Sometimes it can be hard to tell if the person you're dating is wrong for you — especially if you've been together a long time. You might think that you're a solid couple, and then out of nowhere, you start seeing signs you're in a toxic relationship, and you have no idea how you got there. First of all, don't blame yourself. Toxic relationships happen all the time. Everyone is just trying to do their best and hopefully end up with someone who understands and loves them eternally. Human beings are also built to adapt to any and all environments — even emotional environments — so the signs that your relationship has turned toxic might have been subtle.
Strength, confidence, and a supportive network of loved ones will get you out of it and onto greener, happier pastures. You just need to be willing and able to see the signs yourself, first. It can be tremendously difficult to accept that the person you love is not the one you will spend your life with. It sucks having to go through this process, but it's better to get out now before things get worse. Here are some key signs you've ended up in a toxic relationship, and it's time to call it quits.
1. You fight constantly
Fighting is normal. Fighting all the live-long day is not. You are two different people with different pasts and upbringings, so you're bound to disagree occasionally, and sometimes agreements turn into big fights. But if you find yourself fighting way more often than getting along with this person, it's time to bounce.
2. Neither of you truly forgive and forget
When you make up after a fight, do you truly let the fight go? Or do you just have makeup sex and internally fume for the next few weeks about those things your partner said to you? If you don't actually forgive and forget, the next fight you have will be huge, and it will be soon, because you're bottling up the things that still bother you. Your anger will be compounded and you'll return to the reason for the last fight in the middle of the next, because it's still on your mind. This is a horrible cycle that will never end until you either forgive, or say goodbye.
3. You resort to name-calling
There is no scenario in which tossing mean jabs at each other is acceptable. Insults stick, and they're at their worst when they come from the mouth of the person you love most. Don't do this to your significant other. And if they do this to you, well... you deserve better.
4. You find yourself fibbing to avoid confrontation
You edit all of your stories to avoid making your partner mad. This is you living on eggshells. And this is them not respecting you. It's a sucky way to live. If they don't accept you for you, there is someone out there who will.
5. You change your behavior to accommodate their mood swings
Do you find yourself changing the way you act in their presence in order to keep them happy? Do you modify your clothing, makeup, hobbies, and interests in order to be the person they want you to be? This is the extreme form of living on eggshells. It's also living a life other than your own. You will grow tired of this, because it's all an act. And then where will you be?
6. You are constantly putting your needs last
Your needs matter. They matter a whole lot. In fact, they should matter to your partner more than their own needs. Because you put their needs first, they should do the same for you. Relationships require a team effort, and balance is a must.
7. You become extremely critical of your looks
Whether or not your SO is verbally critical of your looks, if they're always unhappy, you might start to wonder if it's because you aren't "pretty enough" or "______ enough." Let me clear this up for you: all that you are is enough. If they don't see you as a beautiful tropical fish right this second, no matter what you're wearing or how you look, then they are not worthy.
8. You start thinking drastic choices will fix everything
Maybe if you moved in together, you two could go back to being happy. Maybe if you just got engaged, things would settle down. Maybe if you got pregnant, your significant other would go back to being the caring, doting partner you used to know.
No, no, and NO. Major life decisions made in times of high stress or precariousness never end well. The only way to remain happy is to start from a place of happiness. And if you start from a toxic place, the big move will magnify those feelings.
9. You downplay your problems to your friends to avoid judgment
They've told you how magnificent you are, and that you deserve better. They think you should end it. These are discussions you've had with them multiple times and you haven't left, so you might start to act like things are fine, as a way to avoid hearing them repeat themselves. But your friends only want what's best for you, so if you're hiding things from them, it's a massive red flag.
10. You have trouble focusing
You can't seem to get your head in the game during work, school, workouts, etc. because your focus is stuck on the problems you're having with your SO. You obsess over how to fix things, how it's your fault, and how you aren't enough to keep them happy.
Look, marriage and successful long-term relationships take work, but not this much work. Sometimes you just need to know when to call it.
11. You become depressed
Adult love isn't a black-or-white, cut-and-dry experience, but here's something that is: The person you love should not be the source of your depression. It's that simple.
12. You daydream about life after the breakup
Maybe the dream includes a job opportunity in another country, which leads to a breakup, because you won't be able to make the distance work. You're picturing these things because you feel trapped, and the only way out is something beyond your control, that forces the two of you apart.
Being alone might seem scary, but if these are your fantasies, you just really want to be free. And being free is the best feeling in the world after a toxic relationship.
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