Constructive or Destructive?

“This friendship is beginning to have an impact on my mental wellbeing, but that’s how true friendship is supposed to feel sometimes, right?”

“I feel negative energy around my friends and I am beginning to mimic their negative traits, but I can’t stop hanging out with them because we’ve been friends for so long.” 

“I am putting so much into ensuring that we maintain our relationship, but that same energy is not being reciprocated. Oh well, they are family and family is allowed to hurt me as many times as they want and still be forgiven.” 

“I can’t see myself marrying this person, but nobody else is going to put up with me?” 

“I have not been happy in this relationship for a while and my partner does not give me the love that I deserve, but I don’t want to start the dating process over again. I should just stick with it, right?”

 If you’ve ever had thoughts similar to these, chances are you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

Before we get started, I want to preface this post by stating that how I navigate, and my perceptions of healthy and unhealthy relationships are based on my personal experiences, and what has provided me the peace I need. This advice and perspective can be utilized when navigating many types of relationships, such as significant others, friends, family, and even friends you consider family. For the sake of time though, I would like to mainly focus on romantic relationships because I have a lot to say. So, let’s get into it. 

Romantic Relationships 

I would say this is probably the hardest relationship to navigate due to you basically having to “interview” various people throughout your life, for one, hopefully long-term, role. Yes, when I say interview, I mean dating. Once official, and sometimes before then, it starts with the honeymoon stage…I know yall have heard of this. It’s when everything in the relationship seems to be perfect, including your partner. There are minimal arguments and it seems like they have everything you have ever wanted in a person. Unfortunately, this is when red flags tend to be overlooked. This is when you only compare them to your Ex, and as long as they are an upgrade from that, you’re satisfied. Just because they do one thing that you like that your ex never did (like getting you flowers) doesn’t mean that cancels out all the things that they do that you would have never tolerated before (like being talked down to). You may want to ask yourself a few questions: 

“Am I altering myself to fit into what this person wants me to be?” 

“Am I losing sight of my goals and aspirations to fit into this box in order to not outshine my partner?”

“Am I genuinely happy in this relationship?” 

“Can I see myself married to this person?” (if that is a goal for you)

DO NOT SETTLE and recognize your worth. Evaluate your partner on what they bring to the table rather than the potential of whatever you’ve imagined. I firmly stand behind the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” It’s important to recognize that what you’ve been given, may not be what you deserve. 

However, you may have to re-evaluate your role in the relationship. Are you giving it 100%, or are you just taking from it. If the roles were reversed, are you someone that you would date? In my opinion when relationships do not succeed, it is for one of three reasons, y’all are not compatible, one individual is not ready to be in a committed relationship/commitment levels are not equivalent, or one of the two individuals are not presenting their best selves. If you find yourself questioning if you are at-fault for your failed relationships, you need to spend sometime working on yourself. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I know for me, I had to spend some much needed time learning and loving myself, as well as improving the “not-so-delightful” qualities that I have developed along the way. 

I am still a work in progress, but let me just tell you from experience, when you present your best self to the world, good things are attracted to you. What you put out is what you receive, and I must be on the right path because I am very blessed.

Another strategy that led me to being in a healthy relationship now is recognizing those red flags and learning from my failed relationships, as well as those that I have observed throughout my life. If you are able to pinpoint things that you know you will not tolerate, qualities that you would like your future husband or wife to embody, and are able to communicate when you feel a relationship is heading in a negative direction, steps could be taken to change that direction or it will allow you to weed out those that don’t deserve you, leading you closer to, or to, your forever partner. I am no relationship expert, but this has seemed to work for me in incredible ways.

Other Relationships

Because of my ability to be able to recognize unhealthy relationships, and the realization that I’m in control of who I allow in my space, I now know and I am able to articulate the things I will not tolerate. I am able to communicate when I feel I am being taken advantage of, whether it be big or small; and I know my worth. I am also able to step away from friendships that are not aiding in my growth, or holding me back. I walk away from relationships that I do not believe are meant for me especially when there is an inequality in the distribution of give and take. However, I communicate my reason prior to that because sometimes communication is just what the relationship needs. Sometimes that leads to a stronger relationship, and sometimes that leads to a permanent removal, but I have become okay with that. I do not settle in any other aspects of my life, so the same remains for relationships. I ensure that I am surrounding myself with positive people for the sake of my mental wellbeing. For the friends that feel like family, I accept them for who they are, but continue to love them from a distance. 

“A healthy relationship doesn’t drag you down. It inspires you to be better”

Mandy Hale

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

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