How do you feel when you are with your partner? Do they make you uncomfortable or angry? Do you think that they are adding drama to your life? Does their presence make you unhappy? Do they twist your words, and you always end up arguing with each other?
Then the chances are that you are in a toxic relationship!
It is true that relationships are hard. You cannot deny this, no matter what. In fact, the most perfect of relationships have their own flaws.
But, you know, occasional arguments in a relationship and a potentially destructive, unhappy, and unhealthy relationship are not the same thing. If you are in a relationship, know that they are meant to grow or flourish.
However, you end up feeling unhappy, defeated, and lost when it turns toxic. You lose your respect for each other, and you sense that there is a lack of emotional safety for both of you. But that should not be the case in a relationship, right?
According to Jane Greer, Ph.D., an author, and a marriage and family therapist: “If they make you feel like no matter what you’re doing, it always seems to be the wrong thing, and that no matter how hard you try, it’s never going to be enough to please your partner—those are red flags.”
So, what are the signs of a toxic relationship?
Come, let’s find out!
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
It is not always easy to understand when a relationship becomes toxic. But, I have listed a number of signs of an unhappy and toxic relationship.
1. They Crush Your Confidence
Does your partner always pick on you? Do you always get to hear comments from them criticizing you?
Then, dear, know that this is a sign of a toxic relationship.
When you get to hear things such as “I don’t like your dress,” “I don’t like your hair,” “I don’t like how you do certain things,” and “why are you doing this,” know that your relationship is not happy anymore.
And these kinds of comments on a daily basis are enough to break your confidence in yourself. Greer says, “You start to feel bad about yourself and begin to doubt your own judgment. You’re constantly thinking, “What can I do to make things better?”
2. They Are Extremely Jealous And Controlling
Does your partner always get jealous even if you are just having a casual conversation with someone of your opposite sex? Do they want you to do things only when they are with you?
Then it is time that you rethink your relationship.
You are an individual being, and you have your own likes and dislikes. And you need to do things to make yourself happy too. But if you have a partner who wants you to do things only according to their likes, dislikes, and happiness, it suggests that they only think about themselves.
Jealousy in a romantic relationship, once in a while, is okay to a certain extent. But when it becomes a regular thing and the level of jealousy increases, it means that there is a problem. If your partner doesn’t let you talk to people of your opposite sex, it means that they are jealous.
Also, being too controlling is bad for a healthy relationship.
3. They Always Find Something Bad About You
Does your partner keep on suggesting that you should make changes in yourself and your life? Do they always make you feel that there is something wrong with you?
Then, this is a red signal for your relationship.
If your partner is good and if you are in a loving relationship, they will always make you feel like you are on top of the world. In other words, they will make you feel good about yourself and the relationship.
Yes, they will give you suggestions, but not in a way that can hurt you or make you feel inferior.
But things are just the opposite when you are in a toxic relationship. Here, your partner will pass comments that can make you feel unwanted and inferior. And the worst part, they can make you feel like the issue is in you.
4. They Have More Power in The Relationship
Who is the one who has more power in your relationship? Is it you or your partner? Or are you both equal in the relationship?
If the answer is any one of you, it suggests you are not in a healthy relationship.
In a relationship, both you and your partner contribute to its well-being. You both make efforts to make things work and keep each other happy and content.
So, you guys should have equal power in the relationship. None of you should have more power than the other. And when you have an equation such as this, your relationship will be happy.
But things become hard when one of you has more say in the relationship. This can make the other person feel low about themselves. And this, in turn, makes the relationship toxic.
5. You Don’t Feel Secure
One of the best parts of being in a healthy relationship is that you feel secure around the love of your life. You have complete trust in them that they will do nothing to hurt you and make you feel insecure.
You complement each other. You bring out the best in each other. You find your partner by your side in good as well as bad times. You care for each other. And you are the happiest to be with your partner.
But if you don’t feel the same, know that this is one of the signs of a toxic relationship.
6. You Hope That They Will Change
Do you and your partner often have heated arguments? And do you wish and hope that your partner will change the behaviour that is causing problems between the two of you?
If your answers to both these questions are “yes,” then, honey, know that not all is good in your relationship.
You know, we all are different, and we all have different traits. So if you have frequent arguments with your partner over some of their characteristics, that is because you do not like it, right?
But, dear, don’t hold into the relationship thinking that they will change for you because that is not going to happen. Don’t hope.
I understand that when you are with someone for long, you don’t want to leave them, no matter how bad your bond is. But you have to be strong and let go of this toxic relationship. After all, you don’t want yourself to be in an unhealthy relationship, right?
7. You Are Not Taking Care of Yourself
No matter how bad your mood is or how low you feel, you should always take care of yourself first. This is something you cannot miss. After all, it is about your well-being, right?
So, now you know that not just your partner’s behaviour; your behaviour can be a sign of a toxic relationship too.
When you are not happy, you tend to care less about yourself. This can also happen when you see that your partner is no longer interested in you or is making things difficult for you. Things start to become worse if this continues.
But that should not be the case in a healthy relationship. Instead, you should care for yourself and love yourself for the person you really are.
And when that doesn’t happen, know that this is a red flag.
8. They Don’t Take Any Responsibility
Does it always happen that you always remind your partner of something they need to do, and it ends up in a huge fight between the two of you, for example, picking up a wet towel from the bed?
Consider this as a red flag.
You and your partner should be able to take feedback or suggestions from each other. For example, if you always need to remind your partner that they should keep the seater of the commode water-free after using it, and they don’t take it positively, then know that your relationship is not going on the right path.
There may even be times that they blame you for their rude behaviour. But, it is also true that you may sometimes aggravate their toxicity.
9. You Don’t Fully Trust Each Other
Trust is very important in a relationship, be it in a romantic one or some other kind. How can you be with someone if you cannot trust them?
When you are at the starting phase of a relationship, you may not always have the kind of trust a strong relationship requires. But when you enter the next stages of a relationship, your trust in each other grows.
If you don’t see this happening with your relationship, or if you see that you cannot fully trust your partner with your being, then that is not a good sign.
Also, it can happen that your partner keeps on promising you something, but they never keep their promises. They may be very loving and caring one week and then show complete disinterest in you the other week.
All these signs indicate toxicity in your relationship.
10. They Always Shut You Down
Do you fight with your partner very often?
Well, that doesn’t mean that you are in a toxic relationship. We all fight with our partners at some time or the other; after all, we all are human beings. So, it is normal for us to have different opinions on things, which can often lead to being mad at each other.
But things can become pestering if your partner shuts you down every time you bring out a topic that is bothering you. Whenever you want to have a conversation with your partner about certain things in order to come to a solution and have peace in your relationship, your partner doesn’t want to listen to you. In fact, he even walks out at times.
If this is what is happening with you, then honey, your relationship is in trouble. It has become toxic.
In a healthy relationship, both partners make an effort to make the relationship work. They listen to each other’s issues, sit and talk about them to find a solution, and always do things to make each other happy.
11. You Don’t Feel Good When They Are Around
In a healthy and happy relationship, you love your partner and want to be with them as much as possible. This makes you feel happy and content. Your partner also tries their best to give time and attention to you, which you deserve.
But things are not the same in a toxic relationship. You may love your partner and be with them, but whenever they are with you, you kind of feel uncomfortable and insecure.
Maybe it is something that your partner does that makes you feel so. Maybe they make constant comments to make you feel down, or they may say certain things that hurt you. It can be anything.
In many toxic relationships, one partner doesn’t give full attention to the other partner when they are together. They may be busy with their phones or see in a different direction when you say something.
Do similar things happen with you too?
Then, honey, the chances are that you are in a toxic relationship.
12. You Are Not Yourself When You Are With Them
When you are in a romantic relationship, you should always love your partner for who they really are. After all, their unique qualities have attracted you to them in the first place, right?
You should always be able to be yourself and express your feelings in front of your partner – without any hesitation. The more you are able to bear your heart away around your partner, the more you fall for them. As a result, your trust in each other grows, and your bond becomes stronger.
But things are different when you are not in a healthy relationship. You don’t feel like yourself when you are with your partner. There can be many reasons behind this.
Maybe your partner says things such as, “you will not understand,” and “I wish you understood.”
When they make these kinds of statements, it makes you feel bad. You then try to become the person your partner wants you to be and not yourself. You start doing things that your partner would like them to be. You even say things that your partner would like to hear and not what you actually feel or want to say.
And that is when you start realizing you are not yourself when you are with your partner.
13. They Offer Constructive Criticism – Always
You know, criticism is not harmful when it is constructive. But it can be harmful if you are always getting it and also when you are not asking for it.
How do you want your partner to be?
Loving, caring, supportive and encouraging, right? But things can be really confusing for you when your partner is always offering you constructive criticism. You don’t understand if they are doing it for your good or if they are actually criticizing you.
Let me share some examples with you.
When you want to wear your favourite dress to a party, they ask you if you can wear something else, as that will not look good on you. When you get an extra piece of chocolate cake, they ask you if you really need to eat you. When you are silly just to receive some love from your partner, they ask you not to behave in a childish way.
Do you find anything common with these situations?
Then that is a red flag. When your partner criticizes you again and again, even when you don’t ask for it, it suggests that they are trying to control you. And that is one of the many signs of a toxic relationship.
14. You Feel Tired
Do you feel that your relationship is draining all your energies?
Dear, it is a sign of toxicity.
In a healthy relationship, you feel loved, alive and happy. You feel charged up whenever you see your partner. Just a sight of them can make you happy.
But that is not the case in a toxic relationship. You feel drained. And did you know that it can manifest physically too?
You can actually feel tired all the time, despite taking enough rest. It is the toxicity of your relationship that is making you feel tired and your body unhealthy.
So look out for this sign and keep an eye on your body’s reaction.
15. Your Close Ones Are Concerned About You
Now, this can be a tricky sign to understand.
You know, when you are in love with someone, sometimes, you don’t really see things in your relationship that others can see, especially your family and friends. Your love for your partner blinds you to see faults in your relationship.
These faults are easily visible to your near and dear ones, as they get to view your relationship from a third-person perspective.
When your family tells you that there is something wrong with the way your partner is behaving or that they are not treating you the way you deserve to get treated, don’t just shut them down and ask them not to put their nose in your relationship.
Cool down, sit with them, and ask them why they are saying so. Is there anything alarming that they noticed in your relationship and you failed to?
I am not asking you to listen to whatever your close ones say. But, at times, you do need a different perspective. Maybe that will help you to look at your relationship from a new angle.
16. They Don’t Make You a Better Person
In a healthy relationship, your partner always brings out the best in you. You have fun, you feel happy and confident, and you don’t have any trust issues when you are with your partner. In short, you are your best version when you are with them.
Things are different in an unhealthy relationship. Do you feel that you don’t have the same level of confidence you used to have before you met your partner? Do you not want to have fun when you are with them? Do you doubt them in whatever they say or do?
If your answer to all these questions is “yes,” then know that you are not in a healthy relationship. It is time that you think about your relationship again.
17. They Play Games With You
No, I am not talking about bedroom games or role play! Because if your partner is into these games, it can actually spice up your relationship, and you will have a great time together.
I am talking about mind games here.
For example, does your partner tell you that he/she will meet you at a certain place, and then you keep on waiting, and they never come? Do they tell you to be available during your office hours for a call, and then when you manage your work and wait for their call eagerly, they never call?
Then, let me tell you, these are not the signs of a healthy relationship.
In a healthy relationship, you always keep your promises. You never keep your partner hanging. You do everything to make the trust in your relationship intact and your partner happy.
But if the opposite happens, you need to reassess your relationship.
18. They Always Blame Others
In a healthy relationship, partners don’t blame each other for their issues. If they make any mistake, they accept it and try never to do it again. If there is any issue in the relationship, they sit together and try to come up with a solution. They always work for the relationship, as that is their priority.
But things are not the same in an unhealthy relationship. In it, if your partner does anything wrong or if they behave toward you rudely, they will blame others for it. It can be anyone from their family, friends, colleagues, and even you.
They will never take responsibility for their own actions. They think that the issue is not with them but with the other people in their lives. Does this kind of thing happen to you too?
Then it is a clear sign that you are not with the right person.
19. You Feel Like Only You Are Giving Efforts in Your Relationship
Relationships are a two-way thing. You work in partnership in whatever you do.
Maybe you are good at picking up a spot and planning holidays together, so you always do the planning when it comes to vacation. Maybe your partner is good at planning the date nights for you two, so it is them who makes the reservation at the restaurants.
So you see, you both are contributing to the relationship in some way or the other. This applies to your day-to-day activities too. Maybe your partner does the cooking, and you do the laundry. Or maybe they buy the groceries, and you do the household work. Whatever it is – you both are making efforts to make the relationship work, right?
And this is what it should actually be. You need to worry when things in your relationship are just the opposite of this.
Maybe it is always you who is planning dates, making reservations, doing the chores, planning holidays, doing things for your partner to make them feel special, or going out of your way to make things hot in the bedroom.
These are the signs of a toxic relationship where you are the one doing all the work in your relationship, and your partner is contributing to it nothing.
20. Your Partner Keeps on Forgetting Your Schedule
Yes, we can be forgetful at times. And that is totally normal. After all, we are human beings and not robots!
We can, at times, forget important happenings in our partner’s life – all thanks to the busy schedule we have, and not to mention work pressure. This is totally understandable.
There may be times when your partner asks you to help them move in on the day you have a big presentation at your work. You manage that as you always want to be there for your partner. And problems don’t come knocking at your door, right?
But what if your partner keeps asking for favours on your important days even after you say that you are anxious or feeling nervous?
That is the time when you need to rethink your relationship!
When your partner forgets the things that are important to you time and again and asks for your favour even after knowing it will be difficult for you, it means they don’t really care about your schedule. All they think is about themselves. And that is a sign of a toxic relationship.
21. They Take You as Their Competitor
Competition is a good thing, but not in a relationship. Yes, you can compete as a couple with other couples, but not with yourselves.
You are in love, remember? And when you are in love, you are counted as one together. You become each other’s strength, you motivate each other, and you push each other to give your best. And that is what a happy and content relationship looks like.
You cheer for each other becoming each other’s biggest supporters.
But, wait, do you always have to hide if you get a promotion at your work so that your partner does not feel bad for themselves? Do you not share with your partner if there is some good news? Do you feel guilty about your own success and so stop yourself from telling it to your partner?
If your answer is “yes” to all these questions, then honey, you have a serious problem in your relationship, and not to mention, it has become toxic.
22. You Always Try to Cover up Their Bad Doings
In a healthy relationship, you and your partner think about the happiness of each other. So you try to be friends with your partner’s friends, be nice to their family, spend time with the people that they love, and always have their back.
In short, you are each other’s biggest support system and do things to make them proud in front of their loved ones.
Do you and your partner have the same kind of relationship? Do they make you feel proud in front of your family and friends? Or do they embarrass you in front of your loved ones?
If you fall under the first category, all is okay in your relationship. But things can be concerning if you fall under the latter category.
It is really toxic if you always need to cover up your partner’s bad behaviour, their lack of care for you, their emotional unavailability, and their lack of support.
And when that happens, know that you are not in the right kind of relationship.
23. You Are Not Sure About Your Future Together
Once you get into a relationship with the person you love, everything seems to be colourful and happy. You are on cloud nine.
As the relationship grows, with time, you start planning things together. You talk about your career, where you see yourselves in the next few years, and of course, your future together. You talk about your goals, aspirations, ambitions, and how you want your partner to be with you. Then, of course, you talk about your marriage too.
This is what a healthy romantic relationship looks like. But if your relationship looks just like the opposite of it, know that is a bad sign. You may not be in a healthy relationship.
It is a sign of a toxic relationship if you find it uneasy to talk to your partner about your future together or if you don’t feel like talking about your future ever.
If one or more of these signs of a toxic relationship match with your relationship, know that it is time that you sit with your partner and have a clear and face-to-face conversation. When a relationship becomes toxic, it is going to go nowhere.
And don’t forget to let me know how it all goes!