In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty dives into relationships.

Recently, he noted the uptick in conversations around the challenges many face in their relationships. He aims to help those muddled in toxicity and show them the path to healthy love.

Toxic vs. Healthy Love

Jay Shetty remarks that too many people are trapped in toxic relationships longer than necessary. He parallels unhealthy relationships and job dissatisfaction, noting how some take too long to address their unhappiness or make changes. Jay highlights that the journey isn't just about seeking the "right" partner and knowing when to walk away from someone harmful.

Moreover, Jay introduces the term "healthy love." He says, "It's about choosing the habits, the traits, the personality type, that is good for you in a relationship." He points out that relationships, like diets, require conscious choices to nurture and sustain them. No ideal partner is waiting in the wings; it's about crafting and curating the bond.

Leaving behind the notion of "the one" or a soulmate, Jay stresses the importance of intentional choices in a relationship. Unlike an off-the-shelf product, relationships require consistent effort and cultivation. It's about developing and nurturing habits that promote healthy connections.

Over-Reliance on the Partner

Jay Shetty dives deep into the pitfalls of over-dependence in relationships. This over-reliance can manifest in two ways: Either one becomes the sole provider for their partner's emotional needs or one becomes overly dependent on them. He notes, "If your partner comes to you for all their needs, often that can be quite fun in the beginning … and it gives us a sense of power and control."

Over-reliance on a single person for all emotional, physical, or psychological needs can be toxic in relationships. Initially, being the sole provider of a partner's needs may feel empowering, giving a sense of importance and boosting self-esteem. It's enjoyable to feel indispensable. However, over time, this dynamic can drain one's energy.

One partner may feel burdened with the responsibility of carrying the relationship, leading to resentment. The other partner might feel betrayed upon expressing these feelings, as they were given that space. They might argue that the dynamic was set early on, and now it feels like a bait-and-switch. This can lead to both parties feeling wronged: one feeling used and the other feeling denied what was once freely given.

Re-Establish Agreements

In relationships, over-reliance on a partner can create imbalances. If you've set a precedent of being overly dependent, it's crucial to establish a new standard. A key to a successful relationship is resetting agreements and standards. It's a delusion to believe things should remain the same because they started that way. Growth is inherent in individuals and relationships; acknowledging this allows for the redefinition of boundaries and expectations.

People often resort to phrases like "we've always done it this way." Still, it's essential to recognize the ongoing growth and the consequent need to adjust. If you find yourself relying solely on your partner, perhaps due to their perceived strength or wisdom, it's imperative to introspect. Overdependence can obscure the reality that relationships should be a partnership. Thus, it's essential to establish balance, set new boundaries, and understand that both partners need space to grow individually and together.

Council for Life

Jay Shetty introduces an insightful exercise for his listeners, urging them to reflect on the significant influencers in their lives. This reflection is about recognizing those who have consistently been caring, those who have been unwavering in their support, those who showcase competence in specific areas, and those with high moral character.

Jay says, "These are the four types of people that create our council for life." Individuals can build a robust support system around them by identifying these four pillars. Depending on a single person, emotional, moral, and practical support can be overwhelming and restrictive for both parties.

In Jay’s words, "So many of us stay with people who are not good for us because of how scared we will feel or how bad we will feel being alone." The solution lies in surrounding oneself with a robust 'council for life.' This council ensures that one doesn't feel isolated or overly dependent on one individual.

Trying to Change People

Another frequent toxic relationship behavior is the urge to alter someone's character. Jay Shetty observes that individuals often aim to mold their partners in their image. For example, if one is organized, they may desire their partner to mirror that trait.

However, Jay Shetty asks the listeners: Do you genuinely wish for a partner who reflects all your characteristics? Drawing from his experiences, he shares that his partner, Radhi, would readily join in while he meticulously planned excursions. However, Jay would likely scrutinize her plans if roles were reversed. This made him consider whether we should appreciate and adopt our partners' strengths and traits rather than pressing them to align with our standards.

Setting Clear Expectations

Jay Shetty underscores the importance of clarity in relationships. While many harbor the desire to change others, it's universally acknowledged how unpleasant it is when someone tries to change us. Therefore, he advocates for understanding and communicating one's priorities right from the beginning of a relationship.

Instead of delving into distant goals, it's more productive to concentrate on present priorities. Observing an individual's choices offers valuable insights into their core values. Jay points out a common pitfall where many believe their partners will eventually modify certain behaviors or priorities, only to recognize much later that these traits have always been inherent.

Playing Games

Jay Shetty warns against the detrimental behavior of playing emotional games in relationships. He notes that relationships that start with power dynamics usually revert to these behaviors during challenges. Jay explains that early behaviors undeniably set the tone for the relationship's future. While the initial unpredictability might seem alluring, most individuals seek stability and security in the long run.

Moreover, Jay identifies a hallmark of an unhealthy relationship as one where a partner dictates how the other should feel rather than inquiring. Such behaviors, while potentially appearing endearing at first, can become oppressive over time. Jay distinguishes a partner asking, "How are you feeling?" and another asserting, "This is how you feel."

Peace vs. Power

Jay Shetty offered a more in-depth view of how the underpinnings of relationships often emerge from our past — encompassing experiences, traumas, and deep-seated emotions. This makes relationships occasionally feel like a clash of past traumas. While some relationships might chase fleeting pleasures, leading to power dynamics, Jay advocates that healthy relationships should center around peace. The latter ensures a foundation of groundedness and continuity, in contrast to the fleeting nature of the former.

Jay Shetty encourages the listeners to introspection: Are you seeking dominance over your partners or aiming for shared peace? He cautions against the lure of transient dopamine rushes, emphasizing the profound value of seeking peace.

Losing One's Identity

Jay Shetty turns the spotlight to a prevalent issue: the risk of individuals forsaking their identity when intertwined with someone else. Instead of realizing oneself through a partner, merging with them is dangerous. Such behaviors' giveaways include joint interests replacing individual passions, mutual friends overshadowing personal connections, and codependence trumps independence.

Therefore, Jay Shetty challenges the listeners to pinpoint what they wouldn't compromise in relationships. Notably, he stresses that often, it's not external pressure but a voluntary decision to let go, which later gets unjustly blamed on the partner.

Championing Individuality

Reminding your partner of their uniqueness is a valuable act toward your partner. While the early stages of a relationship can be intoxicating, with partners prioritizing each other over everything else, maintaining balance is vital. Partners should encourage each other to engage in individual interests and maintain external relationships, fostering a healthy individuality.

Jay Shetty shared advice with the listeners: to not just let partners drift away from their passions; actively remind them of who they were and their pursuits before the relationship.

Self-Reflection over Blame

Another detrimental relationship behavior is highlighting your partner's mistakes rather than their strengths. Jay Shetty believes that instead of pointing out errors, couples should offer each other a mirror to self-reflect. When partners self-evaluate and realize their impact on each other, it paves the way for growth.

To Jay, open communication is paramount. Rather than wait for your partners to understand your needs or desires, you have to start an open, honest conversation. Jay underscores the danger of leaning into 'mind-reading' as relationships mature, noting how easy it is to expect unspoken understanding. Yet, he emphasizes that genuine experience stems from consistent and clear communication.

The Power of Communication

Jay Shetty and Radhi have been a couple for over a decade. Yet, even after all this time, assumptions shouldn't replace open dialogues. They communicate constantly and adjust to each other constantly.

There's a misconception that longevity in relationships should naturally foster unspoken comprehension. However, Jay insists on the vitality of maintaining communication channels, asserting it's the real differentiator in lasting relationships.

Relationships require work, understanding, and valuing individuality and unity. Therefore, it is essential to understand your relationship dynamics and how they affect you and your partner. If some aspects don't fit you, look inwardly and be honest with yourself and your partner. Open communication is always worth it.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “4 Differences Between Toxic Vs. Healthy Relationships & 6 Steps to Make the Shift No Matter Where You Are in Your Journey” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

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