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Ask the Loveologist: Is this Relationship Toxic?

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Ask the Loveologist: Is this Relationship Toxic?

I have been with the same partner for many years and have tried to make our relationship work, but it seems like the longer I am with him the worse I feel about myself. He makes fun of me when I say what I think and then thinks I am ridiculous because, I “canít take a joke.Ē†† We used to have some good conversations but now I can almost never find the right time to talk about anything. I donít want to leave but my life feels like it is closing in on me. Any ideas?

Your descriptions of your relationship certainly qualify for many of the definitions of a toxic relationship which means that instead of helping you to live your best life, the relationship actually diminishes your sense of self worth and ability. Being with someone who has no respect for you and belittles what you do, say or think makes living a satisfying life incredibly difficult.

Often both people in a toxic relationship have low self esteem and little sense of their own self worth. Many people grow up in families where these kinds of relationships are the norm and creating them in our adult relationships is easy because they are so familiar and often because we continue to try to resolve our childhood issues in our adult relationships. People often hurt each other in relationships to ease their own pain and donít even see that they are doing it.

People accept these kinds of relationships as normal because they donít believe they are deserving of anything better.

Although all relationships go through difficult periods of conflict and disappointment, relationships that weather these difficulties share some important qualities that toxic relationships donít. Mature and growing relationships are a reflection of the well being of each individual in the relationship. The process of working through problems does not start and end with blaming and belittling one partner. When each person brings their own self-respect to the conflict, there is an opening to look at the problem not point the finger at each other.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.† In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,† she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice.†It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." †The book is available on ebook.† Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


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2:35AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Thank you, great article

1:39PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

I've been in a similar relationship, it was difficult to let go of him but in the end I'm better off without him because he made me feel so terrible about myself. Relationships such as these make you realize how truly fragile emotions are. The relationship only lasted about 6 weeks but it took almost a year to recover my self esteem and start feeling confident enough to date again.

For anyone that's in a relationship where the other person verbally abuses you, just ask yourself "Does this relationship fit my idea of love?"

6:50AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

I agree a 100% with Ke T.!

6:49AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

I agree 100% with Ke T.

5:48AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

Communication is the key. Relationships are one of the most difficult things I have ever faced. One need to give allot at times, and considering the lack of honor and commitment now a days in every day life for most people I am surprised relationships last a year for most people. There are way to many excuses to move on and it has become socially accepted to do so. I see so many older people alone in their golden years now and it seems there are more now than when I was young. I look at the older couples who are still so much in love after 50 years together and hope I manage to have the same thing at that age. It is so cool to watch the caring between people like that. One knows they put in a whole bunch of work over the years to get to that point. Big Sigh!

7:36AM PDT on May 16, 2012

thanks for sharing

8:31AM PDT on May 31, 2011

The best thing to do when in a toxic relationship is simply leave. It is harder than it sounds, though.

12:58PM PDT on May 23, 2011

Crazy. Life is so hard when dealing with these awful emotions. My relationship is a constant roller coaster and walking on eggshells; and I don't back down from anything and give it right back. I even warn that I am so angry it is best that they walk away, but instead they keep on "pushing my buttons" and make it worse. So exhausting. I feel that I have no way out.

6:58AM PDT on May 5, 2011

All relationships are toxic by definition.

6:58AM PDT on May 5, 2011

All relationships are toxic by definition.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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