When You Love Someone Who Is Bad for You
Have you ever thought to yourself “Do I love someone who is bad for me?” Or maybe just considered, “Is the person I love good for me?” Don’t be too hard on yourself for falling for someone who is toxic, or at least has a negative influence on you. Many of us do find ourselves asking this question at some point in a dating relationship, or perhaps even in a long term, permanent one. When we are in love with someone in the initial stages (especially stages 1 and 2, as we discovered in last week’s blog post Stages of Love), we are blind to their faults and often ignore red flags that seem so obvious to those outside of the relationship. However, when we do begin to realise that someone we are dating may be bad for us, it is time to ask ourselves some difficult questions. In today’s blog post, therapist Teyhou Smyth walks us through a few questions to consider. It is always helpful to talk through any issues with a trusted third party, whether that is your best friend, a parent or mentor, or a counsellor.
Have you ever loved someone and knew, deep down, that they were not a healthy choice for your life?
Maybe your little internal voice was telling you to end it, but you stayed with the person anyway. You probably hoped that your instinctual little voice was just being overbearing.
Or maybe you were hoping against all hope that the warning signs were false alarms and that the concerning issues would be brief and temporary.
When your best friend is dating a dud, it is as plain as day what the right course of action should be.
“End it. Kick the bum to the curb; your wellness is not worth compromising for a bad relationship.” When it’s you though, it’s different.
Do you have a “type” that is bad for you in dating?
There are so many subtle nuances that one can use to explain away and justify bad or questionable behaviours. Rarely are such situations simply black or white.
If you are in such a situation, it may be time to consider the following ideas:
You want to see the best:
It may be that you want to see the best in your partner and there is nothing wrong with that.
Sometimes this desire to see the best in others causes people to filter out the not-so-good qualities though, and this can compromise your own wellbeing.
Are you overlooking any negative factors that could be harmful to you in some way?
Look for a pattern in your dating life:
It can be easy to get caught in a dating rut and keep choosing similar partners.
Whether it is a characteristic you are attracted to or a personality trait that is appealing, patterns do tend to establish themselves across time.
What are you most drawn to about your partner? Has this been a trend for you in other partners you’ve chosen?
Hoping for change:
Perhaps you are hanging in there with this partner in the hope that they will learn how to manage these issues so that you can stay together.
People only change if they are aware of their problem and are sufficiently motivated to do so. Change takes time, commitment and dedication.
Maybe your partner really will change in time, but if they don’t, can you live with that? That is a decision only you can make.
How to improve your self-esteem to have a better dating life? People with low self-esteem or a deep sense of unworthiness can get stuck in a pattern of tolerating unacceptable behaviours from partners.
This can be related to an underlying belief that they do not deserve better or couldn’t find someone who treats them well.
If this sounds familiar, it may be worth exploring some of those self-esteem issues and their origins.
Loving someone who is bad for you doesn’t mean you are flawed or tragically self-defeating; it simply means you are human.
As you investigate your reasons for staying, also consider ways to take care of yourself in spite of these challenges. Treat yourself well. Spend time with friends and family. Eat healthy food, get some exercise and fresh air.
As you honour yourself in these other areas of your life, it may become more apparent what this relationship means to you and how you should handle the situation.
[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website www.livingwithfinesse.com ~ some content may have been modified for the UK/Irish context.]