5 Healthy Relationship Habits You Might Mistakenly Label as Toxic
Relationships. Are. Complicated.
Seriously, we can't say it enough. Negotiating the balance of sharing your life with another human can get pretty confusing. And while there are plenty of things you shouldn't accept in a relationship, there are also a lot of areas that require a little give and take.
Unfortunately, sometimes healthy and harmful relationship behaviors aren't exactly black and white. Keep scrolling for five healthy relationship habits you might mistakenly label as toxic.
Being Honest, Even When It Hurts
White lies have kind of become the norm—not only in romantic relationships, but also in everyday life. We're all stuck in a constant cycle of withholding our real thoughts in order to preserve another person's feelings. However, if you truly value honesty in your relationship, that means you have to be honest all the time, not only when it's convenient. And if you're being 100% truthful 100% of the time, you and your partner may hurt each other's feelings every now and then.
Saying that a certain outfit doesn't look the greatest or truthfully telling your partner that they're getting on your nerves isn't toxic—it's a method of fostering genuine honesty in your relationship. You'll probably be upset in the moment, but you'll have a much healthier, stronger romance if you can be upfront with each other about everything, instead of caving and telling the other person what they want to hear.
(Riverdale via The CW)
Without question, you should feel an uninhibited sense of freedom in your relationship. A partner who tries to control you isn't a partner you should be with—point blank, period. However, freedom doesn't mean that you don't have to communicate with your partner. Checking in with your partner—telling them your plans and keeping them informed on the ins and outs of your life—is not toxic. It's not a restriction of your freedom, it's simply a part of caring for another person and having them care for you.
Disappearing for entire nights, not responding to your partner's texts because you're "busy" or making them feel ridiculous for innocently wanting to know how your night is going are the real toxic behaviors. If shooting your partner a text to tell them what's going on feels like a constraint on your independence, you might not be ready for a relationship.
Asking for Time Apart
We all know one of those couples—the ones who got into a relationship and simply ceased to exist outside of spending time with their significant other. While it seems sweet and romantic to spend all your extra time with your partner, it might not be the healthiest set-up. What's more, an S.O. who doesn't want to spend all their spare time with you isn't a hallmark of a toxic relationship.
When you're at the beginning of a romance, your chemicals are going crazy, causing you to crave time with your S.O. Therefore, if they ask to spend a little time apart pursuing their own activities and interests, it can feel like a huge betrayal. Are they not that into you? Have they found someone else? Are they easing you towards a breakup? But in reality, they probably just want some space to hang out with their friends and work on their hobbies. Not only is it far from toxic, it might be just what your relationship needs to last a long time.
(Riverdale via The CW)
There's a permeating idea that relationships mean giving your everything and more to another person. Unfortunately, that just isn't realistic. You can't be everything to someone while still maintaining your own mental health and life priorities. However, if you expect someone to do everything for you, it can feel like a huge betrayal when they set boundaries within your relationship.
Telling you that they can't constantly text you, refusing to cancel responsibilities in favor of spending time with you or point-blank explaining that they need time with their friends isn't toxic. Instead, it's your partner communicating what they need for this relationship to work. It might not be the romanticized, all-consuming relationship you pictured in your mind, but it actually makes for a more stable, healthy romance that can fulfill each person's emotional requirements.
Accepting Your Partner's Flaws
Truthfully, all humans have flaws. However, even knowing that, we still spend most of our time searching for that one "perfect" person. In a romantic relationship, accepting that your partner will be flawed in certain ways can quickly be labeled "toxic." From the outside looking in—or even from you examining your own relationship—accepting less than your ideal behavior can come across as lowering your standards in order to be in a relationship.
However, accepting that your partner isn't perfect is actually quite healthy. It keeps you from trying to change or "fix" them and instead allows you to focus on building a happy and healthy relationship that takes into account each other's shortcomings. You're never going to find the perfect partner, but you can find one whose flaws aren't a roadblock in creating a healthy romance.
On the hunt for more dating advice? Click HERE for five signs you aren't a priority in your relationship.