These days, we’re bombarded with the idea of relationship goals every time we open or turn on any kind of media. Whether it’s an account always tweeting cute couple quotes or your friend posting cute as hell pictures of her and her significant other. The idea is even woven throughout books so it’s impossible for even us introverts to avoid. (Well unless you live under a rock.)
But there are some things that aren’t so #relationshipgoals. And lately, they sure have been romanticized.
*Quick side note: I’ll use the term boyfriend in this post, but this applies to all significant others no matter their gender.
Keep tabs on where you are
This can seem really cute and protective, and it can be, but not when it’s taken to extremes.
If your boyfriend is always texting or calling to ask where you are, and it annoys you, you have an issue. Even worse if he’s using apps (like the new snap map – creepy much?) to find out where you are.
“Why are you are Jenny’s still? I thought you said you were going to the store. Is her brother there?”
“I thought you said you had to visit your grandma? Why are you still at home? Is someone with you?”
“Why are you going to Jason’s house? I don’t like him.”
Send me a picture of where you are. I don’t believe you.
If you’re getting messages along these lines then you need to sit down and have a chat with him. Tell him that yes you two are in a relationship, but you have the right to hang out with people you like without being judged or bombarded every five minutes to make sure you’re behaving.
Says you can’t wear certain clothing
You should listen to your work dress codes, but you don’t have to listen to what your boyfriend tells you to wear.
I once had a boyfriend tell me my skirt was too short. Excuse me, are you me? No. I decide what I wear. (And my boss because if I would be fired if I showed up in jean cutoffs.)
“Don’t you think that shirt is a little low cut? I don’t want other boys to see what’s mine.”
“Why don’t you ever wear nice bras anymore? All you ever wear are sports bras.”
Yes, this could go both ways. He may try to cover you up around other people or convince you to wear less clothing. This is an issue if you don’t agree with him.
If you like to dress conservative, and he’s trying to get you to wear shorts and crop tops around him, you need to chat with him. If you like to show some skin, and he’s always complaining that you show too much or tries to physically pull your skirt down, you need to chat with him. Also, you are not his.
One of my biggest turn offs is clinginess. Like boy, we don’t need to be hanging out 24/7 when you’re already texting me every minute of the day. Can’t I get some alone time or hang out with my friends for once?
Some people are just clingy naturally. There’s nothing wrong with having that trait unless it bothers you. Or if it’s taken too far.
You tell him you’re going to get brunch with Linda and he flips out. “You just saw her. I don’t like Linda very much. Why don’t we go instead?”
You tell him you’re going to a choir concert with some friends and he invites himself along. When you arrive he sits between you and your friends so you can’t talk to them.
He’s always saying things along the lines of, “Why do you want to go out with other people all the time? All you need is me. Together we’re perfect and don’t need anyone else.” This is a tactic to control you. It’s normal to have a life outside of your partner. Don’t let him tell you otherwise.
Love is not all consuming.
Asks why you liked Jimmy’s Instagram Picture
Adding to the last point, clinginess is also not attractive online.
Related: My Tinder Horror Stories
It’s cute if your boyfriend is the first person to like all your selfies and leaves a comment about how you have the bluest eyes. It’s not cute if he’s leaving vulgar comments or stalking your followers and likes.
Like do you know how much effort it takes to look up that I liked Jimmy’s new post about how he got a new cat? Too much effort.
And 1) it was cute cat so I had to like it, and 2) why does it matter? Me liking Jimmy’s cat picture doesn’t mean I’m going behind my boyfriend’s back to cheat. I would never cheat, but if I were I’d be pretty dang stupid to like the other guy’s social media posts.
He asks for your social media passwords. They’re your accounts. Not joint accounts. And you never know what he’ll do under your name, who he’ll unfollow, or what kind of comments he could leave under your name.
He demands you unfollow certain people. These people include ex’s and past crushes. Or even makes you delete people’s numbers or demands you not to contact them.
Tells you no one else will put up with you
If you’re fighting and your boyfriend throws out this line, you may have a problem. Putting up with each other’s quirks is part of being in a relationship. But threatening them by saying you’ll never find anyone else to put up with you is not.
This tactic can induce fear of leaving him because you tend to think you’ll never find someone else like them. Newsflash, if your boyfriend tells you this you don’t want someone else like him anyways. You want someone who happily puts up with the fact that you are always a few minutes late everywhere. Not someone who holds grudges about it.
Tries to force you on or off birth control
If you’re in a serious relationship or engaging in sexual activity with someone, it’s normal to have a conversation about birth control. It’s not normal for your partner to govern your birth control. It’s your body, therefore it’s your choice.
Your boyfriend is doing things like hiding your pills or patches, canceling your appointments, or saying you can’t buy Plan B.
Forcing you to take the morning after pill or get an abortion.
Refusing to wear a condom.
He’s always pushing you to get on/off birth control, no matter how many times you say no.
Keeps pushing when you say no
You always have the right to say no. Whether this is just when your partner asks for a ride to the store, to borrow money, wants risque pictures, a kiss or sexual activity, you ALWAYS have the right to say no.
If he keeps pushing, or just does it anyway, then he is not respecting you.
All of these are warning signs of intimate partner violence (IPV)
Each of these seven behaviors are listed as warnings for being in a harmful relationship.
I have been in a toxic relationship and I didn’t even realize it until we broke things off because everyone always told us we were relationship goals. I was so caught up in what everyone else thought of our relationship, that I was convinced we were the perfect couple. Couples fight and have their differences. But healthy couples don’t engage in any of the above activities.
Lately, I’ve been realizing that all the couples I think are #goals are hiding their own troubles as well. Never stay with someone just because you think you have to or don’t want to ruin your #goals relationship.
As I’ve mentioned before, I took a class on consent my freshmen year of college and to date, it’s my favorite class. My research project in that class was all about IPV in pop culture and how it’s become normalized due to exposure. Think things like 50 Shades of Grey, Love the Way You Lie, and even Twilight. (Stalking much?)
If you think you’re in a potentially toxic relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic, talk to someone you trust about it or confront your partner about their behavior. Whatever you are comfortable with.
You can also contact one of the resources I’ve listed below. My inbox is always open if you need someone to talk to as well.
Love is Respect
Text LOVEIS to 22522
National Domestic Abuse Hotline