A friend of mine, “Laura,” had recently broken up for good with her girlfriend, “Stephanie,” after being on and off for the past 11 years.
They met during high school back in 2008. The two of them could never stay together longer than a year before a major argument erupted where they would be broken up for six to 12 months. They always ended up going back to each other though because they didn’t know how to quit a toxic relationship.
The main reason they kept breaking up was because Stephanie would always end up cheating on Laura.
When they first broke up, Laura’s other friends and I comforted her with ice cream and sleepovers back in high school. Then when Laura took Stephanie back, we told her that she was her own person and was able to choose whatever she felt best for her.
After the fourth time, we gave up on comforting Laura.
The strange thing though about that fourth time was right before Laura broke up with Stephanie, she decided to retaliate and cheat on her too.
When Laura proudly told us her actions, we told her it was childish and immoral to stoop down to Stephanie’s level. We told her she should’ve left after the second time, but she did not want to face the truth that their relationship was doomed to fail repeatedly.
Laura got upset at us. She told us we didn’t understand what “real love” was and if we were her real friends, we would have been impressed with her.
That incident happened three years ago. There were two more times they both cheated on each other until they finally ended their partnership last month.
I couldn’t help but wonder: How can someone stay in a relationship that is harmful for both people for so long?
Cosmopolitan magazine suggests there are many excuses people give for staying in toxic relationships: the sex is amazing, they’ve been together for so long, they’re afraid of being alone, the good days are worth it and their partner will eventually learn to love them more.
In Laura and Stephanie’s case, their excuses would be they’ve been together for so long and Laura would always say she knew Stephanie would soon be able to appreciate her for who she is.
Cosmo says that being together for so long equally means that you’ve been unhappy for the same amount of time. Staying together simply because of that is unhealthy and people should be with someone they love and who loves them back.
When it comes to hoping your partner will someday realize how important you are, Cosmo explains you better confront them with how you’re feeling or deal with the fact they will never know how you’re feeling. It’s great to be hopeful, but if nothing is changing, it’s best to check out of the relationship and find someone who will support you emotionally.
Laura blocked Stephanie on all social media accounts and refuses to acknowledge her in person. She realized she hasn’t been seriously single since she was a sophomore in high school and wants to focus on herself and become a better person. She hates the fact she put herself through that relationship, but feels like she has been given strength through all the pain.
I don’t see her gaining strength from that pain. She could’ve, and should’ve, left Stephanie after the second time but thought emotionally, not logically. Plus, her terrible response of her petty cheating has made me look at her in a completely different way.