There are very good reasons places like Area 151 have been restricted to visitors for years and why, when you enter certain buildings, you see signs posted notifying you that some chemicals within the building are known to cause illness. Once a toxin is in the air, there is no knowing or controlling how far it spreads. That’s pretty much true of toxic relationships, too. Their unhealthy nature touches everything around them. Look: if you’re in a good relationship, that affects every part of your life, too. Your romantic relationship is such a big part of your life, how could it not bleed into other areas? That’s why it’s so important to be in a good one. You can’t keep your relationship from affecting every area of your life, which is proven by all of the ways a toxic one can ruin your life.
You become self-involved
You become addicted to and obsessed with the relationship. It requires so much of your attention, just to barely survive, that it’s all you talk about. If people try to talk about something else, you find a way to relate it back to your relationship. Nobody feels that you’re a very good listener.
You become unreliable
You start bailing on plans all of the time, for many reasons, all related to your relationship. Maybe you’re just depressed after fighting with your partner, so you cancel plans with other people. Maybe your partner demands you stay home with him, so you cancel on others.
You lose your ambition
It’s hard to feel excited about your career when you’re consumed with a toxic relationship. You start just putting in the minimum amount of work required—all you can think about is trying to save your relationship, which is always hanging on by a thread. Your career takes a back seat.
You aren’t helpful
You aren’t helpful to friends or family. They can’t count on you to drive them to the airport or pet sit for them. If anything (like a fight) comes up with your partner (which it often does) you back out of your commitments. You’re the most selfish one in the friend group.
You might drink too much
You drink a lot to just get through evenings with your partner. You hope to just numb the pain. But, that makes things worse. You pick more fights. The thing is that alcohol only intensifies what you’re already feeling, so if you’re in a bad relationship and you drink, you get more upset.
Then do things you regret
So then you do things you regret, like messaging his ex, lighting his clothes on fire, or sending a flirtatious message to your boss to make your partner jealous. Toxic relationships make us do stupid things, and the booze we consume in those relationships only spurs us on.
Like flake on people for a hangover
So you become even more unreliable because you’re too hungover from drinking to get through the night with your partner that you cancel on people the next day.
You spurn the advice of others
People try to give you advice on what to do (the advice is always leave him). You ask them for advice—because this relationship is all you’ll talk about. People will share their hard-earned wisdom with you and see that you don’t implement it. At all.
Nobody wants to be around you
Nobody wants to hang with you and your partner. You’re that couple that always fights. You make things weird. People are trying to have a good time and you’re yelling in the corner. So you’re isolated: you have no friend group left.
Your living situation is always a mess
Those in toxic relationships tend to take things too quickly by doing things like moving in together only three months into knowing each other. So your living situation is always a mess. You always need a couch to crash on. You’re breaking leases and losing money.
You’re banned from certain places
Because you and your partner cannot get along and fight everywhere you go, you’re actually banned from certain bars and restaurants. You got into a screaming match there, and they won’t let you back in.
It follows your reputation
It’s hard to live down how crazy you behave during a toxic relationship. People hear about it—like other men who may have dated you, and now won’t, or people who may have set you up with a friend, and wouldn’t dare to after what they’ve heard.
You make impulsive decisions
You start doing anything you can think of to save this relationship. You do impulsive things, like ditching work to go on a vacation with your boyfriend, just hoping that fixes things. Or buying a house together.
Like, really impulsive
I know more than one woman who has intentionally gotten pregnant with a man she was in a toxic relationship with, just hoping that would “make things better.” I can’t even possibly delve into how horrific that is.
It’s all you think about
A toxic relationship takes up all of your time and attention. It’s literally an energy suck, draining you of your life force. You have nothing left to give to anything else. Your relationship gives you nothing: it just takes and takes.