20 Signs of a Toxic Relationship to Note

toxic relationship (1)

Healthy relationships reiterate togetherness and love in their truest form. Since we’re imperfect beings, you may argue with your partner and encounter other life issues as time passes. Nonetheless, both of you put in efforts to make things right and enjoy each other’s company. 

However, toxic relationships are distinct. At some point, you might feel unvalued and drained while being with a toxic partner. Although you cherish them, you just can’t get anything right in their books. 

A little dispute can see them neglecting you for weeks, and you’d start to wonder where it all went wrong. It even gets to a point where you dread their presence.

If you have queries along these lines – what are the main signs of a toxic relationship? – this article holds answers for you. 

Ready to understand how to identify toxic relationships and ways to move forward? Read on for some context.

20 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationship signs can be subtle or glaring. If you are in love with a toxic partner, it might be hard to sieve out their toxic traits. 

The following are 20 glaring signs that you’re in a toxic union:

#1 Lack of Support

In a healthy relationship, both partners are ready to go all out to see each other succeed. However, success in toxic relationships can breed competition. 

Here, achieving a big milestone doesn’t mean anything to your partner. When you inform them, they’re usually indifferent and give off a smile that reeks of deceit. Due to their behavior, you can’t inform them of subsequent wins and would rather keep it to yourself. 

#2 Seeking Avenues to Find Fault

One of the most common toxic traits in a relationship is when your boyfriend or girlfriend tries to sift out fault in everything you do. If they always nag about things you enjoy – hobbies and interests – they’re 100% toxic.

These constant nagging can change the way you view yourself. To avoid reaching an all-time low, it’ll be ideal to have a support system you can talk to occasionally.

#3 Your Self-Esteem Is Non-existent

A toxic boyfriend or girlfriend will always do all they can to make you feel worthless. 

To identify a toxic partner, look out for statements like: 

  • “I don’t like that dress, go and change it!”
  • “Your hair’s so unkempt.”
  • “Your make-up looks scary. Do it better!”
  • “Don’t leave the house until you’ve settled meals for myself and the kids.”
  • “You can’t go out partying with your friends tonight. Pick another date.”

The listed statements can dampen your self-esteem. At this juncture, you’d blame yourself and think about how you could’ve done better even if the fault wasn’t yours.

#4 Unbridled Jealousy

Jealousy is one of the most significant toxic girlfriend signs to note. If your GF stalks daily to ensure that you aren’t seeing someone else, they’re most likely toxic.

Although it’s normal for your girlfriend to seek routes to decipher her stance in your life, regular jealousy bouts quickly turn a healthy union into a toxic relationship.

#5 Resentment

No one’s perfect. Relationships are likely to experience disagreements and other issues. However, both parties in the union should seek options to resolve differences and live amicably. 

If your partner does something wrong and you can’t air your thoughts to them or would rather hold a grudge, that’s one of the signs you’re in a toxic relationship. 

NOTE: Resentment in relationships can greatly reduce intimacy levels.

#6 Dishonesty

One of the notable signs of an unhealthy relationship is dishonesty. If you need to lie about your whereabouts to your spouse to prevent criticism, you’re most likely in a toxic relationship. 

Partners must be honest with each other concerning all aspects of their lives. Once you steer from this path, your union has reached the toxicity threshold. 

#7 You Feel Insecure

In healthy relationships, partners rain praises on each other whenever they get the chance. Compliments in a union validate undiluted care and love between them.

Praises aren’t a crucial part of most toxic relationships. You’re in a bad relationship if you’re always scared that your partner won’t approve of your activities.

#8 Distrust

Trust is the foundation of all great relationships. Telling your partner the truth at all times, regardless of existing circumstances, is bound to make the union healthy and rock-solid.

If you’d like to learn how to know if your relationship is toxic or not, check if your partner is honest about their daily activities. If they aren’t and fast to renege on their promises, you most likely have a toxic partner. 

#9 Bad Financial Decisions

In most relationships, partners may come together to create a joint account. These accounts are crucial and help partners validate and approve the transactions of one another. 

In a toxic relationship, however, one party might decide to spend frivolously on irrelevant things you dislike.

DID YOU KNOW: 75% of couples in the US share one bank account. If you’re in a union where a partner uses joint funds to spend lavishly, consider placing limits on the account. 

#10 Constant Stress

Stress may come from working two jobs, taking care of your kids, and settling utility bills. However, you’re most likely in an unhealthy union if most of your stress isn’t connected to your daily commitments. 

The regular difficulties you face with a toxic partner can result in general weakness and emotional trauma. 

#11 The Future Appears Bleak

Relationships should see partners making plans about their future. However, these discussions rarely exist in toxic relationships. 

Although you might love your partner wholeheartedly, their toxic traits can make you a tad hesitant about the future. 

#12 You Don’t Practice Self-Care

You might have been a well-groomed individual. But in a toxic relationship, you lose touch with your “self-care” habits as your BF or GF says hurtful things concerning the things you do. 

To appease your toxic partner, you might revoke a gym or yoga membership and prefer to sit at home, thereby harming yourself (health-wise) in the long run. 

#13 Hoping That They’ll Change

Most people in toxic relationships believe their partners will refrain from their negative acts with time, and things will go back to normal in an instant. 

Newsflash! The possibility that they’ll change is almost non-existent. Even if the relationship denoted bliss and fun when it first started, your partner’s toxic tendencies might remain constant unless a change occurs. 

#14 Keeping to Yourself

If you have a question along these lines – “what does toxic mean in a relationship?” – you being scared of a partner you love should provide insight. 

If your partner does something wrong and you can’t tell them for “peace to reign,” you’re in a toxic relationship. Although you feel it’s a tactic to save your union, you’ll be the short-changed party in the long run.

#15 Your Partner Isn’t Empathetic

Empathy is putting yourself in someone’s shoes. Thus, if a person is mourning, you should console them in the best way possible, without telling them about the things they should be grateful for in their lives. 

If you open up to your partner and they act like they’re not concerned or switch the conversation to something else, you’re sharing your emotions with a toxic person. 

#16 You Feel Worse With Them

In healthy unions, partners usually crave the chance to be with each other and act all “lovey-dovey.” One of the signs of a toxic relationship is when you feel worse with your partner instead of being secure and loved.

Most times, you might yearn to see them. But once you do, your emotions get all ruffled up, making you scared and insecure about their presence. 

Your partner might even be the party that prompts your insecurity by not talking to you or criticizing your looks once they see you.

#17 They Forget Your Schedule

Your partner shouldn’t monitor your daily schedule (in fact, this will be a distinct toxic behavior – stalking). 

However, they should remember your crucial activities, especially if you sent several reminders for the event. 

If you tell your spouse about your huge presentation at work and it slips them, they’re toxic.

#18 You Do All the Work

Here, we aren’t talking about house chores. One of the major signs of a bad relationship is when you feel like you’re the only person spicing up the union – booking massages and changing their devices. 

Meanwhile, your partner makes no effort whatsoever to maintain the relationship. When you inquire, they adopt the regular “I was busy at work” phrase as their reply.

One-sided efforts in any relationship are 100% toxic.

#19 They Always Blame Others for Their Misfortunes

One of the most typical toxic behaviors in relationships includes your partner blaming others for everything that goes bad in their daily lives. If they’ve missed the train, they’ll blame you for making breakfast late or make any other accusation that befits the occasion.

Non-toxic partners would accept their errors and won’t go around pointing fingers at others. 

#20 They Regularly Play Games With Your Emotions

The only games that should be present in relationships should be Monopoly and maybe, a PlayStation. 

In sane relationships, partners trust each other and are certain that they’ll live up to their words without issues. In a toxic relationship, the opposite happens. Here, you aren’t even sure when you’ll see them again. Out of the blues, they show up and want to hang around. 

If your BF or GF does this often, they’re toxic and don’t care about your emotions. 

Can You Fix a Toxic Relationship?

Problem married and loss disagree

Are you itching to learn how to fix a toxic relationship? Although some people will tell you that toxic unions are headed for destruction, that’s not always the case. 

As with everything, there’s a fix!

However, there’s one thing. To kick-start the process of recovery, both partners must agree. If only one partner makes a move, toxicity in the relationship is bound to continue. 

Here are some signs that a fix is on the cards:

  • Accepting Responsibility

If you and your partner agree that the relationship had some issues and are willing to start all over, you’re on the right path. Determining past traits that affected the relationship is also a great way to move forward. Both partners doing this demonstrate self-awareness.

Summarily, both partners should examine their roles in the toxic relationship. Notable mentions include envy or jealousy, resentment, and dishonesty. 

  • Willingness to Commit

To fix a toxic relationship, you and your partner should be committed to making changes where necessary. Both of you should intentionally sieve out paths to make the once unhealthy relationship better. 

Commitment requires an emotional connection. Set aside time to engage your partner in deep discussions or just hold hands while gazing into each others’ eyes intently.

  • Stop Apportioning Blame

Another way to mend a toxic relationship is to switch your discussions from those revolving around blame to those that reiterate care and understanding. If you can get this aspect right, you’re close to resolving that toxic union.

But how can you do this? Instead of saying things like “it’s your fault that things aren’t working,” it’ll be best to say something along the lines of “I think my point didn’t get across, and I’d appreciate you doing it this way.” 

In resolving toxicity, communication is everything

  • Seek External Help

Sometimes, a third party is vital to fixing a toxic union. Contrary to popular belief, seeking help from a trained counselor isn’t a weakness but a show of strength. 

It’s also a sign that you and your partner want to make amends for the toxic periods you both have faced.

As an individual, it’s almost impossible to identify every toxic factor in the relationship. Thus, you need an extra pair of eyes – relationship counselors. 

These professionals will assess the union and proffer resolutions that’ll make your relationship healthier.

Moving Forward From a Toxic Relationship: Is It Possible?

After mending a toxic union, moving on is the next step for you and your partner. To ensure that you both are the best versions of yourselves going forward, adopt these significant steps: 

  • Don’t Focus on the Past

Fixing a toxic relationship will require looking into past events. Rather than dwelling on these issues, consider them as what they are – the past. Now, all your focus should be on becoming a better version of yourself.

Agreed, the urge to look back at the signs of your toxic relationship will be there. Focusing on them can result in anger and will invariably hurt the rebuilding process. 

So, do yourself a solid and ignore the past, if possible.

  • View Your Partner in a Good Light

If the bulk of your relationship’s toxicity came from one partner, it’s easy to blame them for their shortcomings. 

But instead of casting aspersions on their traits, take a deep breath and examine why they acted the way they did. 

Were they going through a rough patch at work? Did a financial project fall through? Did family issues result in their weird behaviors? 

Although these questions don’t address why they were toxic to you, they’ll get you a background as to what gave them the push to be uncaring and dishonest. 

At this point, consider your inefficiencies, as you weren’t perfect during the relationship’s timeline. If you can forgive yourself, you can as well do the same for a spouse or partner.

  • Commence Therapy

Seeking therapy for a toxic relationship reiterates your commitment to forming a healthy union. Nonetheless, just mere plans to visit a therapist won’t suffice. Thus, you’ll need to grab your phone and schedule an appointment with your partner as soon as possible. 

While couple therapy works the trick, consider trying a distinct therapy format – individual therapy. Individual therapy utilizes personal attributes to analyze why your relationship was toxic. 

These sessions also grant insight into your toxic and abusive tendencies.

  • Heal Separately

To move forward from toxicity, both partners must know what they desire from the relationship and their unique boundaries. Even if you’re certain that you understand your partner’s limits and all sorts, it won’t be a bad idea to revisit them and prevent subsequent squabbles. 

Note that boundaries aren’t stiff but flexible. 

Therefore, converse with them to understand their likes and dislikes. By going through these areas, you’ll have an insight into their communication and intimacy wants.

That way, the bonding process becomes smoother.

  • Seek Support

Moving forward from a toxic union isn’t smooth. So, it’ll be best if you can seek support from someone you can trust – a mentor or close relative. 

If you’d like to air your feelings to individuals that don’t know about your background, we recommend finding a support group geared towards toxic relationships. 

That way, you don’t feel left alone!

DID YOU KNOW: A report indicates that over 50% of unhappy couples will enjoy an improved union for 4+ years after counseling. If you and your partner agree on therapy, getting rid of those toxic relationship signs is possible. 

Notable Differences Between Toxic and Abusive Relationships

woman manipulating

To most people, toxic and abusive relationships are the same thing. Although these terms overlap each other, it is pertinent to note that they have several distinctions. 

A relationship is referred to as toxic when it’s unhealthy to one or both partners. In these unions, abuse isn’t the main characteristic. Here, both partners can be toxic to each other without resorting to abusive tendencies. 

Conversely, a relationship is abusive when one or both partners want to dominate by any means possible. 

The onset of abuse is subtle, and those in toxic unions may not spot it quickly. 

If you can’t decipher what relationship form you’re in, it is vital to seek professional assistance to know if your union is toxic or abusive. 

Below are some notable differences between toxic and abusive relationships.

Toxic Relationships

  • Healthy communication is practically nonexistent. Thus, normal conversations might lead to arguments in an instant.
  • Toxic partners are needy and selfish. Thus, they create drama to reassure themselves.
  • Most toxic spouses always look for an avenue to shift the blame to the other partner. They think all their misfortunes are linked to those around them, especially their partners. 
  • Partners in toxic relationships don’t support each other. Rather, they tear one another apart (emotionally) when the chance presents itself.
  • Everything’s a competition in toxic relationships. From clothing to who earns more, toxic partners want to outshine the other in any way possible.
  • Not meeting expectations can result in both partners acting aggressively towards one another.
  • Toxic spouses are reluctant to accept that they are responsible for an error. They know what they did but make little to no effort to rectify their mistakes.
  • Therapy and clear communication between both partners can mend toxic relationships.

Abusive Relationships

  • An abusive partner wants to be in control at all times. They assert their dominance in the relationship by manipulating, controlling, and dominating the other partner, leaving them voiceless and unable to make a stance.
  • The abuser in a relationship is cautious. Before executing a deliberate action, they ensure that it’ll benefit them in the long run.
  • Most abusers inflict mental and emotional abuse on their partners. After a specific period, they step up the anté and might physically or sexually abuse their spouses. 
  • Abusers are in total control of all relationship aspects – financial, emotional, sexual, etcetera.
  • An abuser wants to be in charge of the other partner’s life. They dictate who the other person can see and can’t, places they can visit, and timelines they must leave home and get back.
  • In an abusive relationship, the abused partner is always ready to paint the abuser in a good light, regardless of prevailing circumstances.
  • Unlike toxic relationships, the likelihood of an abusive union ending is at an all-time low. Most times, leaving is the perfect alternative.

Top 8 Tips for Leaving a Toxic Relationship

Although we’ve seen how to heal a toxic relationship in this article, note that not all partners may be able to go through this daunting process. So, if you’d like to leave a toxic spouse for good, adopt these tips: 

#1 Stand Firm on Your Decision

Sometimes, those in toxic relationships leave because their partner refuses to change. While calling it quits might not be the easiest of activities, reassure yourself that you did all you could to restore the relationship. 

If you inform your toxic spouse of the breakup and see them acting sober, note that they might return to their unhealthy ways. Once you’ve decided to cut ties with a toxic spouse or partner, go through with it.

#2 Cut Ties With Them on Social Media

Once you’ve broken up with a toxic partner, ensure you cut all ties with them on social media platforms like Kik, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook. 

Seeing your ex all “glammed” up on social media can resurrect negative emotions. Blocking their handles on these platforms will stop you from thinking about them. 

It might take some getting used to, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

#3 Keep a Journal of Your Emotions

Writing about your feelings and emotions might seem a bit weird. But it works. Whenever you feel unhappy due to your past relationship, decluttering your feelings by writing them down in a diary or journal is bound to keep you relaxed and clear. 

At first, writing your feelings in detail may see you shed a tear or two. But after some months, you’ll most likely experience these benefits:

  • Lesser doctor visits
  • An improved immune system
  • Happiness or being in a positive mood
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Reduced blood pressure

#4 Make a Plan

Transitioning to regular life after a failed relationship isn’t easy. Thus, it’ll help if you have a rock-solid plan in place. If you don’t have a career, consider applying for an online course that’ll sharpen your skills in a specific field (e.g., coding or data entry).

Besides learning, you need to be “financially stable” to weather the storm accompanying a breakup. So, while studying, look for jobs that’ll settle your bills. 

#5 Be Positive

After a breakup, the future might look bleak at first. But guess what? Your life holds so much more. 

Once you’ve broken up with a toxic partner, spend your time with people that make you feel happy. Head to the local restaurant and order your favorite dish. 

You just left a union that reeked of negativity, and you need to heal and get rid of all accompanying baggage. 

#6 Remind Yourself That You Deserve Better

You’ve endured years of insecurity and emotional pain from an unhealthy relationship. During this time frame, your partner hauled lots of insults at you, and at some point, you believed what they said. 

But that isn’t you! Toxic individuals usually get a hold of others and control them by tearing their self-esteem. 

Now’s the time to make a declaration along the lines of – I deserve better! Make this affirmation daily; before you know it, you’ve deleted those harmful thoughts that made you feel inferior. 

#7 Seek Emotional Support From Family and Friends

What you feel after ending a healthy or toxic union is somewhat similar. During this time, you feel sad, angry, and distracted. 

If your ex-partner aided your finances, you’d feel the impact even more. However, you shouldn’t go through this turbulent period alone. 

Contact your family and loved ones. Talk to them about how the relationship ended. Taking this step may seem a tad difficult, but opening up to those closest to you is one of the best ways to weather the storm seamlessly.

Your family can even provide temporary financial aid or housing as you get back to your feet. 

#8 Seek Help From an Expert Therapist

Breaking from a toxic relationship is challenging, and you’re most likely to walk away with a lot of baggage. Besides talking to your friends and family, it’ll be in your best interests to contact an expert therapist. A therapist will listen to your issue and proffer coping mechanisms you can employ to alleviate the pain and suffering from a toxic relationship.

DID YOU KNOW: A recent report showcases that over 60% of teenagers stay in toxic relationships. If you’re among this set and your partner doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, employ one of the listed tips.

Why Some People Find It Difficult to Leave Toxic Relationships?

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Several people know that they’re in toxic relationships. However, leaving their unhealthy spouse or partner is hard. 

Here are reasons why some people find it challenging to leave toxic unions: 

  • Fear: In toxic relationships, one partner might decide to control the others’ activities. To get their point across, they might resort to emotional and financial threats.
  • Finances: If someone is dependent on their toxic partner for financial aid, they have no choice but to continue the relationship.
  • Shame: Some people remain in toxic relationships due to embarrassment. They don’t want their friends and close associates to know what they’re going through in the union and will do everything possible to hide nagging issues.
  • Children: The presence of kids makes it hard for toxic relationships to end. Most times, the party on the receiving end of toxicity might decide to endure their partner’s unhealthy traits as a divorce or separation might affect the children’s progress.
  • Love: Feelings of love can keep someone in a toxic relationship. 

Major Takeaway

Being in a toxic union is difficult, and you might feel like you have nothing to offer because of emotional abuse meted out by your partner. We’ve looked at the notable toxic relationship signs and how you can fix things with your partner if the need arises. 

If you can’t settle a toxic relationship, we advise you to leave and look for the right person. Going this route will prove daunting, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. 

You deserve nothing short of happiness!

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