A lot of us twenty-somethings make the mistake of staying in toxic relationships because of emotional connections rather than logical thinking. I’ve been in many relationships, friendships included, with people I knew weren’t good for me. They literally brought nothing positive in my life, but I wanted to keep them around. Why? Because I let my emotions override what I knew was right.
I remember talking to my father one day about a situation I was in, and how to handle it, I remember him saying something along the lines of “it’s difficult to get a clear look at the picture when you’re in the frame”. I didn’t understand what that piece of advice meant when I was younger, but now that I’m older I remember that whenever I’m evaluating my relationships with people.
What got me thinking about this was a text message I received, from someone I once had a friendship with, but was also interested in romantically. This person caused me to constantly second guess myself because of how they treated me, and yet, I still found myself tempted to respond. I hadn’t spoken to this person for almost a year and getting a message from them was pretty enticing if I’m being honest. Spending time away from that particular situation gave me clarity. I was able to take a step outside of the “frame” I was in and see them for who they actually were.
Whenever I find myself questioning if a relationship is beneficial for me, (whether it be a romantic relationship or just a friendship) I make sure I address each of these points:
Are you being valued
Having distance from the situation I was in allowed me to see that I wasn’t being valued at all. The friendship was very one sided and I was putting in most of the effort. If someone values your time and genuinely cares about maintaining a relationship with you, they will put in the effort to do so. Know your worth and don’t settle for others treating you less than.
Do the pros outweigh the cons?
Take a step back and ask yourself “what does this person bring to my life?” If most of your responses are cons, or you find that the relationship with this person is the source of a lot of negativity in your life, reflect on why you allow the relationship to continue.
This can be hard to do when you’re emotionally invested in anything, but sometimes it’s important to take emotion out of the equation when evaluating relationships. Whenever I’m in an emotional dilemma I imagine what advice I would give a friend going through the same thing. This not only helps me be more honest with myself, it also helps me gain perspective.
Look outside the frame
Really take a step back and be honest with yourself. Often times we know what we should do and what advice we should take, but we don’t because it’s the more difficult option. Letting go of a toxic relationship is hard, but the most difficult choices can sometimes be the best ones for us.