Hi Roomies, I’m Nari!
Introducing Nari, aka. Lily Smith. A Room of One’s Own’s very own in-house Sexologist, all the way from Australia.
Nari is going to give clear answers to our Roomies questions in The Circle about love, life and sex.
🙋♀️ : Any kind of relationship can potentially be toxic.
The term ‘toxic relationship’ has been around for a while, but for many people their understanding of what it really means can be lacking.
Any kind of relationship can potentially be toxic. Between lovers, friends, even family. A toxic relationship is one that brings out the worst in you, and maybe also the worst in them.
Maybe your both competitive, and usually it’s fine but when you’re together that competitiveness leads to escalating arguments and fights that you never really cared about in the beginning. Jealousy can also be a big factor in a toxic relationship. Stemming from a sense of insecurity, trying to control the other or get a reaction out of them. It’s something that people seem to romanticize, someone showing how much you care about them by being jealous, but there are healthier ways. A toxic relationship might also lack trust, which can come out through jealousy and hurtful comments.
Sometimes a relationship may be toxic because one or both people have unresolved trauma or mental health problems that are in play.
It’s a common scene in dramas, the main character acts rude or dismissive, but we forgive them after we find out they have some kind of secret, tragic past. But in real life, sometimes we can’t move past a persons issues no matter how much we might love them.
Maybe being together heightens your anxiety? Or trying to help your partner through their depression is taking up every moment of your life until you don’t know who you are anymore. These relationships can also be toxic, even if neither of you want them to be.
Sometimes it’s just not the right person, or the right time.
🙋♀️ : Some relationships can’t be saved. But how do you know if it needs to end?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer as to what that would mean, and the point of no return can be different for everyone. Maybe with enough therapy and effort and time a relationship can overcome anything. But would it be worth the years, decades even, of misery and pain that it takes?
If the person is family it can be even harder. At what point do you say that your relationship with your mother is hurting you too much to continue?
My first advice would be to put that person in a box in your mind and forget about them for a minute. Think about all the things you want to do in your life. How you want to live your life. Your dream job, where you want to live, how you want to dress, a hobby you want to take up. Then think about how a relationship would fit into that.
Do you want someone who can do those hobbies with you? Someone who will welcome you home and cook a meal with you? Someone who can enjoy a fun dinner out with all your friends with no fights afterwards? Remember that these are things that you deserve, that everyone deserves.
Can your current partner do that? Can they be that person? Can you sit down and talk about all those things and come to an agreement? Or are you just not the right people for each other?
It might help if you imagine that someone that you love was in the same relationship. If they were experiencing the things that you were going through, would you want them to stay?
If you have realized that your relationship can’t continue, stay strong in that belief. Change is hard, and other people might question you but they can’t know your situation better than you. If the toxic relationship is with a family member, try going ‘no contact’ for a while.
Let them know that you need to focus on your own health and won’t be communicating with them for a set amount of time. Of course this is hard if you live together, and finding a healthier living arrangement should be your priority.
When it come’s to breaking up with a lover, a clean break may seem painful at the time, but it is the healthiest way for both people to move on with their lives.
🙋♀️ : If you know exactly what's causing the relationship trouble, you might be able to solve it.
What kind of relationship can be saved? I think if you can look at what is making your relationship toxic, and together see that it is something you can work at, it could be worth a try.
If your arguments stems from jealousy, talking it out and coming up with solutions together could help you to move past it. I definitely believe that communication is the most, most, most important part of any healthy relationship. If you have a problem, you need to be able to talk about it with your partner. And you need to be able to listen when they have problems, and find solutions together.
If something outside of the relationship is putting pressure on you, finances or family, you need to be able to come up with a solution together and support each other through it.
Purposefully and regularly making time to sit down together with your partner and talk about all the things that are going well and that are going not so well can help you to understand each other and your needs better.
Like in the K-drama, ‘Because this is my first life’. The main characters decide to sit down once a month and discuss the terms of their relationship and any adjustments they might need. I think this is a really healthy way to approach it. Rather than thinking that you can just talk about it casually you should set aside at least an hour where you sit down face to face and talk. You should set a timer, and both bring notes to remind you of what you want to talk about.
If your partner refuses, or doesn’t commit to it, it is a good indication of just how much they value your relationship.