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She could just be sexually submissive. Some people - both men and women - find it a huge turn on for their partners to make their decisions for them. It's not always unhealthy, sometimes it's just kinky. (Obviously it can be unhealthy, but anything can be unhealthy if it is abused.)

I keep seeing this all the time, again and again. But it seems most people will willingly give up their autonomy and even happiness just for sex. I still don't understand why it's us who is "not normal" here, but that's the way it is. I never interfere, as I can't beginto understand the power sex drive can have.

"fiercely independent"

This is what's stopping you. A lot of people are not fiercely independent, and are willing to put up with – or even welcome – the mild annoyances, simply to not be alone. Also, a lot of people might not want to have to make every little decision themselves, so partnering up with someone whop can make those decisions can have benefits for both parties.

I think a lot of what you're describing as toxic are simply seen that way by you because you are a 'fiercely independent' person. I know what that's like, I'm very independent myself, but I can also see the other side of the coin. Being alone doesn't always equate to being 'one's own master', so to speak. Some people need an anchor to keep them going, or they just lose emotional focus and/or purpose.

As to whether a relationship is unhealthy or not, that's a tricky issue. I believe the question comes down to the balance of compromise/sacrifice. If one person is always compromising and sacrificing everything for the other person, that's unhealthy. But if they both sacrifice and compromise on different things, they achieve a kind of balance of equivalent annoyances.

For example, I used to think a fellow my coworker is with was selfish, because they'd go on holiday and he'd do nothing but sleep for most of the day, where my coworker wants to be up early and shopping or sightseeing and so on. I thought it was selfish of him to sleep in late and expect her to just sit around waiting for him to get up. But then she explained to me that they both compromise on things - she doesn't like staying up late, but she will because her partner does. Some days he'll drag himself out of bed early so they can go do things, other days she will stay in. Even though they are very different people in many ways, the relationship works because they are both willing to sacrifice small things to keep the annoyances balanced. And when that happens, the good times vastly outweigh the small, annoying times that are made up for later anyway. And that's part of why people stay together.

At least, that's my theory. Who knows what goes on inside the craniums of humans. Irrational, hormonal creatures, the entire species.

Edited at 2013-08-17 06:35 am (UTC)

but all I see from these relationships around me is all one-sided compromises.

Keep in mind that you are only seeing one side of the relationship (I mean, I'm assuming these coworkers are not dating one another, and you only know one half of each pair?). You're probably not going to hear from them what the other person is compromising for the relationship.

Some of the things you described might be indicators of an unhealthy relationship, but you haven't really given enough information to tell. Some of them are definitely not.

It's also an unfortunate fact that our current (western) society doesn't exactly encourage healthy relationships, so it's possible, even probable that the relationships you're seeing have some unhealthy or not ideal elements to them, just because neither party has had the chance to learn that there's a better way. But that doesn't necessarily mean that either of them would be better off with a different partner.

Unless the person seems miserable a good deal of the time, it's unlikely that the relationship is toxic. (Coming from someone who has been in abusive realtionships.)

It goes both ways in my experience.

I've seen relationships that are great and loving and I know they're great and they almost make me want to date except for the sex thing.

I've also seen relationships that are, indeed, toxic, and it doesn't take an expert to tell that something very unhealthy is going on. For example, if one person is enabling someone else's self-detructive behavior, that's bad - like if one party is an alcoholic, and the other party buys them alcohol when they run out, or covers for them if they're drunk or hung over. Or if people are breaking up and getting back together every week, putting yourself on that kind of emotional rollercoaster isn't healthy no matter the cause.

Like, most relationships (even non-sexual or non-dating ones) have a few minor snags or areas where they're not as healthy as they could be, because nobody's perfect. Seeing super-super-awesome relationships with no negative aspects at all is unusual, so if that's the ideal you're looking for, then you won't see it frequently. But if you define a good relationship as one that's beneficial to both parties, then there's plenty of those to go around.

Maybe I'm just seeing things as overtly bad, but to me at least, when you can't make a choice for yourself, because the other person "knows better" and even though this is what you want, you do what X says, I don't think that's a healthy relationship. Or when you feel like staying home but end up going out just because your significant other is not mature to understand that maybe you just don't feel like mingling w/ your/their friends that day, but you end up conceding in order to avoid a huge fight?

This sounds like a yellow flag to me.

All relationships involve compromise, but doing what someone else says because it's the option with the least friction, on a regular basis, is not a good sign.

It's true that little annoyances become less over time, but consistently deferring to someone else to avoid a fight isn't a "little annoyance."

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