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Is your relationship just passionate or is it toxic? Here are the top signs that you’re in a toxic relationship and need to leave.
It is often hard to see the wood for the trees when you’re in a relationship. You want to make it work, especially if you’ve invested years into it or you made a huge sacrifice to make the relationship work. However, this could be a relationship that you’re better off out of.
A toxic relationship is one that is going to do more damage than good. Eventually, the love and positive feelings will be gone. Some people stay together just for the sake of it, but they don’t really like each other. Other relationships turn so toxic that it causes heartache for the entire family and leads to scarier moments.
Toxic doesn’t mean abusive. We can’t mistake the two. They’re not interchangeable words. However, a toxic relationship can turn abusive in the future. There may even be elements of abuse already that you’re overlooking.
Could you be in a toxic relationship*, or is your current relationship just going through a difficult time? Here are fives signs you need to pay attention to.
Communication is terrible in a toxic relationship
A good relationship has good communication. Now, this isn’t to say that every relationship with bad communication is a toxic one. Some people don’t know how to communicate with their partners, and they need to work together to make it better. If you’re willing to put the effort in to make the communication better, then work with it.
It becomes toxic when neither of you are willing to make changes. Or maybe one of you is but the other isn’t.
Instead of improving, the communication breakdown leads to constant fights. There is name calling, overall disrespect, and even constant bringing up the past because it’s impossible to deal with a situation and move forward from it.
Manipulation and gaslighting are common when it comes to toxicity in a relationship. One partner attempts to control and change the other, or they may use stonewalling techniques to get their partner to act how they want. Another one is giving ultimatums.
You’re constantly pointing out flaws in each other
How much do you support each other? While there are times when you need to have a “we need to improve in this” type of conversation, there should still be a lot of support and love. The “we need to improve” discussions come from a place of love and support—they’re a “we” statement, showing that you both have something to work on.
In a toxic relationship*, those conversations are one-sided. One partner will say “you need to change this,” or “you’re always doing this.” The partner constantly brings up flaws—but heaven forbid if you bring up flaws in them! That would never be allowed.
A good relationship will lead to support in parenting, work, and goals in life. Let’s say you have a dream of writing a novel. A supportive partner would help you do that, whether it’s being a sounding board for your plot ideas or just allowing you 30 minutes a day to work uninterrupted on the book. A bad partner would say they’ll do that and then make it impossible to do the work and just put you down on everything you come up with.
You lose who you are in a toxic relationship
I’ve been in these types of relationships. Every time I’m in them, I start to feel I’m losing myself. This is the big red flag for me in dating now, and the minute I find that I’m changing myself and losing who I am for someone, I pull away. I’m not interested in that.
You should still get to be you in a relationship. Love crazy colors in your hair? Well, it’s not hurting anyone else so go with it! Why is your partner forcing you to change? What about if you love to go to conventions? Why is your partner trying to stop that—unless you genuinely just don’t have the budget for it, of course!
In toxic relationships, we start to become the people our partners want us to be. That changes who we are with the other people in our lives. I’ve seen parents pay zero attention to who their children are and not be with them because they become a person’s partner and the person is trying to have them all to themselves.
You feel like you’re walking on eggshells
How often do you avoid bringing something up because you know it will create an argument? And then you know that the argument is going to end the same way as before. Nothing will change, so there’s no point in even bringing it up, right? All you end up doing is walking in eggshells as you try to avoid doing anything.
I know someone who was with a person who hated her ex-husband and children. Instead of accepting that he was just part of that life, he would make fun of the ex and would set a boundary that she couldn’t deal with situations when she was with him. He wouldn’t see her at all on the days that she had her children.
It led to problems between the co-parents. If the ex-husband brought something up, he was deemed jealous and the new boyfriend would nag in his girlfriend’s ear and put the man down. If she didn’t listen, he’d claim that she still had feelings for him and should go back to him. It meant that she couldn’t handle anything with her co-parent. Eventually, the children started to see what was happening, and she started to lose contact with them as they walked away from their mom. They saw she’d choose him over her because she didn’t want the arguments.
This isn’t just about toxic relationships*, though. There are a lot of people who will choose to be with someone so they’re not.
I have rules with potential partners. They’re not allowed to talk bad about my ex-husband. They can be honest about his actions and how they feel about them, but they’re not to make fun of him in anyway just to be hurtful. He’s still the father of my children. If they feel the need to put him down, it’s clear that they’re not the type of person I want to be with and subject my children to.
There’s no honesty in the relationship
The big sign that you’re in a toxic relationship is lack of honesty. Lack of trust is also a connecting element to this. It doesn’t matter how honest you are, if someone doesn’t trust you, the relationship is going to be toxic in the end.
Lack of honesty is a major problem, though. It can start small by someone saying what they do for work or their age. That soon starts to grow, and it can lead to problems within the relationship years in the future. If someone can’t be honest about the small things, why are they going to be honest about the big things?
Now, I’m not saying you have to say every little thing that is on your mind. There is such a thing as too much honesty. What I’m saying is that whereabouts, jobs, who you’re hanging out with…there’s no reason to keep any of these things a secret in a positive relationship—unless it’s for some sort of surprise!
Those who like toxicity or drama tend to lie because they know it will come up. Partners will ask for the truth, and this leads to some sort of argument. It’s what they thrive on. Do you really want that? And do you really want to question where your partner is all the time?
A lack of trust can come from some sort of betrayal in the past. In this case, you both need to agree to work on it together, talk about it, and seek counselling for it. If you both can’t do that and can’t be open with each other, there’s no point in attempting a relationship after that.
What are your big signs that a relationship is toxic? Share them in the comments below.