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As any man knows that’s stepped into the dating pool more than a couple of times, not all relationships are healthy ones. It’s all too easy for to get wrapped up in the type of relationship that’s bad for you, and bad for your partner too.
These types of relationships are considered toxic, and though it’s not uncommon for both partners to be at fault, it’s also clear that in some cases an innocent man has simply been attracted to a toxic woman.
So what type of woman may be considered toxic? Perhaps it’s someone too self-absorbed and vain to consider another’s feelings. Possibly it’s someone who enjoys the victim role, or more simply has to control every situation. Maybe she’s a half-glass-empty kind of girl that refuses to let you rise above it, or she’s so suspicious and jealous and possessive that to be with her is to drown in her.
A toxic woman can present herself in many forms, and although you’d think most men could simply walk away, it’s not always that easy. Sometimes it can take the toxicity rising to a certain level before a man can truly see and recognize what’s going on. By then they could be too involved to turn their back, or have even begun to get addicted to the drama. And what man at some point hasn’t stayed in a relationship because it’s the easiest thing to do? Maybe they’ll think the bad times will pass, or the good times will outweigh the bad, or worst of all – think that they can change their partner all together.
Whatever the reason, despite the fact that not all relationships are healthy ones, not all unhealthy relationships are bad for us. As these three men found out.
When Luke met Tanya, he’d previously been in a very casual, ‘hands-off’ relationship. Tanya was far more intense, and wanted to absorb Luke into every corner of her life. To begin with this was appealing, made him feel wanted and it felt passionate. But soon, what he’d thought was her fascination and love for him began to feel like jealousy and mistrust.
Before long he felt trapped, felt judged, felt accused, and within a year he broke it off. How did this help him next time around? He understood far more clearly the boundaries of a relationship, when to be there, when to step back. He knew more clearly how to love without smothering, to be involved without controlling.
James’ girlfriend Petra had her own private black cloud over her head. At first, her negativity seemed interesting and cool to him, somewhat dark and mysterious. Within six months he was ready to jump off a bridge, so he ended it.
What the Petra experience did for him was focus his outlook, and hone his positivity. He spent so much time defending his more upbeat outlook, that he came to understand what drove him and what made him happy. He ultimately came to understand that we all make our own happiness; that it can be a choice.
David dated Katie for three long years. Katie was the type of woman who enjoyed being the center of attention, and whose ‘my way or the highway’ attitude dominated their relationship. David admits he stayed with her for far too long, but was clear why. She opened doors to exciting times, she could be fun and spontaneous and – when she wanted something – loving too.
But her self-absorption began to bleed him dry. She had little-to-no time for his feelings and barely considered his opinions. Eventually he pulled away, but he’d learned a valuable lesson. During the relationship, he’d begun to doubt that his contributions and his ideas had any worth. Once free of Katie, he came into his own in a way he’d never experienced before. He was so thrilled to have his voice heard in subsequent relationships, that it boosted his confidence to new heights. It was like he’d had to take one step back to take two steps forward, and he emerged a better and more self-assured man for it.