In fact, depending on your background, it might mean just the opposite.
But if your partner says some of the following statements, then your suspicion of your relationship being too good to be true probably isn't only in your imagination. In fact, the reality might already be keeping you closed off, held back, and negatively impacting your self-esteem.
1. "I'm Often Misunderstood"
If your partner is always the victim in every conflict, that speaks volumes about their ability to accept blame, and your relationship may be too good to be true. You might think that it is simply that they have high self-esteem, but it's actually an indication they may have narcissistic character traits.
It's natural to have your partner's back when you hear stories about their boss coming down on them too hard at work or their friends who wronged them, or previous partners who hurt them. But if you never hear that your partner did anything remotely wrong to deserve what is happening, if they are unable to accept that they are flawed and may have made mistakes, then before long, that is going to come back to haunt you.
If your partner is unable to accept that they make mistakes, then before long they are going to turn the same energy on you when you are having a conflict in the relationship. Suddenly, you will be the one who is persecuting an innocent person. And before too long, they will have found someone else to begin the same charade with all over again.
2. "My Last Partner Was Batsh*t"
Oh, really? Your ex was a fire-breathing monster? A reeking garbage pit of a person? And you dated them for three years? And you were going to get married?
I understand resentment after a relationship. I really do. But if your new boo is constantly dragging a previous partner — particularly somebody that they were in a serious relationship with — with nothing positive to say about them, then there is nothing to stop them from doing that to you one day.
If your partner calls their ex ugly to make you feel better or constantly points out their flaws in comparison to how great you are, they're tearing down another person and using it to build you and your confidence up in the relationship. That's nothing to feel good about.
3. "I Want You All To Myself"
Your girlfriend certainly does have a way with words, doesn't she? If she says that she wants you all to herself, it might sound sexy, but she is tying up jealousy and possessiveness into one cute, little package with a bow on it and presenting it to you.
A good partner might sometimes feel like she wants you all to herself, but she won't say it because she knows it is important for you to have a strong social network and to be a part of a community. She will be happy to hang out with you and your friends, and she will invite you to do the same with her social circle. She won't be lonely or feel left behind if you take a weekend to catch up with your parents and don't invite her along.
No boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner can be everything for anyone. If your partner is putting pressure on you to do that for her, or if she somehow thinks you wanting to socialize outside of the relationship means she isn't "good enough," that's a sign of major insecurity at best and a toxic dynamic at worst.
4. "I Really Need You. Do You Have To See Your Friends Tonight?"
One way or another, relationships always requires some degree of emotional labor, in which you and your partner help manage and support one another's feelings.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend is going through a particularly rough patch and experiencing large life changes, or if they are struggling with their mental health, then it's totally understandable and acceptable for them to ask you to sacrifice a night out with the guys because they need your support.
What you need to look out for is deliberate emotional manipulation that isolates you from your social circle. If your partner cannot bear to be away from you for even a second — all of the time — then it's not because they are caught up in love with you. It's because they feel threatened by you having other influences than them and because they need to be the center of attention at all times.
This behavior might even extend to keeping you from pursuing your hobbies and work. It's not love if it is limiting or controlling you and your time.
5. "I Could've Dated Whomever I Wanted, But I Chose You"
Negging had a moment there when everyone was talking about how someone can undermine another person's self-esteem in order to make them want to stick around and prove their worth. This trend isn't always as overt as someone taking a jab at you and calling it "teasing," though. A manipulative partner will be very good at using backhanded compliments to flatter you. And sometimes, the slights will be so subtle that you won't even notice them.
Compliments like "I chose you," actually show that your partner has an enormous ego. She wants you to value you her, and doesn't really care if she reciprocates. She thinks that ending up with her ought to be flattering to you, maybe even to the extent that she thinks you owe her something for dating you.
But a good partner doesn't "choose" you out of a line up of eligible people. The Bachelor doesn't exist in real life. Maybe she was seeing multiple people when you first met, but if you are together now, then that ought to be left in the past. Other people should not be used as props to validate or uphold the worth of a relationship.
You don't fall in love out of a sense of obligation or because you think you are doing someone a favor. Love is the highest compliment you can pay someone, but it is also freely given and received. Love doesn't have a currency or an exchange rate.
If someone wants to be with you, they want to be with you for who you are, and not for any other kind of gain.
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