Relationships can be costly. Whether they’re familial or romantic relationships or friendships, they can be toxic/unhealthy. And consequently, these relationships can cost you.
While they may be costing you in a non-typical sense, these bad relationships can ultimately translate to much less funds in your bank account.
What does it mean to be in a toxic relationship?
You’ve probably heard the term “toxic relationship” floating around the internet a lot lately. When people are deeming things “toxic” the concept can be misconstrued.
It’s important to note that while a toxic relationship can be abusive, this is not always the case. It is also important to note that a relationship that simply does not work out, is not necessarily toxic.
Ultimately, a toxic relationship is one in which your life faces many more negative consequences and impacts stemming from the relationship than positives.
Here are a some characteristics of a toxic relationship:
- There is a lot of tension and jealousy
- There is an imbalance of power between you and them
- Your self-esteem is lowering
- You don’t trust them
- Their presence makes you feel sad, tired, and overall negative
- They play mind games
- They never take responsibility for their actions and words
- You are doing most, if not all of the “work” in the relationship
If any of these characteristics apply to any of your relationships, it is important to think about how this type of relationship is costing you.
You’re wasting your time
Time spent in a toxic relationship is emotionally and physically draining. It is also highly likely that your time is being compromised by this person through guilt tactics and abusive behaviors.
This allows less time to be spent focusing on yourself, your needs, your career, and more.
Being time-poor is a real thing
And bad relationships are a main factor in causing this.
Being time-poor means not having enough time to take care of yourself and accomplish all your work. Essentially, you don’t have time.
Your waking hours, in the case of a toxic relationship, are spent caring for another person, thinking about another person, and devising plans on maintaining your relationship with them.
Among other people, I’ve said this before, time is money.
If you’ve ever spent a work day in a daze concerned about how you’re going to cope with maintaining someone else’s well-being, your relationship might be toxic and you’re losing valuable time because of it.
You’re giving free therapy
If someone is relying on you to fulfill their emotional needs, give them endless guidance and advice, and break down their issues with you, you’re giving them free therapy.
This is different from simply being a kind and caring person who is a good listener. The weight of someone else’s issues is too much for another person to carry.
Of course, it is important to invest yourself in the lives of those you care about, but when the bulk of your interactions become about constant reassurance for them, the relationship is proving to be one-sided.
I’ve discussed the cost of therapy on MAG before. To be frank, it’s expensive. It can be very much worth it but still, expensive.
Defining emotional labor
A couple months ago, Twitter exploded with a lengthy discussion on the concept of emotional labor.
It is difficult to grasp what emotional labor isn’t and this is what tends to get muddled when people struggle in their relationships.
This article does a great job of defining emotional labor:
Emotional labor is defined as putting energy into dealing with the feelings of others, putting them at ease without self-regard, or meeting social expectations. With such a broad definition, it can mean a variety of things, based on the person’s circumstances and perspective.
I would like to note that though this may apply to personal relationships it is largely a concept relating to those in the labor force whose jobs largely focus on caring for others and providing emotional support.
An emotional work day
Let’s say you finish your work day at 5:00 p.m and come home to your partner after a day of interchangeably working and worrying about your standing in the relationship.
You then spend an hour of your time with them providing them advice and reassurance without being asked at all about your well-being.
Then a couple more hours in quiet tension.
And a couple more trying to decipher why things are so tense. Did you do something wrong?
When the day is over you probably feel even more exhausted making it even more difficult to do the work that sustains you.
Your health is deteriorating
Clearly toxic relationships lead to poor mental health which is also linked with physical health.
Stress and emotional exhaustion can take a toll on your body in the worst way. Not only can this be debilitating but it can lead to extra expenses adding up.
It’s expensive to be sick
It won’t be long before the costs of therapy, medication, time off work, and more, will be racking up and hard to topple over.
You feel obligated to spend money on them
Doing things for others out of a sense of obligation and guilt is a clear sign that your relationship is unhealthy.
You might be spending money on things for them like gifts, food, and maybe even rent. These are common expectations for personal relationships which often puts pressure on you to fulfill these expectations.
Obviously, money spent on someone who does not treat you well is money wasted. But, it can be difficult to break those expectations.
Is the cost of your relationship worth it?
This is something everyone should ask themselves when it comes to personal relationships.
If you’re losing time, money, and energy because of a relationship, it might be toxic and draining you in multiple ways.
It’s important to consider the ways in which relationships impact your ability to care for yourself. Because if you don’t, the cost of a toxic relationship can catch up to you quickly.