I was watching the popular relationship show on Netflix Love Is Blind (sidenote: do you think love is blind?) and heh! You should watch it if you haven’t.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that toxic relationship habits are ‘normal’ in our society.

You see, we took classes in chemistry, math, and even P.E, but not on relationships. And so, we have become accustomed to getting relationship advice from everywhere – including this blog you are reading 😊

In movies, it is always the passionate love stories that become hits, and not necessarily the things that really make a good relationship. Which is why, sometimes, we confuse love with toxic behavior, and get used to the idea of it all.

If you have been struggling to find out whether you are in a toxic relationship, here are certain habits that, although subtle and unconsciously done, might be damaging your relationship.

Expecting your partner to “fix” any emotional distress

Let’s be honest for a minute here. How many times have you gotten into a fight with your partner because they were not there for you during a tough time or not sympathetic enough about your bad day?🙈

Have you built up resentment because of this?

While it’s important to seek support and partnership with your significant other, there’s a big difference between being supportive and being emotionally obligated. You should be adding to each other’s lives without feeling like either of you depend on the other.

Lesson Learnt: If there is something I have learned, it is that you should ask. Vocalize how you’d like your partner to show up for you and how you’re feeling, without expecting or relying on them to “fix” anything. Take responsibility for your own emotions, without expecting them to be responsible for your happiness.

Prioritizing fairness

Source: Pexels/Antoni Shkraba

There are times I have caught myself keeping score of what I have done or said that hasn’t been reciprocated. If you find yourself mentally computing the effort your partner puts in and how it relates to the effort you put in, this could be a sign that one or both of you are more focused on keeping score than keeping the relationship healthy. Your relationship should not come with a scorecard that tallies up who has screwed up the most or who owes the other more.

Lesson Learnt: Relationships do not have to be “fair” for them to be good. Reevaluate your chore chart for example it doesn’t have to be “equal” (like “I cooked, so you have to do the dishes,”). Instead, offer to do the chores you know your partner really doesn’t like to do that you don’t mind and vice versa. Think about what makes sense for both of your lifestyles, not what is equal, and treat every problem or disagreement like it’s brand new, without bringing up past issues.

Believing your partner is your “second half”

I have a problem with the “You complete me,” phrase. As an individual, you should be able to live a fulfilled life without the belief that you need someone to make you whole.  

When you don’t feel “whole” without your partner, of course, you won’t want to have your own hobbies, friendships, and alone time (crucial for a truly healthy relationship) or may feel like you literally would not live without them so you feel insecure when they’re out of your site out of fear of losing them. This mentality can lead to toxic dynamics like codependency, insecurity, and controlling behavior.

Lesson Learnt: No one brings 50-50 into a relationship. Everyone brings 100-100. So, look at your partner as someone who enriches and adds to your already complete life. Focus on yourself more often than you focus on the relationship, and seek out what makes you happy. Then get ready to share your joy with your significant other, instead of expecting them to be the sole source of your joy. 

Dropping “hints”

Source: Pexels/Ron Lach

Maybe you want to make a big move like moving in with your partner and because you don’t know how to bring up the conversation, you start dropping hints. Dropping “hints” about other areas of your relationship instead of communicating what you need and want can be toxic and damaging. If you can’t openly communicate your feelings or desires, whether it’s I wish you complimented me more, or I’d like us to take the next step in our relationship, your communication needs some work.

Lesson Learnt: Communicate. Be upfront and open about your feelings, desires, and needs. Never lead with false hopes that your partner will be able to assume what you want, and value open communication in your relationship. Make it clear that your partner is not obligated to fulfill your needs. Rather, you’d appreciate their effort or support, and don’t be judgmental, unreceptive, or dismissive with anything they communicate to you.

What are you guilty of?