Romanticizing Toxic Relationships

Tina Ngo, Staff Writer

Why do people romanticize a toxic relationship and or even stay in one, one that makes you question yourself and your ability to love and do normal basic things like the way you care for someone as well as the simple need for reassurance? Is it the obsession, the thought that maybe they would change for you? There are far too many things that can be put into thought when asking someone, “why do you stay if it is toxic?”. 

What exactly is a toxic relationship?

You can’t have the answer without knowing what a toxic relationship is. The research says that a toxic relationship is any kind of relationship where these people don’t support each other. Competition seems to arise and attempt to undermine one another when in an argument, disrespect, and a lack of unity within the relationship. The obvious thing is that every single relationship goes through ups and downs because that’s normal, but when it’s mentally and emotionally draining–maybe even physically–it becomes too much especially when there is no character development involved. 

Why do people stick around? (emotionally)

The majority of the time, it’s love that people tend to stick around for. Oftentimes, people love and adore their significant other so much to the point where they think that things will change–their relationship and the way he/she/they are acting. You tend to make excuses for your partner such as, “they’ll change” “it’s just a tough time right now because … is going on”. Sometimes it’s fear, the fear that no one will love you more than your current partner, or even the fear of being lonely. You’re so used to this one person that in your mind you think it’s your ideal person…or is it just the fear of being alone?

Why do people stick around? (psychologically)

Psychology says that toxicity within relationships uses dopamine as well as adrenaline and is addictive. The lust for attention along with validation is so strong that it essentially keeps the toxic relationship going. In other words, you want this person to love you, to want you, and you want this person to become better for you. 

Now it comes down to why people romanticize toxic relationships 

Movies and T.V shows advocate toxicity in relationships such as The Vampire Diaries (Elena and Damon), Twilight (Edward and Bella), Gossip Girl (Chuck and Blair), Friends (Rachel and Ross), the list goes on and on. Despite their toxic tendencies, people still romanticize their relationships, making the watchers want that same relationship. Another possibility has to do with you being treated poorly all of your life, if you’ve been treated poorly throughout your life, why would it be any different when you’re emotionally invested in someone who can’t be any better for you? It’s all you’ve ever known. They could be manipulating and gaslighting you to stay saying words such as, “I’ll do better for you, or us”, “I’m sorry, but it’s your fault you feel that way, I haven’t done anything wrong” along with other cruel and hurtful things. 

When do you draw the line?

People should draw the line when it becomes too much when it devours them entirely and it’s their entire well-being. It can be hard to draw the line especially when you truly and genuinely love the person, but down the line, you won’t regret it.