When you’re in a relationship where you have to explain why you’re together and no one gets why you’re together, it’s probably not a good sign. It’s probably what most people would label a “toxic relationship.” Your friends see you fighting constantly, some most of them don’t think you should be together. Sometimes you even wonder yourself why you’re together. But yet you stick it through, for whatever reason.

I’m in that relationship right now, not necessarily because I think it’s the right thing for me or anyone to do, but really because I saw something to learn in this relationship – areas for myself to grow, areas for him to grow, and areas for us to grow as two people learning how to be in a relationship.

I don’t see it as a toxic relationship nor do I think I’m lying to myself – I am CHOOSING this relationship for the sake of growth, and my partner is doing the same thing. Undoubtedly, this relationship has been a rollercoaster with all the emotional highs and lows, and all the unexpected turns, but we’re still growing and appreciating every minute of the ride.

That being said, I don’t necessarily recommend it for everyone or even anyone, I think you have to go into it with the undeniable intention that you are in it to grow and not lose yourself in the process. You have to be ready to learn and adapt. But since I’m in this “rollercoaster relationship” right now, might as well share a few lessons I’ve learned along the way:

Ownership of Your Decisions

You learn that you can’t put too much weight onto what other people say about your relationship. You can take their observations and advice into consideration, but whatever decision(s) you make regarding the relationship needs to be your decision and your’s alone. You need to stand behind your decision and take ownership of it, whether it turns out for the good or bad.

Not to Compare Relationships

 You learn to realize that relationships should never be compared to each other. That relationships, and life in general, can be so much more fulfilling the more open you are to different experiences. Don’t try to label or put anything into a box. Create an open and creative space for all your relationships. We are all not meant for one certain type of love or relationship.

Patience

There is something to learn from being with someone who wants to move at a slower pace than you do. It’s okay to be on different pages at some point. Again, no labels and no expectations. Give the person as much space as you would want if the roles were reversed and you were the one who wanted to take things slower. Wouldn’t you want the other person to be patient and give you a chance for your feelings to catch up? On the flipside, you also need to realize that their feelings may never match yours.

Open-mindedness

You learn to be more open-minded because it’s not the typical, fairy tale relationship. It doesn’t necessarily look like happily ever after, and that’s okay. You entered into this type of relationship in the first place because you’re open-minded, so why let it stop there?

Your Relationship Values

You start to figure out what your values in a relationship are. When complications arise, do you value the strength to end a toxic relationship or do you commit to getting better as a couple and making the necessary adjustments to improve going forward? What kind of limits do you have and what do you value most?

Relationships Should Never Define You

You realize that this relationship doesn’t have to define you and it never should. You realize that no relationship should ever define you. You are your own whole person with or without the relationship. They are not your “other half” because you were already whole to begin with.

Ultimately, everything is just a learning experience. Whether you come out single and heartbroken, single and wondering why you didn’t end it sooner, or in a happy long-term relationship, you come out a better woman because you chose to focus on your growth. Every relationship should grow and change you for the better. So choose to make that the case.

roller-coaster-relationship

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