In healthy relationships, people experience open communication, mutual respect, and genuine support. In unhealthy or toxic relationships, however, the difference is striking. There tends to be a myriad of toxic traits that infect both partners. That said, the opportunity for growth does exist when the chain of toxicity is broken. In a healthy relationship, where there was once manipulation, there is now empowerment; where there was isolation, there is no connection; where there was fear, there is now trust. Survivors of toxic relationships have learned that love should uplift and inspire rather than diminish and control.
To start, a poster shared, “I am so much more relaxed! I’m not having to come up with a defense or justification for everything constantly. I no longer worry about whether my partner is doing something out of genuine care or is manipulating me.”
Don’t Get Yelled At
A second user added, “I never get yelled at anymore. I don’t have to cherry-pick my words to avoid a blowup. I just say what I want, how I want, and my boyfriend never changes the topic by accusing me of “having an attitude.”
This user commented, “The fact that he stays calm when I communicate my feelings. I don’t have to talk on eggshells anymore when feeling emotional.”
A highly-liked comment was, “I feel safe. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and intimately. I’m also a lot happier – I mean, I was without my boyfriend, too. But he adds more happiness into my life rather than adding in stress.”
One person wrote, “It caused me to dramatically increase my drinking because I feared what would happen next. Now I’m sober and only drink socially because of the love my new partner has shown me.”
No More Worries During Arguments
A top-liked comment said, “There are no actual fights. No screaming, no slammed doors, no running out of the house and driving off, etc. When disagreements/tough conversations happen, the vibe may be intense, but it’s never scary or harrowing. I never worry that he won’t understand my POV or that I’ll risk losing him when we butt heads. Sometimes we even hold hands when we argue, which is a grounding technique he taught me that blew my mind.”
No More Faking Happiness
One user commented, “I don’t have to pretend to be happy in order to avoid an argument and just go along with everything he wants. It definitely takes some getting used to, though, especially if an abusive ex is the only experience you’ve had with a man. This was my situation, so learning that men aren’t all going to make me feel extremely uncomfortable and unsafe was a really big learning curve.
No More Alienation Or Spying
Someone commented, “My wonderful husband doesn’t alienate me from my loved ones and friends like my ex. Nor does he break into my phone, spy on me, or call me 24/7 to see where I am.”
No More Begging
A popular comment was, “The person I’m currently dating doesn’t have to be asked or begged to spend time with me. She does it independently because she likes spending time with me.”
Be Who I Am
One poster said, “I love being able to be who I am, freely. This is huge for me. I almost forgot who I am. Still recovering, but my partner actually likes who I am as a human, and damn, that’s new.”
No More Walking On Eggshells
This user replied, “Not walking on eggshells constantly- it was such a relief to not worry about what would set him off constantly. The constant vigilance was SO EXHAUSTING.”
Gives Energy & Reduces Stress
A person suggested, “Being around my (healthy) partner gives me energy and reduces stress. Being around my (abusive/toxic) ex drained me of energy and increased stress. Sadly it took me a really long time to realize that, but thankfully I did.”
No Longer Fearful
This user added, “Not being so damn scared all the time!! Scared to give bad news, scared to say no, scared to buy nice things, scared to ask for help. Walking on eggshells ALL the time and being able to communicate healthily, even if the subject is tense.”
Takes My Feelings Into Consideration
An insightful comment was, “One night, early on in our relationship, I broke down because he didn’t try to have intercourse with me before bed. All I could think about was that he didn’t love me, didn’t fancy me, was going to leave me. It turns out he remembered me saying a few hours earlier that I was tired. That was the moment I had waited all my life for. A man that respected me and took my needs into account too before initiating intercourse. I had never been able to say no before, let alone have someone that listened and understood that a tired woman would not want intimancy.”
This poster recalled, “This sounds obvious, but honestly, I didn’t know that being in a relationship could add PEACE to my life. Because of my last toxic relationship for a while, I was convinced that I would never be more at peace than I was alone, and I was wrong. My partner now makes me feel so supported and safe. It’s done a lot to improve both my mental health and even my relationship with myself.”
Feeling, Safe, Loved, & Respected
Finally, a commenter said, “When things are at their most difficult, I feel safe, loved, and respected – I know I’m with the right person. When we have an argument, I feel like everything will still be ok. I’m safe. He’s safe. There’s no sense of impending doom, no fear, no bullying or pettiness. We lay out our differences of opinion, thoughts, and ideas for resolution, and when it’s done, it’s done – I’m not waiting for retaliation or a power play.”
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