Getting into a healthy relationship after being in a toxic one can make you recognize all the unhealthy behaviors and issues you may have dealt with but didn't realize until after the fact.
And since this can happen more often than we like to admit, I thought it would be important to share the experiences of the women who answered Reddit user u/Admirable_Warthog_19's thread in the r/AskWomen community: "If you have been in an unhealthy relationship, what's something from a healthy relationship that makes your jaw drop?" Here's some of what they had to say:
1. "You can bring up issues without fear of them leaving you."
2. "Not feeling anxious when we’re apart. With my ex, I’d always feel super anxious when we were apart. I’d always text/call him and wouldn’t get an answer for super-long periods of time, sometimes days. I’d get blown off often when we had plans. It made me feel on edge constantly. I didn’t understand how unhealthy it was at the time. I thought it was a sign of 'how much I loved him' and that I 'missed him.' When I started dating my current partner, I didn’t feel any of that anxiety when we were apart. I actually questioned it at first and thought, Am I really in love? I soon realized it was because my current partner was so communicative and normal. He would tell me his plans/if he was busy. He would text/call me back. He would make plans with me and not blow me off."
3. "Recognizing that they are not trying to prove me wrong — but, rather, they want to find a medium where we are both happy."
4. "My ex was toxic, so my current boyfriend is wondering why I'm so amazed by the bare minimum."
"1) I can say no without any punishment.
2) He listens if I tell him what bothers me.
3) He gives constant updates in between hectic schedules.
5) He doesn't take me as a competition.
6) No manipulation and takes accountability for his mistakes.
7) Completely understands my mental illnesses.
8) Doesn't compliment other women (except celebrities).
9) Doesn't entertain other women.
10) Accepts and loves my flaws. I could go on and on, but these are the things that stood out for me because those are also my major issues with my ex."
5. "Feeling safe. Feeling safe to not always look conventionally 'good.' Feeling safe being a bit grumpy if I've had a long day at work. Feeling safe to be open about my past as a victim of abuse. Feeling safe to cry and laugh as much as I want to. I hope everyone who wants this feeling finds it."
6. "The complete lack of yelling and name-calling. Also, the fact that I never feel stressed to be around my partner; I always feel comfortable and at ease around her. I was always stressed with my ex and terrified of what she might say or do each time we argued. Gosh, I'm so happy to be in a healthy relationship now."
7. "Communication suddenly feels SO EASY. Previously, I had a lot of trouble talking about things that upset me, out of fear of being mocked or yelled at."
8. "Truly feeling seen and heard and factored into the person's decisions. My ex used to remind me that it was okay for me to have emotions and that I didn't need to apologize for things (I often apologized unnecessarily; it's something I am working on)."
9. "Men who don’t cheat and don’t want to cheat."
10. "Being wanted purely for being me, and not feeling as if I had to mold myself to their wants."
11. "One of mine is WANTING to be at home. I felt like I was always running away, and hated being at home. I called myself a 'going-out person.' For the first time in years, I love being at home and hanging at home on weekends."
13. "Bringing up how I’m feeling. I never felt like I could talk about anything because my ex would always throw down these cards. It would go from me needing reassurance to me having to comfort him because he 'was a shitty boyfriend.' Yeah, you were, dude."
14. "I can go do stuff and it’s like...no big deal?? I don’t have to justify or beg or plan a week ahead to make sure he’s taken care of. I just go. And I’m allowed to go by myself."
15. "They're able to admit that they were wrong about something, and doing so without getting defensive."
16. "Feeling safe enough to say no to sex."
"Same, and not getting the silent treatment for days after was a freaking novelty."
17. "Being able to share anything with my partner without fear of being judged or having it used against me later."
19. "I don’t have to be guarded with my phone. I can set it down anywhere. I don’t have to take the preview banner off of chats with friends and colleagues. He never demands my passwords, he never goes through my texts, emails, or camera. He just...trusts me?? AND respects my privacy and personal belongings?!"
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.