Toxic relationships will change the way you think about love. They will blur the lines between good and bad, between acceptable and unacceptable.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you’ll rationalize every little thing that goes wrong. You’ll twist reality in order to fit your narrative. You might think of jealousy as cute. You might think of screaming as natural. You might convince yourself it’s a good thing your person cursed you out or keyed your car because it means you matter to them, it means they love you, it means they care about you enough to have a reaction when you upset them.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you think of the wrong things as romantic. You assume it’s normal to have more bad days than good days. You get so used to the arguments that you actually become suspicious when your person buys you flowers or plans out a date night.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you get cynical. You hear advice about how relationships are supposed to be equal and your person is supposed to trust you — but you assume those quotes are bullshit. You figure they’re something people only say when they’ve never been in a serious, passionate relationship before. You figure everyone who has been dating for as long as you’ve been dating secretly deals with the same problems you’ve been facing. They just don’t talk about it.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you stop having dealbreakers. You allow your person to get away with things you swore you would never put up with in the past. You lower the bar more and more each week. You let your person get away with murder and stick around in the name of love. You tell yourself relationships are hard work. You tell yourself you’re a fighter who would never give up on someone they love. You tell yourself you’re doing the right thing. You don’t even realize you’re lying to yourself.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you develop toxic traits of your own. You might snoop through texts or guess email passwords or flirt harmlessly with coworkers without realizing you’re doing anything wrong. You might feel justified in your actions because you’re not doing anything worse than your person has done. Compared to them, you’re a saint. They don’t have the right to complain. Not when they’ve been acting the way they’ve been acting.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, you lose touch with your morals. You lose touch with your standards. You lose touch with reality.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for too long, it warps the way you think about love. It makes you think the constant fighting and cheating and lying is normal. It makes you think this is the way all relationships end up after enough time. It makes you think you have it as good as it’s going to get.