OPINION: Stop romanticizing controlling relationships

Julia Elbert  

jelbert@uccs.edu 

     You turn on the television and the first thing you see is a movie plastered on your screen about a man and woman who are in a controlling toxic relationship, but they always end up together in the end.  

     We have all fallen victim to staring wide eyed at the couple in front of us who we so desperately wished was us. However, romanticizing couples that argue, fight and hurt each other emotionally should not be our end goal.  

     Both partners can equally be the catalyst in controlling relationships. This is not a one-sided issue. We must look at why we fantasize over a toxic plot and, so often, fall in love with it. 

     Why are we drawn to the man or the woman who treats their partner with disrespect, vile language and distrust? Why are we so quick to forgive them at the end of the movie when there is an epic apology that takes less than three minutes to recite?  

     It is because we want that to happen in our lives. For the partner that has treated us so badly to come back and own up to their actions, to confess their love and beg for our forgiveness.  

     But I am here to say that it needs to end. We need to stand up for ourselves and stop waiting around for the person to come back and treat us with respect after disgracing us for much too long.  

     Take off the rose-colored glasses, look up at the world around you and realize that having someone tell you to not go out with friends, decide what you can and cannot wear or threaten you is not romantic. It is not out of the goodness of their heart; it is controlling and manipulative.  

     When you are young and in love, you turn a blind eye to red flags, to things that your gut is screaming at you to pay attention to. I fell for that young love and was holding onto that feeling of comfort in control. That feeling that he cared and that it was all out of love for me.  

     Pay attention: Red flags and feelings of discomfort are real. 

     Movies and television can make it seem like it is all sunshine and roses. That your partner should be yelling at you and belittling you. But actions and language hurt, and partnership should not be a controlling one-sided union. Romanticize the parts where you comfort each other in communication and truth.  

     Being young and having that feeling of euphoric love takes your breath away; pay attention to make sure that your partner is not cutting off your oxygen. Those red flags are warning you that you are swimming out too far, and you can only tread water for so long. Listen to yourself, and don’t doubt your feelings.  

     Movies and television project a false reality onto our screens because they are actors, what they are portraying is not real. But we are real, and our relationships can have lasting effects. Actors’ emotions and feelings stop as soon as those credits start to roll, but our stories continue.  

     You can get out of a controlling relationship, there are plenty of ways to get help. Reach out and ask. Controlling and manipulative behavior is not love; it is abuse.  

There are ways to get out of a controlling relationship. Stock photo courtesy of Unsplash.com