Toxic is certainly a buzzword that’s blazing through conversations surrounding health and wellness these days. They could be in your mattress or your non-organic fruit. Maybe toxins are lurking in your shampoo and you never even thought of it. So much thought and energy now goes into identifying and eliminating sources of toxicity to prevent it from entering your body.
What about toxins that enter your soul? Toxic people can have an arguably far worse impact on your overall being. They bring you down, inhibit your growth, and force you to be a lesser version of yourself. It’s important to identify potentially toxic friendships in your life and especially not engage in a more significant relationship that might have those same qualities.
My marriage was toxic. I hardly even realized how much so until it was over. It’s kind of like the frog getting boiled in the water example. If you put Kermit in boiling water, he’ll jump out immediately. However if you put him in some lukewarm H2O and gradually turn up the burners under his green ass, he’ll keep chilling in the hot tub until he croaks.
That’s what I was exposed to. Slow and steady toxicity infiltrating my life and by the end, there wasn’t much positive left of me. I was a depressed, defeated, and weak version of my former self. Now after truly getting over my ex, I’m in a much better place having spent time redefining what I’m all about as an individual. I’m here to lay out some of the key areas that you need to keep an eye out for, to make sure you don’t go down the same path as me.
Be ware the narcissist - Identifying a narcissist is sometimes tough to do, but it’s important to keep it on your radar, because being married to one is even tougher. By definition a narcissist will be completely self-centered and lack empathy. In terms of a relationship, this is a complete disaster.
Relationships are back and forth, they are a merging of souls, schedules, and lives. If one person is in it just for themselves, it will be a slow and painful life. They can be manipulative and deceptive. Keep an eye out for warning signs that who your with may embody some of these qualities.
The friends and family test – If she doesn’t vibe relatively well with those that are closest in your life, it’s probably a bad sign. People who have known you the longest most likely get you. They know what you need in a perfect counterpart for life. If you’re getting bad vibes from the way she interacts with your close circle of friends and family, it’s probably best to give them the benefit of the doubt and severely question the longevity of this relationship.
People rarely, if ever, change – Part of the reason I stayed in my relationship for as long as I did is that I have a bit of a savior complex. I truly thought that I could change her and change our relationship to be better. I didn’t want to give up. I knew that I could make it better. That was naïve. People truly don’t change at the core. They are brought and learn a series of beliefs, principles, and a certain approach to life. Aspects of that can adjust if they are dedicated to positive personal growth, but more likely than not, they won’t do a complete 180 from what they have been up until now.
You should feel empowered – If your significant other is constantly bringing you down, not providing you with support when needed, and causing you to form insecurities…run. A true relationship should be based on being completely autonomous as individuals but, when together, you amplify each others’ awesomeness. Complete support. A cheerleader. Someone who gets you, what makes you tick, and what it takes to encourage and empower you to be amazing.
I hope that some of these lessons will be helpful as you navigate the dating world. I can’t impress the importance enough to read prospective partners very closely for some of these red flags and warning signs. Overall, go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right and she doesn’t seem like she would make you a much better person, then she probably won’t. Don’t end up with someone who brings you down. Hold off, never settle, never try to save(like I did), and I assure you that someone amazing will come along that won’t add to the plaguing toxicity in your world.
This post originally appeared on AskMen.com