Stop normalizing toxicity in relationships


By Jaime Watts, Columnist

Most of us have heard that men mature more slowly than women, so women need to keep that in mind, especially in relationships. Whether this is scientifically proven or not, it does not excuse toxic behaviors in relationships.

I am not bashing men, and I know both men and women can exhibit toxic behaviors in relationships. I am, however, pointing out a trend in our culture: We tend to make jokes about men’s behavior in relationships without any resolution.

Social media upholds this by making funny tweets or memes about how “men are trash.” It is important to note that many of these jokes only pertain to heterosexual relationships.

There are jokes about women saying they are done with men’s lies or behavior, but then they go back anyway. It can be relatable in a good way, but it also normalizes the behavior and perpetuates the idea that women are expected to accommodate men’s immaturity. We never hear that men need to be accommodating to women’s fast maturity rate.

We can especially see this through celebrity culture. Couples like Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson and Cardi B and Offset have dealt with cheating scandals. Kardashian and Thompson are still together, while recently, Cardi B and Offset finally called it quits. We do not know what goes on in someone’s relationship, but it seems people may have expected the cheating to occur and for the women to stay.

There is a stereotype that male athletes and rappers cheat all the time, so these women that get into relationships with them are expected to be understanding and can be blamed for picking that type. Regardless of one’s profession, cheating should not be normalized and brushed off.

On social media, there are countless posts about the behavior of men in relationships and getting back into those relationships. One Instagram post that received around 12,000 likes says, “Friend: I’ve gone back to him,” and the joke is “me: disappointed but not surprised.”  

Another tweet about ignoring red flags says on a sign, “He doesn’t text back. He breaks promises. He doesn’t instigate a conversation or checks on you. He only messages when he needs something,” and the joke is “The sign can’t stop me because I can’t read.”

These types of jokes about women going back to men or about behaviors in relationships are everywhere. The jokes are about toxic behavior, and it may be difficult to recognize.

Due to dating in the social media and technology age, there are even new terms for this behavior, like ghosting. Ghosting typically means you have gone out on a few dates with someone or may even be in a relationship with the person, and they stop texting and calling, ultimately disappearing out of the relationship without giving a reason. There are also plenty of jokes about being ghosted, but ghosting is not a normal behavior.

It is important we do not normalize any toxic behaviors in relationships through social media and our culture.

Maturity doesn’t equate to a good relationship, and immaturity doesn’t equate to a bad one. The entire argument of men maturing slower is not true; some men are just toxic. The same applies to women.

There are good men that do not contribute to negative behaviors, and it is important to not enforce a stereotype that all “men are trash.” The stereotypes, normalization of toxic relationships and the idea that 12women need to be accommodating all hurt men and women in society.

Jaime is a junior in LAS.

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