Do You Feel Safe with Your Romantic Partner?


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Toxic relationships can be very harmful to one’s mental health. If you or someone you know is suffering, please reach out.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and couples everywhere are making plans. It’s easy to view a couple as perfect without knowing what’s really going on in private. Sometimes things aren’t so perfect, romantic relationships can be toxic. 

There are no gender norms when it comes to toxic relationships, though men are typically depicted as the harmful member of the relationship.

It can be difficult to identify what characteristics make someone toxic since there are different situations in each relationship. 

“Stereotypically, you’re going to look at someone that’s quick to anger, somebody that’s usually controlling,” Chantelle Mobberly, Kennedy High School’s school-based therapist deployed from Tanger Place, said. 

A relationship goes two ways. It’s important to ask yourself if your partner feels uneasy when you interact with them.

“That takes some insight and some clarity to actually take some stuff into recognition, because usually what happens is that the toxic person is sure that they aren’t actually doing anything wrong,” Mobberly said. 

A partner who won’t give the other personal space is one that perpetuates negative behavior. Even if someone has committed to a relationship, nobody should be allowed to monitor all the activity of their significant other. 

“If you find that you are blowing up their phone a mile a minute because the other person upset you, that’s not healthy behavior,” Mobberly said. “It doesn’t mean you’re toxic, but it does mean that it’s an unhealthy relationship standard, especially if it’s done all the time.”

With romance in the air, it can be difficult to determine if a relationship is healthy or not. Taking a step back and assessing the situation is the most reliable way to discover the state of one’s relationship. (Claire Beaman )

It doesn’t matter if you did something that was upsetting. A person still doesn’t have the right to make you feel uncomfortable or to be aggressive when they get upset.

“Toxic relationships are gonna be one where one partner, if not both, are gonna be really volatile towards each other and around each other,” Mobberly said. 

A person’s behavior can change for the worse and become unpredictable. Such an attitude can be dangerous, and it can be difficult to escape the situation.

“If we’re talking about toxic like severe verbal and physical mental abuse, that is one that you need support from other people 100%,” Mobberly said. “Having people in support of any kind of breakup, doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or unhealthy, is good.”

If somebody is being prohibited from seeing friends by their romantic partner, they may unintentionally isolate themselves. If someone is friends with the victim, they will continue to be their support system. If not, there are adults around who can help in that situation. It’s best to develop a clear plan on how to break up with that person.

“The last thing you’re gonna want to do is just have a screaming match in the middle of the foyer while everybody’s in passing time,” Mobberly said.

Not only will this attract unwanted attention, but it will also aggravate the toxic person. The power dynamic they’ve built up is suddenly being destroyed as their true personality is exposed. It’s best to break up a toxic relationship in a public area where people won’t be watching at all times. If things turn sour, there will be people around to help. 

Sometimes going through a breakup can be challenging if there are still feelings for your partner. You may hope to change the toxic person in a positive way. However, it is not possible to fix another person.

“The best that you can do if you’re in this space of ‘I wanna fix somebody,’ is you’re actually needing to fix yourself. I know that sounds really weird, but relationships are supposed to be two individuals that come together,” Mobberly said.

It is impossible to find a significant other who fits a perfect mold. Furthermore, it cannot be achieved by attempting to change them. You can express irritation toward a partner’s actions, and they may be receptive to that, but it doesn’t them. 

“The generalization of what’s said is ‘You want your partner to make you feel whole,’ or something like that,” Mobberly said. “That is garbage. That is total crap. It is ‘You want to feel whole yourself.’ So then find a partner who supports and loves you for that.”

Toxic relationships often lead to unwanted stress and anxiety, which are not healthy for anyone. (Claire Beaman)