Dating Someone Toxic Does Not Mean You Are ‘Desperate’

Unsplash / Tyler Nix

I have fallen for toxic people before, people who manipulated me, people who took control of every aspect of my world — but the reason I handed them my heart was not because I was desperate for love.

Most people assume I stayed in an unhealthy situation because I could not stand the thought of being alone, because I wanted to date someone, anyone, but they have it all wrong.

I did not stay because I was terrified of being single again, because I needed someone to keep me company, because I was uncomfortable falling asleep in an empty bed at night. I’m actually fine on my own. I don’t mind being single. I don’t need a relationship in order to feel validated.

I chose to enter such a poisonous relationship because I held strong feelings for that person. Because I failed to see the red flags. Because I thought they were worth the effort.

I was fooled into believing that I was reaching out of my league. I didn’t realize I was settling. I thought I couldn’t do any better — and not because of low self-worth. It was because I thought that person was perfect in every way. I thought they were the ideal partner.

I know some people assume I was desperate to be loved and held and called baby because I stayed for so long, but staying had nothing to do with desperation either.

I knew that leaving would probably be easier, that it would make most of my problems disappear, but I made the decision to trek down the difficult path. I realized every relationship had its faults and I wanted to fix the ones in mine. I wanted to fight to make things work. I wanted to give us another chance.

Looking back, I understand I made the wrong decision. I shouldn’t have stayed for nearly as long as I did. I should have recognized how unfixable the relationship had become. I should have packed my bags and saved myself from gaining more baggage. I know that now.

But that doesn’t mean I stayed out of desperation. I was never under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to find someone else to date if I left. I wasn’t afraid that no one else would ever love me the way that he loved me. I knew I had options. I knew losing him wouldn’t mean losing love forever.

I didn’t stay because I was desperate. I didn’t stay because I felt like I had no place else to go. I didn’t stay because I was afraid of the loneliness. Those things had absolutely nothing to do with my decision.

I stayed out of love. I loved them, even though they were toxic. I wanted to save them, even though they were supposed to save themselves. I knew I could live without them, but I didn’t want to live without them.

I stayed in a relationship that hurt me in a million different ways — but not because I was desperate. It was because I was so fucking in love that I could not see straight. TC mark

The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved.

You don’t have to solve your whole life tonight. You just have to show up and try. Focus on the most immediate thing in front of you. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.

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