By: Meadhbh Park

It’s the moment you realise that both of you have crossed the line, again, and that now there probably is no turning back. It’s the time when you cry until it hurts over the same exact thing that you were crying about the year before, except this time you know that you have no one left to blame but yourself for expecting anything different. It’s the moment where your partner looks at you with desperation mixed with sorrow and breaks up with you again because they’ve figured out the same thing that you have; that this relationship is destroying both of you but that the love between you is still too strong for either of you to fully walk away. Because it’s never just black and white when you love someone so much that it takes your breath away and you have panic attacks when you feel they might be pulling away. It’s pure insanity that comes from the rollercoaster of emotions of being so in love that you can’t think straight, to the depths of frustration and rage that you feel like you’re losing your mind. Nothing else in the world seems to matter, even your friends have stopped calling because they know that you’re not coming out, and even if you do, it’ll be as if you’re on another planet, disconnected and unreachable.

   It’s when you hate them so much all you want to do is to destroy everything they love, but then when you actually begin to hurt them, you start to feel the love again and then all you want to do is be near to them. You’ve entered into some twisted contract between the both of you where you both can’t deny the undeniable force that keeps bringing you back together after every battle, every crisis, every downfall. You feel the connection even when you tell them you hate them and they even know that it’s only just another way of you saying that you love them. And neither of you can win; when you’re together, it’s incredibly intoxicating but volatile, but when you’re apart, it’s a type of loneliness that you can’t just cope with. You try telling yourself that you want to move on, you might even try dating someone else, someone who is calmer, stable and is sincere and nice to you- but it doesn’t matter, because it’s not the one you want. You might look at other couples and compare and say to your partner that you want them to change, that you want them to be more like all the other seemingly perfect boyfriends that your friends have. But the truth is that you don’t want that, you don’t want him to change because you fell in love with him as he is and you’re still in love with him as he is. You knew he’d never be perfect, but you also knew that you wouldn’t be either. He makes you feel the way no one else ever could, he’s learned how you want to be loved without you having to teach him, because he does love you. He loves you more than he can even understand himself and he loves you more than he can sometimes cope with.

   Over time, you find yourself realising that it’s true what they say- that sometimes love just isn’t enough. It negates every impulse and emotion in your body, but you realise this when you find out that he sent a message to that girl you knew he was with when you were broken up. You realise this when he breaks your heart again and tells you it’s over only to come back a month later and drunkenly calls you, telling you that he can’t stop thinking about you. And you know it’s the truth, he really can’t stop thinking about you, like you can’t stop thinking about him even when you’re on that lovely second date with Mr. Perfect. It’s easy to say that a toxic relationship is down to one person, that it’s one partner who is manipulating and misusing the other, but a lot of the time, it goes both ways. This is the relationship where you don’t tell your friends about all the terrible things he did to you, because you know you also did terrible things back. This is the relationship where you feel drawn to the negatives as much as the positives, just because the passion of both extremes triggers something in your heart that you know to be love. It is love. It’s the kind of love that you would die for him and you know he would do the same. But it’s also the kind of love where you may even sooner do that than leave him.

    To be in love inside a toxic relationship can be one of the hardest emotional places you will ever be in life. One of the hardest things about it is that you can’t ask for help from anyone, because generally no one will ever understand and no one will support you staying with someone who can bring you down so low that you’re nearly unrecognizable to them. People will even start to assume that you’re just stupid, or even mentally ill to want to stay inside of something so volatile. But they don’t see you when you’re with him and when things are happy. They don’t feel the intensity and overwhelming feeling of love. They don’t understand what it’s like to cry with utter happiness as well as sadness because of him. The truth is, you can’t deny how much he’s hurt you and neither can he, but it’s the same the other way round too- but neither of you can also deny how much you both love each other either. It’s how you helped him achieve some of his goals, how he made you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world and wrote you those love letters. It’s how he helped you find your confidence when you were losing it, how you held him when he cried. It’s how he didn’t let you down when you really needed him that time when you thought you went too far, it’s how he understood you on some fundamental level that even you didn’t fully understand yet yourself. And it’s how you just can’t stop smiling when he smiles at you, even after all this time, and he can’t but feel happy when you touch him. It’s the relationship where you know it’s just ultimately doomed; but you’ve just never felt so alive.

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