There are many ways to define a toxic relationship. According to Psychology Today, a toxic relationship is any relationship that’s unfavorable to you or others. If your relationship doesn’t give you the respect you deserve, or it makes you feel down and depressed a lot of the time, these are clear signs that you’re in a situation that’s harming you. It’s important to be aware of the signs that your relationship’s turning toxic because if you stay, it can really be unhealthy. As the site goes on to report, “Toxic relationships can prevent those involved from living a productive and healthy life.”
Sadly, some people end up staying in toxic relationships because their relationships weren’t always that way. Perhaps the relationship was healthy and positive in the earlier stages of dating, but now it’s become draining and negative. They might stay with their partners in the hope that the relationship will get better. If things don’t change, however, it’s better to cut one’s losses. Toxic relationships, as their name suggests, are poisonous. Staying in them will just harm you emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically if the type of poison is abuse.
Here are 20 signs your relationship is becoming toxic and how you can deal with it so that you save yourself.
Psych Central defines self-care as an activity we do deliberately as a way of taking care of ourselves, whether emotionally, mentally or physically. If you’re in a toxic relationship that’s sucking you dry of your energy and resources, chances are you’re so focused on your partner that you’re neglecting yourself.
Maybe you’ve stopped doing things you love or you don’t take time in your day to focus on your needs and thoughts.
To get back on track, you need to make yourself a priority. The fact is, loving yourself first enables you to spread some of that love to other people.
When you leave a date with your partner, you should feel uplifted and positive. If the opposite’s happening — you feel drained and like you could sleep for a week — then it’s a red flag that your partner’s toxic. Maybe he brings you down with his negative attitude or he doesn’t give you a chance to express yourself. Whatever the case, it’s important to speak up about your needs. You deserve to feel worthy, loved, and happy in a relationship, or else it’s not worth your time.
In a similar way that your relationship should make you feel good most of the time, you should be with a partner who boosts your self-confidence. If they’re constantly criticizing you, whether it’s your appearance or personality, that’s unhealthy and unfair.
You might start to believe their words, which can feel like poison. It’s important to confront your partner about this and make them aware of the effect their words are having on you.
Ultimately, they should be a soft place to fall, not someone who chips away at your identity.
You want to get a promotion or a degree, and suddenly your partner expresses the same goal. When you succeed at something, he’s sour and jealous. Having a competitive relationship isn’t healthy, especially if you’re not cheering each other on to achieve your goals. As life coach and relationship expert Lisa Concepcion tells Bustle,
“People who communicate effectively in their relationship collaborate and are truly a team. There’s no feeling of competition and no desire to be right but a big desire to be happy.”
Talk to your partner about the competition and try to focus on being a team instead of opponents.
Relationships are supposed to be a two-way street.
If you’re giving too much of yourself and doing most of the work to keep the relationship happy and moving forward, then the relationship is unbalanced.
That’s what can make it toxic because your partner’s not meeting you halfway or compromising for the health of the relationship. If your partner doesn’t seem open to doing this, even after you’ve talked to them about how you feel neglected or taken advantage of, then it’s best to cut your losses.
You say your partner’s really a nice guy, but he’s just been under a lot of stress at work lately which has made him moody or argumentative. You call your partner charming, when really anyone can see he’s a big flirt with other women.
Making excuses for your partner is unhealthy because it means you’re trying to lie to yourself instead of see your partner for who he really is.
Instead of trying to brush your relationship issues under the carpet, call your partner out on his toxic behavior. Stand up for what you deserve!
Your partner wants you to delete all your male friends, or he become suspicious whenever you leave the house. His jealousy is getting in the way of your relationship satisfaction, and can make you feel controlled and resentful. It might help to seek relationship counselling so he can get to the bottom of his jealousy issues because it’s unfair for him to be putting them on you. If your partner can’t trust you, that can wreck the relationship and make you feel like the bad guy for no reason.
One minute, your partner is happy and the next, he’s angry or argumentative. Does it feel like you’re often walking on eggshells when he’s in the room?
Volatile mood swings are stressful to deal with in a partner and can change your behavior in a negative way.
From being confident and carefree, you might feel stressed most of the time. It’s upsetting. If you find that no matter how loving or patient you are, your partner’s mood swings are intense and cause your quality of life to decrease, you have to ask yourself if you need such a person in your life. The short answer: you don’t.
You help your partner, but he never acknowledges what you do for him. Or, he makes you feel like your efforts to help him when he’s in a difficult situation are never enough. You don’t deserve to feel inadequate! This is a warning sign that you’re in a toxic relationship, according to A New Mode, and it can make you addicted to your partner’s validation. This is unhealthy. If your partner doesn’t respect and value you, even when you tell him how his lack of appreciation makes you feel, then he doesn’t deserve having you in his life.
Arguing can be healthy in a relationship if it’s based on respect and working together to deal with your issues. But, if you’re arguing over silly things, or you’re in an argument rut where the same issues resurface, then this could be a sign that your relationship is taking a turn for the toxic.
“When criticism and blame are more frequent than appreciation and validation, this can be indicative of a bigger problem,”
Talia Wagner, marriage and relationship therapist, tells Bustle. It’s time to dig deeper and try to find out why you’re always fighting, and seek professional help so that you resolve your fights once and for all.
If you don’t have physical touch in your relationship, it can be really cold and lonely. Psychology Today reports that people feel more secure in their relationship when physical touch and affection are present. This can take the form of holding hands, kissing, cuddling, or hugging, for instance.
If you and your partner haven’t been affectionate with each other in a while, perhaps because you’ve been together for a long time, try to rekindle the affection in small ways.
Even just a quick touch during conversation can help you feel closer.
Sometimes you can be in a toxic relationship without even realizing it. It sounds crazy, but it can happen. That’s why it’s important to note your feelings when you’re not with your partner. If you find that you’re happier and more carefree and/or your loved ones notice the positive change in you, that’s a sign something’s not right in your relationship. A relationship break might actually be a good idea to help you suss out your feelings and if you want to be in the relationship or not.
A sure sign that you’re in a toxic relationship is if your confidence has plummeted. It could be that your partner’s always bringing you down, or that you’re settling in the relationship. You might be afraid to be single so you accept a less satisfying relationship, but that has the consequence of making you feel you don’t deserve a better one.
You can cultivate your confidence by reminding yourself of your worth. Focus on your strengths, appreciate your qualities, and treat yourself like your best friend does.
When you realize your self-worth, you’ll raise your relationship standards, which prevents you from settling for less than you deserve.
When your health is failing, there can be an emotional reason, such as a toxic relationship in your life. In fact, as Elite Daily reports, a toxic relationship brings stress into your life which can weaken your immune system and put you at risk of various illnesses. That’s why it’s important to look after yourself.
If you notice that you’re not leading a healthy lifestyle, such as because you’re not getting enough sleep or eating well, you need to start making yourself more of a priority.
You matter more than the relationship in your life, especially if it’s causing you to neglect your basic needs.
Having time to yourself in a relationship is important so you can focus on enriching your own life. But if you feel guilty for doing activities on your own, it’s important to ask yourself why. It could be that you don’t know who you are without your partner or you’re afraid of having time away from him because you don’t trust him, or something else. Whatever the case, remember that not having time for yourself is unhealthy and can be toxic because you risk losing your identity. No relationship is worth that.
You should never make your world revolve around your relationship, no matter how great it is. To be happy, you need to know how to make yourself happy. Part of that entails making time to chase your dreams and goals, and enjoying your passions.
If you’re not doing that, then you’re selling yourself short when it comes to feeling fulfilled and happy.
Your partner should encourage you to live your best life. If he doesn’t see the importance of this, then you need to ask yourself if you want to be with someone so controlling and selfish.
A classic sign of relationship abuse is when your partner isolates you from your loved ones. As reported by Break The Cycle, by isolating you from your support system, your partner can gain greater control. This is a huge red flag that you’re dating the wrong person. On the other hand, maybe you’ve chosen not to see your loved ones because they don’t get along with your partner.
In this case, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth cutting out your friends and family. You’ll most likely regret it in future.
Just because they don’t get along with your partner, it doesn’t mean your relationships with them have to suffer.
It’s not easy to succeed at work when you’re so stressed out in your personal life. As Bossed Up states, research has found that happier and healthier people tend to be more focused and productive, which can only be good for their careers. It’s difficult to succeed when you’re exhausted and stressed out due to relationship problems.
Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and how the relationship is affecting you.
See if he’s willing to work with you to make your relationship healthier for both of you. If he’s not willing to make the effort, then you shouldn’t be either.
When life throws you a curveball, why don’t you turn to your partner for support? Without support, your relationship can lack emotional connection and trust. If you can’t show your partner your stresses and bad days, then it’s like you’re not really connecting or being real with each other.
Perhaps you don’t turn to him because your partner doesn’t really act like your support system.
If that’s the case, you need to express what you need from him as a partner, such as you want him to be there for you and listen to you.
Could your partner be having an emotional affair? One of the telltale signs is if he’s confiding in anther woman. If you’ve stopped confiding in each other, that opens the door for emotional infidelity to occur.
Even if there’s no betrayal, however, it’s not healthy to feel you can’t talk to your partner about your worries, failures, successes, and joys.
Instead of distancing yourself from your partner, reach out and talk to him about this lack of communication. Maybe there’s a reason for it and by bringing it to the surface, you can deal with it together and strengthen your bond.