We’ve all been there. He’s the guy you call late at night after a few too many drinks, even though you know the odds of him picking up (much less being alone), are slim. Or the one you call when you have a bad week, desperately seeking compassion, and all you get is apathy. He’s the guy you think of when you have an event to attend and you need a faux beau and he agrees to come but then cancels at the last minute. All you want is for him to take you out on a proper date. And all he can manage is takeout and a movie on his couch. These my friends, are ‘Toxic Relationships” and it’s high time you eliminated them from your life.
Sure they give you a little bit of satisfaction. They probably even look good on paper and of course, they look damn good in person. But at the end of the day, they really just don’t add any value to our lives. And it’s up to us to take a step back, get out of own way, and come to terms with the fact that these relationships are just plain bad.
I recently started a new job that’s been incredibly intense. I realized that If I was gonna get through the craziness without losing my mind, I needed to simplify my life, so it seemed high time to reevaluate some aspects of my personal life. This realization was what motivated me to go through a ‘Toxic Relationship Cleanse’ (who needs juice cleanses when you can eliminate bad karma!) and put each of these questionable relationships through the wringer to determine if they were worth keeping around. It wasn’t an easy choice but one that I knew I needed to make. Truth is, guys like this stand in the way of entering relationships with people who actually deserve you. So I set some parameters and started trimming the relationship fat.
First off, if they fell into any of the categories I listed above, they got the axe instantly. If they’d pulled any of that crap—pretending to be there for me and just really not ever pulling through, making me feel less than stellar about myself, etc. I decided they weren’t worth my time.
Next, I evaluated what, if anything, they brought to my life. Were they making it better in any way? Did I look forward to seeing them (however sporadically it was)? Did we have fun together? Basically, did the good outweigh the bad? If their pros and cons list was weighted heavily towards con, bye, bye.
Third, I asked whether they made me feel better or worse about myself? This was a tough one to come to terms with. I think of myself as a pretty rational person, and someone who wouldn’t do anything to intentionally bring negativity into my life. But I noticed that sometimes, when it comes to these relationships, I let things fly that I would never accept in the rest of my life. If someone at work made me feel badly about myself, I’d speak up. If a friend repeatedly hurt my feelings, I probably wouldn’t keep hanging out with them. But I noticed that I didn’t always use the same judgment for some of these guys. So I tried to be really honest with myself and look critically at these men—if they even made me feel slightly less than positive about myself, they just weren’t worth it.
Last but not least, I thought about how my life would feel without them in it. Would I miss them? Would I think about their not being in my life with regret? Most importantly, were the feelings of regret stronger than the satisfaction I’d get from knowing that by ending these relationships, I was taking care of myself and putting myself first?
I know how hard it can be to be completely and brutally honest with yourself. I’m far from expert at it. But I do know that in the few months since I made these decisions and eliminated these sources of negativity, I feel a sense of lightness and freedom that I didn’t realize had been weighing so heavily on me beforehand. And I can only hope that this new freedom will open other doors that were closed before.