6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal

6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal

Share & Comment
There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and maybe read a few obscure love stories from the 19th century on how not to be.

But when it comes down to actually handling the nitty-gritty of relationships, we’re given no pointers… or worse, we’re given advice columns in women’s magazines.

Yes, it’s trial-and-error from the get-go. And if you’re like most people, it’s been mostly error.

But part of the problem is that many unhealthy relationship habits are baked into our culture. We worship romantic love — you know, that dizzying and irrational romantic love that somehow finds breaking china plates on the wall in a fit of tears somewhat endearing — and scoff at practicality or unconventional sexualities. Men and women are raised to objectify each other and to objectify the relationships they’re in. Thus our partners are often seen as assets rather than someone to share mutual emotional support.

A lot of the self help literature out there isn’t helpful either (no, men and women are not from different planets, you over-generalizing prick). And for most of us, mom and dad surely weren’t the best examples either.

Fortunately, there’s been a lot of psychological research into healthy and happy relationships the past few decades and there are some general principles that keep popping up consistently that most people are unaware of or don’t follow. In fact, some of these principles actually go against what is traditionally considered “romantic” or normal in a relationship.

Below are six of the most common tendencies in relationships that many couples think are healthy and normal, but are actually toxic and destroying everything you hold dear. Get the tissues ready.

1. The Relationship Scorecard

fights-in-a-relationshipWhat It Is: The “keeping score” phenomenon is when someone you’re dating continues to blame you for past mistakes you made in the relationship. If both people in the relationship do this it devolves into what I call “the relationship scorecard,” where it becomes a battle to see who has screwed up the most over the months or years, and therefore who owes the other one more.

You were an asshole at Cynthia’s 28th birthday party back in 2010 and it has proceeded to ruin your life ever since. Why? Because there’s not a week that goes by that you’re not reminded of it. But that’s OK, because that time you caught her sending flirtatious text messages to her co-worker immediately removes her right to get jealous, so it’s kind of even, right?

Wrong.

Why It’s Toxic: The relationship scorecard develops over time because one or both people in a relationship use past wrongdoings in order to try and justify current righteousness. This is a double-whammy of suckage. Not only are you deflecting the current issue itself, but you’re ginning up guilt and bitterness from the past to manipulate your partner into feeling wrong in the present.

If this goes on long enough, both partners eventually spend most of their energy trying to prove that they’re less culpable than the other rather than solving the current problem. People spend all of their time trying to be less wrong for each other instead of being more right for each other.

What You Should Do Instead: Deal with issues individually unless they are legitimately connected. If someone habitually cheats, then that’s obviously a recurring problem. But the fact that she embarrassed you in 2010 and now she got sad and ignored you today in 2013 have nothing to do with each other, so don’t bring it up.

You must recognize that by choosing to be with your significant other, you are choosing to be with all of their prior actions and behaviors. If you don’t accept those, then ultimately, you are not accepting them. If something bothered you that much a year ago, you should have dealt with it a year ago.

2. Dropping “Hints” and Other Passive-Aggression

What It Is: Instead of stating a desire or thought overtly, your partner tries to nudge you in the right direction of figuring it out yourself. Instead of saying what’s actually upsetting you, you find small and petty ways to piss your partner off so you’ll then feel justified in complaining to them.

Why It’s Toxic: Because it shows that you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly with one another. A person has no reason to be passive-aggressive if they feel safe expressing any anger or insecurity within the relationship. A person will never feel a need to drop “hints” if they feel like they won’t be judged or criticized for it.

What You Should Do Instead: State your feelings and desires openly. And make it clear that the other person is not necessarily responsible or obligated to them but that you’d love to have their support. If they love you, they’ll almost always be able to give it.

3. Holding the Relationship Hostage

What It Is: When one person has a simple criticism or complaint and blackmails the other person by threatening the commitment of the relationship as a whole. For instance, if someone feels like you’ve been cold to them, instead of saying, “I feel like you’re being cold sometimes,” they will say, “I can’t date someone who is cold to me all of the time.”

Why It’s Toxic: It’s emotional blackmail and it creates tons of unnecessary drama. Every minor hiccup in the flow of the relationship results in a perceived commitment crisis. It’s crucial for both people in a relationship to know that negative thoughts and feelings can be communicated safely to one another without it threatening the relationship itself. Otherwise people will suppress their true thoughts and feelings which leads to an environment of distrust and manipulation.

What You Should Do Instead: It’s fine to get upset at your partner or to not like something about them. That’s called being a normal human being. But understand that committing to a person and always liking a person are not the same thing. One can be committed to someone and not like everything about them. One can be eternally devoted to someone yet actually be annoyed or angered by their partner at times. On the contrary, two partners who are capable of communicating feedback and criticism towards one another only without judgment or blackmail will strengthen their commitment to one another in the long-run.

4. Blaming Your Partner For Your Own Emotions

What It Is: Let’s say you’re having a crappy day and your partner isn’t exactly being super sympathetic or supportive at the moment. They’ve been on the phone all day with some people from work. They got distracted when you hugged them. You want to lay around at home together and just watch a movie tonight, but they have plans to go out and see their friends.

So you lash out at them for being so insensitive and callous toward you. You’ve been having a shitty day and they have done nothing about it. Sure, you never asked, but they should just know to make you feel better. They should have gotten off the phone and ditched their plans based on your lousy emotional state.

Why It’s Toxic: Blaming our partners for our emotions is a subtle form of selfishness, and a classic example of the poor maintenance of personal boundaries. When you set a precedent that your partner is responsible for how you feel at all times (and vice-versa), then will develop codependent tendencies. Suddenly, they’re not allowed to plan activities without checking with you first. All activities at home — even the mundane such as reading books or watching TV — must be negotiated and compromised. When someone begins to get upset, all personal desires go out the window because it is now your responsibility to make one another feel better.

The biggest problem of developing these codependent tendencies is that they breed resentment. Sure, if my girlfriend gets mad at me once because she’s had a shitty day and is frustrated and needs attention, that’s understandable. But if it becomes an expectation that my life revolves around her emotional well-being at all times, then I’m soon going to become very bitter and even manipulative towards her feelings and desires.

What You Should Do Instead: Take responsibility for your own emotions and expect your partner to be responsible for theirs. There’s a subtle yet important difference between being supportive of your partner and being obligated to your partner. Any sacrifices should be made as an autonomous choice and not seen as an expectation. As soon as both people in a relationship become culpable for each other’s moods and downswings, it gives them both incentives to hide their true feelings and manipulate one another.

733812_502137846510147_520416653_n

5. Displays of “Loving” Jealousy

What It Is: Getting pissed off when your partner talks, flirts, touches, calls, texts, hangs out, or sneezes in the general vicinity of another person and then you proceed to take that anger out on your partner and attempt to control their behavior. This often leads to insano behaviors such as hacking into your partner’s email account, looking through their text messages while they’re in the shower or even following them around town and showing up unannounced when they’re not expecting you.

Why It’s Toxic: It surprises me that some people describe this as some sort of display of affection. They figure that if their partner wasn’t jealous then that would somehow mean that they weren’t loved by them.

This is absolutely clownshit crazy to me. It’s controlling and manipulative. It creates unnecessary drama and fighting. It transmits a message of a lack of trust in the other person. And to be honest, it’s demeaning. If my girlfriend cannot trust me to be around other attractive women by myself, then it implies that she believes that I’m either a) a liar, or b) incapable of controlling my impulses. In either case, that’s a woman I do not want to be dating.

What You Should Do Instead: Trust your partner. It’s a radical idea, I know. Some jealousy is natural. But excessive jealousy and controlling behaviors towards your partner are signs of your own feelings of unworthiness and you should learn to deal with them and not force them onto those close to you. Because otherwise you are only going to eventually push that person away.

6. Buying the Solutions to Relationship Problems

originalWhat It Is: Any time a major conflict or issue comes up in the relationship, instead of solving it, one covers it up with the excitement and good feelings that come with buying something nice or going on a trip somewhere.

My parents were experts at this one. And it got them real far: a big fat divorce and 15 years of hardly speaking to each other since. They have both since independently told me that this was the primary problem in their marriage: continuously covering up their real issues with superficial pleasures.

Why It’s Toxic: Not only does it brush the real problem under the rug (where it will always re-emerge from even worse the next time), but it sets an unhealthy precedent within the relationship. This is not a gender-specific problem, but I will use the traditional gendered situation as an example. Let’s imagine that whenever a woman gets angry at her boyfriend/husband, the man “solves” the issue by buying the woman something nice, or taking her to a nice restaurant or something. Not only does this give the woman unconscious incentive to find more reasons to be upset with the man, but it also gives the man absolutely no incentive to actually be accountable for the problems in the relationship. So what do you end up with? A checked-out husband who feels like an ATM, and an incessantly bitter woman who feels unheard.

What You Should Do Instead: Actually, you know, deal with the problem. Trust was broken? Talk about what it will take to rebuild it. Someone feels ignored or unappreciated? Talk about ways to restore those feelings of appreciation. Communicate!

There’s nothing wrong with doing nice things for a significant other after a fight to show solidarity and to reaffirm commitment. But one should never use gifts or fancy things to replace dealing with the underlying emotional issues. Gifts and trips are called luxuries for a reason, you only get to appreciate them when everything else is already good. If you use them to cover up your problems, then you will find yourself with a much bigger problem down the line.

Print Friendly

Did you like this article?

Every couple weeks I send out a newsletter with new articles and exclusive content for readers. It's basically my way of keeping in touch with you and letting you know what's going on. Your information is protected and I never spam.

Subscribe below to stay connected.

869 Comments

Leave a Comment

  • Reply

    Unkown

    19 weeks ago

    My Boyfriend went through my facebook messages last week. Basically went crazy today im a liar a cheater everything that I really am not. Most messages were harmless general conversation with old friends . I would never cheat on him he has access to all my passwords. There were a few and one in 3am while he was out saying hi how are you. I never intiated the conversations no flirting nothing but harmless general chat. Maybe its wrong and I would have changed it with a conversation. Yet I got abused called every horrible word under the sun and broken up with over the phone. Did I deserve this for the facebook issue. Or after being there for him through thick and thin, desereve a second chance and given a chance to change it if he really loves me ? Im a very faithful person and would never cheat, he sometimes doesnt give me 100% but no excuse on my behalf I guess I acknowledge im wrong

    • Reply

      Emmi

      17 weeks ago

      I don’t think your wrong, I think your boyfriend or “ex” boyfriend has some deep trust issues. your not responsible for what he thinks, your only responsible for yourself.

      • Reply

        Unknown person

        16 weeks ago

        Unknown I dont think facebook is a good place for couples not for jealous reasons it’s just to much temptation and no one can say there are inappropriate images lingering around on Facebook. People always will end up finding some trouble on those types of websites it will lead to a problem I hope you would mind if your guy were sending messages at 1 am 3 am in the morning or should I say responding to harmless messages seriously it’s not normal to respond to messages from at 1 am 3 am. Jesus would agree if no one else agrees with me.

        • Reply

          sherise

          11 weeks ago

          lol. I agree. Yes your boyfriend has some serious issues, but maybe you are behaving in a certain behavior that sparks his insecurity. It’s either that or he is batshit crazy. Get out!

        • Reply

          Alia

          10 weeks ago

          Some people don’t sleep at night like normal people do. That doesn’t mean that it is an issue that someone is talking to another person at that time. I have always been an night owl. There for, I also have friends that are night owls. Don’t use religion as a reason for why it is wrong. That doesn’t a solve anything, and creates more problems. In something that is about toxic relationships, your statement was really toxic.

      • Reply

        Dr Bob

        13 weeks ago

        “Deep trust issues”, this is not a her or him issue. The relationship is based on both “beings” involved. “Trust issues” play a small role in most case. Usually the actions of a person that goes right for accusation (acting guilty of the misuse of trust) are the very one that is doing the wrong by the relationship. Now, suddenly these guilty people becomes the biggest advocate and spokespersons for “Trust”. Trust is based upon the statements, actions, the handling of the someones heart. If you’re doing something that would damage your heart, (in the case that someone has taken your Trust for granted) then whatever you’re doing is not necessary. Online flirting is not okay. Flirting with someone else is the start of consensual mating. Matters of the heart, matters (woman or man). Every action is the result of some source of energy. If I’m always online, harmless flirting, expressing my relationship problems to everyone except my mate, wanting love in my relationship but not giving the love that I want back, only seeing fault, displeasure and failure. You may just need to move on and stop being selfish. Or you could just get back to loving her or him. Showing your appreciation for that love and trust. And with a heart that is true (true to yourself, your relationship, your personally and relationship growth, overall progression as people) you will be able to “grow past your hindrance of self abuse that is yourself, your mind”. Your future relationship may have a better chance for success than being vexed from the start. And bitterness will not become a part of your entire life.

        • Reply

          Debi

          10 weeks ago

          Dr. Bob, I read you’re posted reply at least 3 times now and it really just doesn’t make any sense in relation to the post you made the reply under. Facebook is not a social site for only single people and married people can have conversations on social websites without flirting. The situation posted above has dysfunctional written all over it and if I were her I would be grateful that he ended it, someone going through your computer and snooping the websites you use the most is a clinical sign of control issues and is in fact a form of stalking. Good riddance.

          • sarah

            4 days ago

            You say “snooping” through the web site you use is a clinical sign of controlling. An elevated temperature is a clinical sign of a bacterial infection too but it doesn’t mean you have a bacterial infection. I think people are too quick to jump on the “controlling relationship” band wagon just because a person looks through their partners things. Maybe you are fine with them looking, maybe that is the relationship you want to have. Relationships differ if all kinds of ways and not every type of relationship works for every type of couple.

      • Reply

        JOE

        10 weeks ago

        **You’re

    • Reply

      kate

      12 weeks ago

      He went on a rant and broke up with you. If you truly feel his behavior was unfounded, it sounds like one of two things.

      1 He was already planning to break up with you and was looking for a situation to make you the bad guy. Thus the over exaggerated behavior and the unwillingness to talk it out.

      2. He has some crazy issues.

      Either way, were it me, i’d quit analyzing it and move on.

    • Reply

      Bill5757

      10 weeks ago

      Maybe you got what you deserved in that situation – out of an abusive, untrusting relationship. If you know you didn’t do anything wrong, hold on to that and know that the problem was his. Believe in yourself; feel sorry for him, and move on.

    • Reply

      Rose

      7 weeks ago

      No you did not deserve this at all, your boyfriend should have sat you down and talked to you about the situation rather than flying off the rails and assuming the worst. It sounds to me like your boyfriend (or should I say “ex” boyfriend) is trying to control you. I say ditch the sucker.

    • Reply

      jess

      7 weeks ago

      Holy moly, there is nothing wrong with chatting with anyone of either gender at any time of day or night. Please don’t feel like you did anything wrong. If you do then that is the direct result of your boyfriend’s manipulative behavior. If you admit wrongdoing and apologize then he will hold it over you but if you challenge him on whether it was “wrong” (which it clearly wasn’t) then maybe you’ll both learn something.

    • Reply

      Ray Butlers

      1 week ago

      You changed your passwords, right?

      Also, you’ll never share a password with another human being for the rest of your life, right?

      Good.

      • Reply

        sarah

        4 days ago

        Right, because not being able to share those things with your partner is an excellent way to have a relationship.

  • Reply

    Singles Love Vacations

    18 weeks ago

    Any time a major conflict or issue comes up in the relationship, instead of solving it, one covers it up with the excitement and good feelings that come with buying something nice or going on a trip somewhere.

  • Reply

    Dan McKinnon

    17 weeks ago

    I thought this was excellent!!

    • Reply

      Toni-Lee

      10 weeks ago

      I totally think this was excellent!

  • Reply

    Cedric

    16 weeks ago

    Agree with the article for most part except the section on hints and passive aggression is oversimplified and would add to it.

    Hints and passive aggression are negative but this is primarily true for ‘low context cultures’ which are less cue based and based on direct open communication. Say what you mean. This is not necessarily negative in high context cultures.

    In European and Asian cultures which are examples of ‘high context cultures’ cues and cultural signs have a far greater role in daily communication and are absolutely critical in sharing meaning. It relies far more on nuances and cultural reference.

    Also individualist cultures tend to be low context whereas collectivist cultures tend to be higher context.

    Its both important to understand the importance of being direct in low context cultures but also important to understand the importance that successful and healthy communication in high context cultures requires knowledge of the ‘hints’ cues and nuances.

  • Reply

    NcSark

    15 weeks ago

    Great article. Number 3 is my mother and I to a tee. One comment from me about how she behaves sometimes and she wants to end the relationship and cut me off. It’s ridiculous. Thanks for putting what is happening and why so succinctly.

  • Reply

    TaimaChan

    15 weeks ago

    Thanks man, nice article. I like buying my boyfriend little gifts to surprise him, not because i want to get something out of it, and in turn sometimes he surprises me with something as simple as bringing home a type of food i like. Patching things up with expensive superficial crap is no substitute for just talking to your partner like they are a human being. We both know that passive aggressiveness sucks because its almost more hurtful for someone to deliberately be subtle in getting under your skin just to try and hurt or blackmail you. Its really low, and that whole dropping hints thing destroys all sorts of relationships, not just romantic ones.

  • Reply

    Mellow

    14 weeks ago

    My parents and specially my mother are fine examples of many of the above. I asked my mother on a visit if they could keep the noise down at 1 in the morning so my daughter and I may sleep. She reacted by screaming; pulling out her hair and threatening to disown me. She routinely reminds me of how I “hurt her feelings” when I was six years old! I am so truly sick of it. Blackmail works if you care but I don’t care anymore. She can withdraw her love any time. It was never there in the first place.

    • Reply

      xrayx

      10 weeks ago

      @ Mellow – Sounds like a BPD ( border line personality disorder)/ narcissistic personality disorder.

  • Reply

    Hassan Khawaja

    14 weeks ago

    Absolutely agree with you Mark.

  • Reply

    marci

    14 weeks ago

    My husband has abandon me and the kids for the the past 8months now, and refuse to come back because he was hold on by a woman whom he just met, for that, my self and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a struggle, but i decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then i went online there i saw so many good talk about this spiritual man King Shola reuniting families and homes with his spell powers. I asked for his email reunitehomespelltemple@ gmail. com, so i had to contact him and in just 9 days as he has promised, my husband came home and his behavior was back to the man i got married to, and that was what happened. I am so grateful.

  • Reply

    Ann

    13 weeks ago

    All 6 really describe my relationship with husband of 8 years. There’s been lots of fights, resentment, lies, affairs, we’ve forgotten how to be ourselves with each other. My husband had an affair last year, I intended to get revenge so I went on a chat but never did anything. And now his blaming me for everything. He’s always insults me from the beginning, thinks I’ve always cheated on him, he really knows how to degrade me. I can’t be myself anymore. I can’t look up in public without him thinking I’m checking a guy out. He believes, that every guy friends I knew before we got married I’ve slept with them all. He keeps bringing up passed problems that happened before we got married. But he does have good in him, he was 21 with our first kid , he worked his best to finish school, he comes home from work and gives me massages cuz he knows I love them, he’s a great dad, he smiles all the time, his a big joker, his super smart. But I need help, few days ago he realized we have toxic relationship, but he hasn’t anything to change yet. I guess it takes time.

    • Reply

      Sher_Bob

      11 weeks ago

      Giving great massages doesn’t make up for being a dick who degrades someone else and makes them feel inadequate. You lack trust in your relationship. I don’t think you need help. I think he needs help. You can’t fix his trust issues.

  • Reply

    Maria

    13 weeks ago

    I had my long distance relationship for almost 4 years now, Our
    relationship was okay and good, but for some reasons I couldn’t understand
    My ex boyfriend broke up with me for almost 3 weeks now, and it me sad,
    frustrated, devastated having mix emotions to face the reality that he
    doesn’t want to work it out anymore, I dint know what else to do until i
    search and bumped into this testimonies regarding Love spell and i read
    some of those who had the same problem i had and until i found Dr. Alex who
    can cast spell to bring your partner back at first i was hesitant to do so
    but eventually i tried his power to cast spell bring back your partner
    back because of his kind hearted, generosity He did Help me and i am so
    happy about it. Thank you so much Dr. Alex you May contact him here (
    solutionhelpcentre@gmail. com) or call him on +2347036013351

  • Reply

    Nicole

    11 weeks ago

    A spell?? R u kidding, isnt that kind of evil and going against what God says not to do??

    • Reply

      Sher_Bob

      11 weeks ago

      Good God, how can your team approve comments like this when it’s sent for moderation?

      • Reply

        Sher_Bob

        11 weeks ago

        I mean the comment about the spell.

  • Reply

    melinda

    11 weeks ago

    Thanks for the great read. I’ve been reading a lot of posts about personal and professional relationships and they always seem to jive with ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. Would love to hear your thoughts on that if you’ve read the book. It’s a fantastic read if you haven’t already gotten to it.

  • Reply

    Nissa

    11 weeks ago

    Mark –

    I was reading this part of the article, that your parents were “continuously covering up their real issues with superficial pleasures” and I had a huge insight. This is where you learned this behavior. So when you got into drugs, PUA, and all the other stuff you did to cover up your real issues, it wasn’t because you were a big jerk. It was because the two biggest influences in your life taught you that this was the way to handle problems. Thought I’d share my lightbulb….consider yourself enlightened :-).

    • Reply

      Mark

      11 weeks ago

      Haha, very observant.

      I actually read a book about a year ago about how parents with narcissistic tendencies basically inadvertently raise kids with narcissistic tendencies because the only way the kids can be rewarded with affection is through appealing to the parents’ egotistical and superficial desires. Needless to say, it was a little bit painful for me to read.

      • Reply

        Sher_Bob

        11 weeks ago

        Hi Mark, I’d like your opinion on something. I know a guy who’s very very judgmental towards the rest of humanity. Every girl who wears a short skirt is a slut. Every person who drink is bad. Every model is a whore. Every guy who drives a Lamborgini has a small dick so he drives a nice car to make up for his shortcomings (no pun intended). I struggle to figure this guy out. His strong opinions create conflict between himself and other people. He is not a fighter, so it’s not like he has bat shit crazy outrages with people. It’s just that he would always make a comment on something he doesn’t approve of and sometimes people get offended. Because I spent the majority of my time with him at one stage, I started getting offended. He doesn’t think that he is wrong and refuses to reason. As I am typing it becomes clear he is generally against people. He sometimes even pretends to be nice to people he doesn’t like however, almost as if he doesn’t want to be judged. Ironically. So I want to know how do you think his parents influenced this way of dealing with problems? His parents are genuine nice people. I don’t entirely agree with their lifestyle but they’re nice people regardless. I feel that this is a way of dealing with issues. I mean if someone is that judgmental all the time, then it must be a coping mechanism. Could I be wrong?

        • Reply

          Mark

          11 weeks ago

          It’s definitely a defense mechanism of some sort. Hard to know why without knowing more about him. Check my article on Emotional Vampires.

  • Reply

    Neddy

    11 weeks ago

    Getting pissed off when your partner talks, flirts, touches, calls, texts, hangs out, or sneezes in the general vicinity of another person…

    The only one that I have a problem with is when he “flirts” with his new female “friends” via text behind my back. Am I really overreacting? I mean there’s flirting and there’s FLIRTING. I don’t consider myself the jealous or possessive type but there’s gotta be a line somewhere as to what is friendly and what is hurtful.

    • Reply

      lizzy

      10 weeks ago

      I agree with you Neddy, that section seemed brushed over and simplified. Men or Women have every right to raise an eyebrow at secretive flirting. The sneezing mention was funny but if we’re being serious here, all of those examples shouldn’t be grouped together :) I think what’s important with the flirting issue is to mention it to your partner and tell them that it bothered you, and why. That way, at least they know how you feel about their behavior, and have a chance to explain or perhaps think twice next time they want to text a flirt to their friend.

    • Reply

      Esther

      7 weeks ago

      Written by a dude.

      • Reply

        Rebecca

        6 weeks ago

        Ditto.

        • Reply

          Phil

          5 weeks ago

          …which makes it a good article.

          • Michelle

            1 week ago

            …said a man.

  • Reply

    Jenn

    11 weeks ago

    What a read! Seriously refreshing and that Men are from Mars book is loathsome, and, yes, the author divorced.

    I just want to address a topic that keeps coming up and I feel this is just the right place/time to do so.

    The whole Facebook impeding monogamy issue. And how it is ohhh so tempting.

    I don’t know about other females, but I have only had one Facebook guy message me that I fancied but quite a few creepers who get ignored.

    When I changed my status from single to “in a relationship” a gentlemen swooped in and tried to chat me via Facebook messaging. You know what he got in return: blocked.

    I will say, I didn’t trust my ex to do the same, so I politely ended it. And I don’t regret him. I loved that man. He just didn’t value monogamy; I do, so no biggie in the large scheme of things–it just didn’t work out.

    He went on to rekindle something with a beauty of a being who I’d be willing to guess ain’t so hot on the one partner thing either.

    And that is okay. I’m pretty upbeat about finding an appropriate partner who shares like values.

    But really, Facebook has nothing to do with it: Nothing says I don’t know how to think for myself, resist temptation and be my own adult like StaceyandBob Fuller.

    As adults we are responsible to follwing through with promises (like discussing what is cheating and agreeing to not do it/And, well, not doing it).

    Look I get it; biology is a bitch, but we ultimately get to choose what we do.

    Facebook does not make people cheat–a lack of valuing monogamy (and their own volition) is what drives people to cheat–So basically themselves.

    The answer is not dismissing facebook as “oh soo too tempting” and facebook is generally pretty fecking annoying most of the time btw, it’s knowing your values, finding a partner who shares them and communicating–oh and not checking your decency at the door because “Becca from senior year at OU says Hi.”

    • Reply

      sher_bob

      10 weeks ago

      i like your way of thinking, just saying

  • Reply

    laura

    10 weeks ago

    #6
    buying away problems. bf used to do this to me a lot. i get angry because he’s lazy and won’t clean up after himself so instead of solving the problem of the dirty dishes in the sink and dirty clothes on the floor the right way by washing the dishes and picking up the clothes, he buys me chocolate or something. eventually i told him i don’t want to be bought and for the most part i’d rather have clean dishes than chocolate (or a flower or a hoodie or whatever). he took this to mean “don’t buy me anything. ever.” so now we’re in the problem of “why didn’t you buy/make me a birthday present or cake or card or write me a song or take me on a date or acknowledge my birthday in any way?” but i love him. even if he doesn’t clean up after himself.

  • Reply

    chaitra

    10 weeks ago

    Thanks! It was a great and refreshing read! Good to read even before entering a relationship.

  • Reply

    Amanda

    10 weeks ago

    My relationship with my man is still very young. We’ve been very happy so far and we don’t do some of these but others are beginning to develop. I’ll sit and talk with him, and express to him how I want us tobe happy and uncruel towards eachother. The only thing I am worried about is that every time we get into an argument I feel like he is ready to bolt and run from the conflict because it upsets him. I really hope we can work that out… if we can do that I think we can deal with any other issues we may face.

  • Reply

    Boston

    10 weeks ago

    All six can be boiled down to “get out of your head” or stop being selfish.

    Odd to me that people need to be told this.

  • Reply

    Julia

    9 weeks ago

    Mark,

    Great article. A lot of people I know could stand to read these.
    I wanted to let you know I found a typo in #4, Why It’s Toxic, sentence two — I believe ‘then’ should be ‘they’.

    Cheers,
    Julia

  • Reply

    Redhearts16

    7 weeks ago

    This has nothing to do with the article, but My boyfriend, well I am assuming ex boyfriend now. Well we been talking on and off for 2 years an I wouldn’t date him because he got me over my ex who wasn’t treating me right and so when he was there for me he wanted to be with me but I kept turning him down because I wanted to make sure I had genuine feelings for him and wasn’t hopping into a rebound relationship. So later in 2012 I ended up moving to GA, and he didn’t want me to go but I couldn’t really tell but regardless of the situation he still wanted to be with me but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. We still talked all the time and everything and last year I went back to visit my family there and we chilled and everything well long story short I am back in GA and again he kept pursuing me and this relationship and we started to date it was great because I feel I fell inlove with him well a few weeks ago I know he is busy with his son and work sometimes he works doubles and/ or overnights so he said goodmorning to me like he does everyday and I said goodmorning back but he didn’t respond and I spazzed on him back to back to back all Saturday all Sunday and all Monday, now I feel bad thinking on it because I kinda got crazy he didn’t respond to me at all that whole time so I started to call him thinking he would answer and he didn’t and then he blocked me we are already not on one anothers social networks but this whole situation has hurt me cause I emailed him and apologized but still no response he never even officially broken up with me now I just wish I could rewind time and caught myself I have never acted like that before its not even about repairing the relationship but he was a constant in my life and now I don’t know what to do a lot of people tell me once he cools down he will text me again but I feel like its to late I am going to be 22 this month and he is going to be 24 next month I just need some advice on if I should leave it alone and move on or wait because I know this is my fault the reason this has happened…
    Thank you so much in advance

  • Reply

    ChocolateBoy

    7 weeks ago

    Hey Mark – or anybody else willing to give advice,

    I met my current girlfriend 5 years ago in college when we had a class together. We dated during that semester but didn’t see each other for a couple years after I spent a lot of time traveling, and then when I got back we dated again. Then I spent another year traveling, and when I came back she had moved an hour drive away. So ultimately, we spent 4 years seeing each other casually off and on when I was in town and it was always really amazing for both of us, but because of circumstance we never had the opportunity to take things further even though we both really wanted to. The last time I came back, however, she had a boyfriend, but never told me. We picked things right up where we left them like we had done those times before taking them further than ever before, so I was shocked and hurt when I finally found out about her boyfriend after all of this. She told me that they hadn’t been that happy and that I made her happier than anybody. However she finally felt like she still just needed to end things with me and give her current boyfriend a shot to make things right. Long story short, we kept contact but didn’t see each other for a couple months. However, in a surprising turn of events, he ended things with her, and she was just devastated. To me she made it seem like they weren’t that close, but after he surprisingly ended it with her, she acted like her whole world was falling apart. I was hurt and jealous and angry… But we talked it out and we have been slowly getting closer and closer as she can handle more and more intimacy again. One big issue I had with the whole thing is how can I trust her not to cheat when I have been the other guy myself. She assures me that she is not that girl anymore and even wants to move across the country with me, but I can’t say that I don’t think about that. I feel like I can give her a fair chance to prove herself, and I have been able to trust her more and more over the 4 months since she was broken up with by that other guy. However, I have one thing that I cannot figure out: she never displays her relationship status… I know this sounds like a small thing, but when she was cheating on her boyfriend with me I thought she was single and Facebook had a lot to do with that. If I had known, I would’ve waited and I would have known if she made that public. Do I have the right to ask her to make our relationship status public? If I do ask am I not giving her a fair chance to prove her fidelity to me in a way that’s healthy? Keep in mind she lives an hour away if that matters… Thanks!

  • Reply

    Jennifer

    7 weeks ago

    About #5. What if your checking up on the other person is because the person actually does lie to you, deletes text messages from work friends of the opposite sex, etc. They may not have been physically cheating, but then why go out of your way to delete them? So you find yourself in the situation of checking their stuff because you found out they are hiding things from you, where before you found out, you hadn’t done this.

    • Reply

      Faren

      7 weeks ago

      If you can’t trust him, why the hell are you still with him? End the relationship. Move on.

    • Reply

      Blah

      4 weeks ago

      This has my girlfriend written all over it. I trusted her 100% until I found out she “virtually” cheated on me earlier this year and now I find myself going through her texts whenever I get the chance just to expose more of her lies. She lies daily, deletes conversations with ex boyfriends and past hookups, flirts with anyone who gives her the time of day, and yet somehow I still can’t bring myself to ending things with her.

      This whole thing has made me look like a psycho and her like some innocent girl who’s stuck in a controlling relationship. I can only hope that I hit absolute rock bottom and am forced to make a change. I ask myself the same question every day: why can’t I just end things with her?

    • Reply

      soldier

      3 weeks ago

      i’m in the same situation with a female who lied about everything and actually cheated in the past and I gave them another chance. some things will never change and once the trust is gone…there’s always resentment that is left over and it makes you look insecure.

  • Reply

    atma. gotango

    7 weeks ago

    So I went through my ex wife’s text messages a couple times while she was in the shower… exactly like it was said in the article ….
    I did it because of her past infidelity and some things were just giving me a bad feelings.
    Well I found some serious shit and that’s why she’s my ex …

    So sometimes going through somebody’s personal data is called for…. though honestly if it’s at the point where you have that little trust it’s time to move on…. which I would have if it wasn’t for the marriage, the kids, and recovery from a disabling car accident.

  • Reply

    Amber

    7 weeks ago

    Interesting. You mentioened that they dont teach this in high school. I laughed at the end of the article because back in 1989/90 I actuall did have a class, not just one day or a week of a class or a whol semester class about relati

  • Reply

    Jonesy

    6 weeks ago

    Mark-
    I read a few of the comments. .. Are you saying that you were raised by a narcissist and are one yourself? Thanks :)

  • Reply

    Britt

    6 weeks ago

    My man fights about everything he doesnt prefer…very controlling and selfish to me on that one note.
    I am argumentive and diplomatic and im a bit carefree on certain areas of life…lots of non preference in his eyes so this continuous fighting goes on 247. I find that he is the major aggressor, for one he is the one to feel slighted or cant stand something I do and he will then start by gritting his teeth crack his knuckles or grabs fist puts bass in his voice and re-instates (past upsets) why he needs to react this way any time I upset him and then comes the dealing of the real issue the other stuff is alot of extra shit that unfortunately creates a very sad heart…we have dated since Nov of 2011 we broke up weekly monthly for awhile and the last was this past Dec. Through the years we both supported each other like a married couple spend almost every day together and grew spiritually, emotionally and mentally….this is my issue before I deleted facebook we would friend and unfriend constantly so we werent even friends at the deletion of fb this feb…but before and now he does not mention me put pics of us shares any positive things we share and also has not told his mother we are together since he last said we broke up in feb of 13..the heartbreaking answer is We fight too much and I dont want to until we are in a better place….but if you could see how much I do as a woman for my relationship I woud like to know if that is truly a good reason…I feel superficial when I feel sad abt bein such a secret on fb …but the mother issue is a diff issue he was not raised by her and she didnt want him to be with me since our brkup that year…that one is a mixed feeling for me since the important. Ppl in real kife know im here…but then again that is something he said..as of today he wants to be with me and said he will work harder at being better towards me….but thes. Issues affect me…am I wrong…am I expecting something I shouldn’t…he once said I love u but im not in love with you…but wanted to fight to keep me…its crazy…we barely have sexual attraction from the fighting…he is very hard to deal with and very hard to come by in his great traits of character….I need a light shed here

  • Reply

    Ala ud din Jutt

    5 weeks ago

    Nice post. I like it. This is useful for me. i have more knowledge about it at:
    http://twistwriter.com/what-is-biology-definition

  • Reply

    John

    4 weeks ago

    “Getting pissed off when your partner talks, flirts, touches, calls, texts, hangs out, or sneezes in the general vicinity of another person and then you proceed to take that anger out on your partner and attempt to control their behavior.”

    This actually made me lol. I like how you casually added flirt in there. Instead of being man enough to respect your woman and yourself, and not flirt with other women, you would rather justify it with this article by claiming its OK and accusing people that don’t think its OK of being psycho. How convenient for you!

    • Reply

      Javier

      4 weeks ago

      I was thinking the exact same thing man. To flirt with someone else whilst in a relationship is a form of emotional infidelity, even if it doesn’t lead to sex. I’m hoping nobody actually believes it’s OK to do that.

    • Reply

      Blah

      4 weeks ago

      This x1000.

  • Reply

    Lucey D

    3 weeks ago

    Overall great article. I do think, however, that trust has to be earned and if a man or woman has given you a REASON to be jealous, that’s when the watchful eye comes out… Open communication is always the better and more preferred route.

  • Reply

    Angie

    3 weeks ago

    People who read stuff like this crap need to look at themselves maybe there is nothing wrong and you should be smart enough to figure that out on your own social media just makes you lonlier and puts your personal business out there that you don’t want anybody to know.

  • Reply

    Nicholas

    3 weeks ago

    I partly see this article as great stuff (correctly defferent) and partly as an expression of author’s fear of “caring too much” and painful breakups. It goes hand in hand with author’s willingness to submit to fashion as mating tool (other article), and that even all the time, not just when “hunting” becomes important. I also think Mark is a great guy and, if I’d live around, I’d like to hang out, exchange thoughts, etc.

  • Reply

    ladyM

    2 weeks ago

    I agree with most of what you said and whilst I also agree-controlling behavior, unneccessary jealousy is wrong-i also think its disrespectful to your partner to think you can hang out alone with female friends or flirt with them and if your doing that then she has good reason to feel insecure.

  • Reply

    LOLdumbauthor

    1 week ago

    “Getting pissed off when your partner talks, flirts, touches, calls, texts, hangs out, or sneezes in the general vicinity of another person and then you proceed to take that anger out on your partner and attempt to control their behavior.”

    the authors POV is from someone who doesnt take relationships very seriously… its almost from a cheater point of view using these to guilt loving partners into accepting less than they deserve from their other.

    author, if you let your girlfriend flirt and touch other guys, you are a moron. you probably dont have a gf…

    the perspective these should have been crafted from is something like this:

    “toxic things to do in a relationship: touch or flirt with other people”

  • Reply

    alex

    4 days ago

    I was IN A relationship with an arrogant self centered man for 4 year and had no idea of the kind of man i was living with. What am about to write now, is not a mistake its something am proud of cos i will never stand to see some irresponsible man rise my child. Until now i use to say i am the strongest woman on earth i mean no matter what a man throws at my face in a relationship i will always not let it affect me. Well i was wrong when you have a child with that man every thing he does that is not in your interest hurt you so bad that it feels like your heart is bleeding not cos of you something but mostly because of your child. The name i’m using here is a fictional name cos i don’t want anybody talking about me. Mike and i,were together for four years and we had a child a son together but we weren’t married. Our relationship was just as fun as it usually is in the dating stage i mean we went dates we text all night he call me on the phone just to tell me i love you. It was the best moment of my life aside from the birth of my son and he was right there with me in the labor room when i put to birth he never left my side i mean my life was a fairy tale with the happily ever after theme. When i look back now i ask myself why?Why did he go through all that trouble when really he didn’t love me as he use to say. It was hard for me cos he went from being perfect to being ruthless he made sure i knew he was cheating on me with another b**ch and went i was tried to go away with my son, he threatening to take him away for me that i came with nothing and and also leaving with nothing . I wish i can put this in film to make it more clear for you guy i mean he made me pass through hell. And he was really going to take my son from me cos he was wealthy and the law was on his side cos i had nothing to offer my son i mean i work three job and hardly had time for myself he used that against and i was losing cos i could not even afford a lawyer. Everything was spinning out of hand. All i had with me was the hate and pain in my heart i would stay up all night crying my eyes out cos i had nothing to do. But like they say a desperate woman is a dangerous one. In my quest for help on how to make the scum bag stay away form me and my son i contacted a spell casted i found online i have seen a couple of good remark about him and some most highly recommended him as the best in spell casting. Like i say am proud of what i did if wanting to be with your son by all mean necessary is crazy then i am crazy to have contacted Mutton Osun the spell caster. It made me calm when mutton osun told me he can help me and that he was not going to charge me but how ever he asked me to get the materials we use for the spell and i also paid for the delivery of the parcel he sent me with instruction of how to make the spell effective. Just weeks after i did what he asked me Mike dropped all the case and left the country with his new b**ch i didn’t really care cos i had my baby that is alright for me though i love him i don’t want a monster as a husband or a father of my child so i let him go. I highly recommend you contact Mutton Osun for help if you need any on his email godsofosunx @ rocketmail. com

  • Reply

    qwerty

    2 days ago

    I agree with this list generally.

    I’ll add something to the jealousy part though.

    There is a time for not necessarily jealousy but for being upset because of how your partner interacts with the opposite sex, and this is not necessarily controlling.

    For instance, you mentioned flirting and touching and within reason some of this is fine. However, if your partner makes a habit of flirting with the opposite sex and touching them in a flirtatious way, then they are sending both you and the object of their flirtation a mixed message.

    It seems the modern mantra is that if you totally trust your partner that all of this is okay. I disagree and think it is a good idea taken to far.

    For instance, if a guy takes his girl to a bar and spends a good deal of his time there chatting up single women in a flirtatious manner then this is downright rude once it crosses a certain line.

    This used to all be common sense, but now not so much.

Leave a Comment