After recounting another episode of selfishness from her ex, my friend sounded so deflated over the phone. “I just want something boring now,” she said.
I told her to be careful what she wished for because she might get it. But I understood the sentiment.
After so much time spent in awful romances, we tend to oscillate from one extreme to the other. If the relationship was drama-filled, now we want drama-free. It makes sense.
However, an interesting thing happens. When we decide we want someone reliable, someone that is truly committed, someone safe, we get bored out of our skulls when that person arrives.
We say things like, “There’s no spark. No chemistry.” For some reason, this person is exactly the type of person you’d need for a healthy relationship, but you’re just not attracted to them.
Apparently we want ammonia mixed with bleach. We want to get knocked out by chloramine vapor. We “want” toxic relationships. But why? Why can’t we put down the chemistry set of attachment disorders and relationship trauma?
Because our early love relationships with our parents or caregivers were toxic, we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to having relationships that are also toxic, drama-filled and drama-fueled. Every day is an episode of Gossip Girl.
Some people know that physical abuse is never okay and once that happens, they’re out. But some don’t. That was the norm for many people growing up and they truly think that it’s okay or at least justifiable.
Some people think that when you get with someone, your life and their life merge together to create a Venn diagram, with the intersection being the relationship. This is not healthy, but because you had a caregiver who made you take on some of their traits, else they wouldn’t be loving to you anymore, you think that’s how love is supposed to be.
Some people think that when someone is their partner or spouse, that person literally belongs to them and that they belong to the other person. Socially, they may know that this isn’t true but their actions say otherwise. They get upset when you do something that isn’t what they want. They think that you’re supposed to stay with them no matter what.
Some people think that you should be with people you can rescue. If you save them, they will love you. A thousand times, no.
I could go on but you get the point. If you associate toxicity and drama with love and romance, you have to eventually realize that what you thought was love is actually poison.
The thing is, all relationship will come with some level of conflict. Hell, we have conflicts with ourselves all the time. A part of us wants to do something but another part of us wants to do something else.
It is in reconciling both sides in a win-win solution that allows the intrapersonal relationship we have with ourselves to flourish. We don’t want to abuse a part of ourselves because that’s abusing ourselves in totality.
The same is true for our interpersonal relationships. Both people have to approach their desires for a win-win outcome, else someone is going to feel slighted. It’s bad enough that we ignore and shame ourselves when we have inner conflict. Must we ignore and shame each other in our romances too?
Therefore, the first step to knowing what is healthy is treating yourself in a healthy way. Taking the time to see how you’ve abused yourself will go a long way in seeing how you abuse yourself in relationships and how you abuse others.
This will be a process but it is a necessary one if you seek a partner who treats you like the prize you are. You will have to unlearn things you thought were okay. You will have to realize some painful but ultimately liberating truths. Because even if that means you have to leave your current relationship, at least the relationship with yourself is better than ever.
Maybe you’re like my friend and you want a boring relationship with no drama. I challenge you to reconsider. You don’t have to have a toxic relationship or a boring one. You just want a loving relationship. But if you’re the one choosing the partner, you need to know how to choose wisely.