“I promise I’ll change.”
These are four words most people in a relationship with an abusive partner have probably heard. Longed-for yet dreaded, the words can offer both hope and disappointment. Hope that things really will get better this time, and disappointment when, inevitably, the abusive behavior—whether emotional, physical, or verbal—begins all over again.
We’ve all heard that a leopard can’t change its spots. But what about an abusive partner?
Continue reading My Abusive Partner Promises They’ll Change. Will They?
As a therapist, I can’t tell you how many times clients come to me with information that they have gleaned from checking their partners’ phone. Some people will come in with screenshots of text conversations between their partner and others, hoping to dissect them to determine whether their partner was flirting or whether the conversation was just platonic.
Others come in with call records, telling me that it can’t be innocent when a partner calls a “friend” five times in a week. Some people fear that a significant other is cheating on them and comb through their partner’s email, looking for something that they can use as evidence of infidelity.
Continue reading Why You Shouldn’t Check Your Partner’s Phone
Online, our relationship was great. We had a lot in common. We couldn’t get enough of each other’s “texting company.” It may seem crazy to you, but it seemed like a good idea at the time: I invited a person I’d never met to fly halfway across the world — not only to meet me in person, but also to stay in my apartment for the two weeks she was visiting. I hoped the relationship would turn into something rich and real, distance be damned. Bad decision.
Just two days into her stay, the red flags started going up. She manipulated me, created a hostile atmosphere in my home, initiated never-ending drama, made ridiculous demands of me, criticized me often, talked poorly about me behind my back, forbade me from talking to friends about our relationship. Can you say toxic? I can, and thankfully, I got this person out of my life. But it wasn’t easy.
How To Tell If You’re In A Toxic Relationship
While there are plenty of signs you may be in a toxic relationship, it’s not always clear when you’re deep in the dynamic itself. Often times, a toxic partnership starts out well enough, but then slowly (and subtly) starts to erode your sense of self. One of the first warning signs of a potential toxic relationship is that the other person is consistently violating your boundaries.
Continue reading Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship (+ How to Get Out of It)
This piece is part of our Darkest Day series, a collection of stories from people who’ve made it through the worst of their illness and now light the way for others.
It must be possible to spend your early 20s in a way that doesn’t prompt later regret. Knowing what it feels like to be, say, 22, newly graduated from college, and recently moved in with a drop-out junk dealer boyfriend, it’s hard for me to imagine. Some people must have the strength of character, or luck, or some combination, to skip over the throwing-your-life-away-as-soon-as-it becomes-your-own stage of development. I’m curious about them.
When I was 22, I decided to throw my life away with the most unsuitable person I had met to date.
Continue reading Toxic Love: The Relationship that Almost Undid Me