This post is my first attempt to write about relationships. It is timing for today’s Valentines Day.
SUNDAY NIGHT, my friend and I were debating what to do with our evening – we wanted some time off from our normal routine, from work and family – when we went to a new restaurant/bar in Makati. Sitting beside us were two friends, a girl and a guy sipping their cocktails and seemingly discussing some breakup story. My friend reached out to the guy, “Hey, my friend here would like to know your friend.” “Sure,” the guy said.
The girl was in her brown shorts and earth-colored top with some small flower prints. Her hair was down, long and lustrous. She has a heart-shaped face and expressive almond-shaped eyes. We joined tables, I sat beside her and immediately felt the connection. We partied the entire night with some more of their friends who followed them. I went to my hotel around 4 am and eventually missed my early morning flight to Bacolod that day.
The thing is, I didn’t get her number. I intentionally did not.
Long story short, several years after, we met again. And then after a series of events that happened, we got together. In time, I will share with you the details.
But I was fortunate. I was a lucky man in meeting her randomly in a random place, but getting together was not overnight. It was a long process because maybe I was avoiding a toxic relationship, but perhaps not. But in the end, I learned that she’s the most non-toxic person that I’ve ever met. It was worth it.
What I want to share today are some creative ways that I learned to avoid toxic relationships early. The sad truth is that you won’t know until you get into the relationship first. But leaving soon is ideal if you know the signs, so you only get minimal damage emotionally. Because emotional damage radiates to your work, and other relationships and it affects productivity.
- Get past the first three months. The first three months are heaven. It is where you’ll experience the best version of the person. Yes, he or she may show toxic behaviors but tolerate it at first. Maybe he/she is just having a rough time.
- Be mindful of his or her moments. What is a “moment”? A “moment” to me, are the issues, quarrel attempts, and silent treatments. These issues can be a lack of trust, abuse, infidelity, etc. After the three month incubation period, if the person is still consistently having a moment, then be mindful of how frequent it is. Is it seldom, moderate, or always? Then assess if you can tolerate that frequency for the rest of your life. If not, then break up. Why? Because a person with seldom moments exists.
- Assess your moments too. It takes two to tango. If your SO seldom has moments, then assess yours because toxic relationships are a two-way street. To me, the leading cause of those issues, quarrel attempts, and silent treatments are low self-esteem and insecurity. So find ways to build your self-esteem. If it’s your weight, then workout and diet. If it’s your career, then don’t be lazy. Love yourself first before you are ready to love others.
- Assess your feelings. What do you feel when you wake up beside him/her? Are you excited for her to wake up? What do you feel when you leave for work? Are you glad you’re out of his/her sight? What do you feel when you eat together, in the car or watching a movie? Do you feel like you wanna be somewhere else? Can you extend your patience if he/she is annoying?
- Be completely honest and respectful. It’s so liberating to be in an honest relationship. If you feel you’re not honest with him/her or vice versa, then it will be toxic in the future. It is just a matter of time. Moreover, being respectful in your conversations, saying thank you’s, good mornings and sorry consistently are significant signs of a non-toxic relationship.
These tips are just practical ways at the top of my head. I know this is a broad topic and complicated. But these are the basics. Breaking up with someone especially if the relationship has been ongoing for years is another topic, but it is important that you leave early. Now if the above is all fine and okay, then you’re on the right track. Having a non-toxic someone for the rest of your life is one of the greatest lucks you’ll ever have.