When you date a string of toxic people, you have a funny idea about romance. You mistake assholes for sweethearts whenever they put in the tiniest amount of effort. You aren’t used to being treated with kindness, so you take any affection you can get. In your mind, a timely text back and a compliment about your eyes (instead of your chest) are huge deals. According to you, someone is boyfriend material if they can reach the super low bar you’ve set for them based on your past treatment.
When you date a string of toxic people, you become more and more cemented in your belief fiery arguments are normal. You think being passionately in love with someone means passionately fighting with someone. You don’t flinch when you’re called a bitch. You don’t think it’s odd when your person flirts with someone else in front of you or gives you a backhanded compliment. You think pain comes with the territory. You think what you’re going through is something every couple goes through at some point.
When you date a string of toxic people, you judge them based on how well they treated you compared to the last guy. If the last guy cheated on you with his ex, you’ll be happy when this guy only flirts with girls over text — even though you shouldn’t settle for either guy. You should hold out for a guy who treats you right, not a guy who treats you slightly better than the last guy who treated you horribly. You have to have higher standards for your relationships, otherwise you’re going to find history repeating itself over and over again.
When you date a string of toxic people, you wonder whether you’re the real problem. Even guys you originally swore were going to be different end up treating you like shit, so does that mean you’re not worthy of being treated any better? Does that mean the main problem is you, not them? Your toxic relationships start to mess with your mind, with your sense of identity, with your sense of worth. They start to make you feel small, unimportant, unlovable.
When you date a string of toxic people, you feel like finding a good guy is hopeless. You aren’t sure whether you’re ever going to break from this cycle, whether your tastes are ever going to change, whether you’re ever going to stumble across someone who actually treats you with respect. If you leave this toxic guy, the next guy will be just as toxic, so what’s the point? A part of you wants to give up and settle — or give up on dating altogether.
When you date a string of toxic people, it’s hard to successfully convince yourself there’s someone out there who is going to treat you differently, but it’s the truth. You have to hold onto the hope you’ll find someone who loves you for you, someone who would never hurt you, someone who would never expect you to change.