10 Subtle Signs You're Addicted To Toxic Relationship Drama

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man and woman arguing in car

Quiz time! Take a look at the following and answer true or false:

  1. I often find myself attracted to "bad boys," "jerks" and "players."
  2. I spend a lot of my time trying to make my boyfriend happy.
  3. If I am upset about something in my relationship, I often dismiss my feelings to avoid conflict.
  4. The men I date are bossy and controlling, and get angry when I don't do what they want me to do.
  5. I apologize even when I know I'm not at fault.
  6. If my boyfriend is mad at me, I can't think about anything else until we resolve the argument.
  7. I love how great it feels to make up after a fight like I have a fresh start.
  8. My boyfriend and I have a cyclical relationship: things are going well, then out of the blue he gets angry at me, I apologize and do everything in my power to make it up to him, then we make up, and the cycle starts all over again.
  9. My feelings of self-worth seem to fluctuate based on how my boyfriend is treating me.
  10. I know that I should just date a "nice guy," but I worry that I'd be bored without the excitement that comes from a dramatic relationship.

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If you answered “true” to one or more of the above, then you're addicted to dating drama. In my experience as a dating coach, I’ve found that dramatic behavior in relationships is quite common. The good news is that this addiction can effectively be broken by building your self-esteem. But that's just the first step of this dating advice.

When your self-esteem and self-respect are low, you will naturally attract (and be attracted to) emotionally abusive types. The opposite is true when you feel good about who you are and truly believe that you're worthy of a loving, healthy relationship.

The problem for drama addicts is that once they meet a worthy partner, they can't seem to enjoy the relationship fully.

In an unhealthy relationship, it’s common for drama addicts to focus on their significant other's happiness so much that they neglect their own needs. They become so tuned into his moods and feelings that they cease to have their own. They buckle themselves into the emotional roller coaster and go along for the ride.

Is any of this sounding familiar? We can get hooked on relationships like these because they're kind of like a drug.

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Sure, the lows are really low (the put-downs, the rages, the fights), but the highs are really high (the passion, the excitement, the romantic way he gets when you make up after a fight). We start to endure the lows because we're living for the highs.

While this might seem exciting, it's definitely not healthy. With a history of relationships like these, it's no wonder that stable, honest men who love us and would never dream of hurting us seem kind of bland in comparison.

Well, guess what? You've got to get over it because good guys are where it's at! And once you get your self-esteem in check, you're halfway there. Once you believe that you deserve real love and respect, the other half is getting used to how that feels.

Here are just some things you can expect from a healthy relationship:

Sounds fabulous, right? It is.

So what will help you get over that feeling that something is “missing” when there's no more emotional roller coaster?

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Easy. It's a matter of realizing that life has plenty of its own ups and downs without needing to create drama in our romantic relationships. When we're a part of that healthy partnership, we function as a support system for one another to help each other through life’s ups and downs.

The highs we experience are the joys that life brings — the perfect summer day, realizing our career goals, a baby being born — and our wonderful man is there to cheer us on. The lows we endure are inevitable — disappointments, setbacks, health challenges, losing a loved one — and our partner is there to hold us, console us, and help us get through them.

The roller coaster of life is a whole lot easier to enjoy when the person we choose to share a seat with is on our side rather than against us.

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Paige Parker is the founder of Dating Without Drama. She teaches women to improve their self-esteem and better understand men so they can find and keep a loving relationship.