7 Truths About Love to Remember This Valentine’s Day

Sparkler against black background

If we were to ask pop culture what the ideal relationship looked like, most of us would expect an image of fireworks in the sky with that one and only person who completes us. Romantic comedies may be uplifting, and love songs beautiful, but much of what we learn about relationships early on sets us up for unrealistic expectations.

The result? We never feel like our relationships are good enough, and may doubt if we’re deserving of love.

Holidays like Valentine’s Day can exacerbate these worries. Social media often makes it seem like everyone else is coupled and in an ecstatic state of love. If we’re partnered, we may wonder if our relationship is as good as everyone else’s seems to be. And if we’re single, we may feel even more inadequate.

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Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship (+ How to Get Out of It)

Fashionable man looking sad

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.

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A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Palm of hand extended outward signaling stop

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This quote encapsulates what most healthy relationships really look like — two individuals who support each other on their distinct journeys, rather than two people who become lost in one another. Much of this comes down to having and maintaining clear boundaries, even within a romantic relationship.

It may seem obvious, but what are boundaries, really?

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Use Boundaries to Keep Your Individuality When You Fall in Love

love has boundaries

Falling in love and building a relationship is wonderful, but it can destroy individuality if you’re not careful. Expressing boundaries will help you maintain your individuality and a healthy relationship.

A relationship can create an all-encompassing, overwhelmingly positive feeling. During the initial stages people often call an “infatuation phase,” boundaries melt and dissolve. We merge together. Our life becomes theirs, theirs ours. We lose ourselves. Continue reading Use Boundaries to Keep Your Individuality When You Fall in Love

Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Sharing thoughts and feelings with my therapist is one thing – acting on the advice being given to me is an entirely different beast.

– by Anonymous Talkspace User

This is my current dilemma: It’s been a few weeks since I jumped into this therapy thing full throttle, and my therapist now knows more about me than many of my friends and family members. And even though I think sharing my emotions is a good thing, what I really want is an effective action plan to keep them from doing exactly what they always do – interfere with my otherwise blissful existence.  Continue reading Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry