When we talk about ways to tell whether your relationship is toxic, we often think in terms of big, terrible things. And obviously, if your relationship is full of physical or verbal abuse, it's toxic and you need to get out ASAP. But there are a lot of more subtle ways that a relationship can be damaging to both yourself and your health. Some of the most difficult relationships occur when something is just off, and you feel wrong, but there's not a big enough incident or problem that you can point at to explain why or how. If it's small enough, you may try to block it out, but you may end up staying in a toxic relationship way longer, instead of dealing with it or getting out of there.
Sometimes the relationship is toxic because of your partner's behavior, sometimes it's your behavior, and sometimes you're just so wrongly matched that you bring out the absolute worst in each other. It's so easy to confuse conflict with passion and end up in a relationship that isn't good for either of you. All you can do is pay attention to the signs and get out of relationships like that before they do any more damage.
Of course, the small signs of a toxic relationship may be different for everyone. But here are 45 small things to consider — because fights are normal, but they can't be the basis of everything.
1. You Don't Feel Like You Can Be Yourself
If you're not comfortable being who you are around them, then something may be off.
2. They Don't Want You To Have Friends
It's a really basic — and scary — controlling move to keep you isolated.
3. They Don't Want You To Have Hobbies
And if they don't want you to have any alone time at all, that's even more worrying.
4. You're Not Being Honest With Yourself
Do you feel like you're pushing through and trying to make something work, but lying to yourself? Be careful.
5. You're Not Being Honest With Your Friends
If you find yourself saying that everything is great when you know it isn't, then it's time to look at why you're lying to people who are worried about you.
6. You Feel On Edge All The Time
Relationships should make you feel more relaxed and happy. Sure, they're not always easy, but you shouldn't feel like you're walking on eggshells.
7. You Can't Get A Hold Of Them When You Need Them
If you need them and they're not available, but then come running when they need you, then the relationship balance isn't OK.
8. You're Not Sleeping Well
Everyone's different, but my sleep is always an indicator of how I'm doing in my life.
9. They Take Jabs At What You Wear
Any kind of ridicule is really toxic.
10. They Withhold Affection
It's a type of control, and it also makes you feel small and stupid. You don't deserve that.
11. They're Quick To Get Angry At You
Beware of short tempers, always.
12. They Belittle Your Feelings
This person should love you and try to understand your point of view, even if it doesn't match with theirs. Minimizing your feelings is not OK.
13. You're Losing Touch With People You Love
Remember what I said about isolation?
14. They Use Sex As A Weapon
Sex should be celebrated, not used or expected.
15. They're Make You Self-Conscious
If they rag on you about certain behaviors and make you feel uncomfortable, then something's off.
16. They Forget Things That Are Important To you
They're just not tuned into where you are.
17. They Ignore Things That Are Important To You
... or even worse, they just don't care about what's important to you.
18. You're The Only One Who's Ever Compromising
If your "resolutions" always end up with you doing the leg work, but still feeling guilty, then you're probably being manipulated.
19. They Can't Be There To Support You
If every time you need something, they're "too stressed" or "too busy" to deal with it, it's not OK.
20. You Don't Feel Comfortable In Your Own Home
This is where you should relax. Having a bad living situation is so stressful that it can eff up other areas of your life.
21. They Insult How You Look
They should make you feel super hot — and ridiculing your body should not be allowed.
22. They Threaten To Leave
If they're constantly threatening to break up when you argue, even though they don't mean it, that's a sign you're in a controlling relationship.
23. You Dream About Being With Someone Else A Lot
It's fine to have crushes when you're in a relationship, but if you're constantly thinking about being with someone else, there's a problem.
24. You're Dressing Differently
They've started to control things, or just made you so tired that you've stopped taking care of yourself the way you used to.
25. You Constantly Feel Guilty
... despite doing nothing wrong.
26. You're Embarrassed To Bring Them To Social Gatherings
Their behavior is too volatile or unpredictable, and you're the one paying for it.
27. You Feel Controlled
You may not want to admit it to others yet, but you know it when you feel it.
28. Their Compliments Are Backhanded
aka they're not real compliments.
29. You Never Know Where You Stand
A lack of security can drive you crazy, and if they refuse to give you an answer, it can take a huge toll.
30. You're Totally Consumed By The Relationship
If you find that you can't think about anything else, take a step back and look at why.
31. You Miss Your Old Life
There's a reason for that.
32. Your Life Has Become Way Smaller
Slowly but surely, you've lost touch with things and people you love. That's not normal.
33. You Defend Their Bad Behavior Which You Know Is Wrong
Do you find yourself sticking up for them, and getting defensive even when they've done something awful?
34. Your "Rough Patch" Isn't Just A Patch
All relationships have ups and downs, but if you're always going through a difficult time, then there's something fundamentally wrong.
35. The Passion All Comes From Conflict
Conflict is not a strong foundation.
36. You Brew, Rather Than Speak
If you feel like you can't communicate the problems you're having, and instead let it all build up, it can mean trouble.
37. You Feel Less Self-Confident
That's the opposite of what your relationship should do.
38. You Are Always Stressed
It might manifest in other areas of your life. If you're always feeling wound so tight that you don't know what's going on, then it's time to think.
39. You Avoid Them
Not wanting to spend time with your partner, or outright avoiding time alone with them, is a key sign that something's gone wrong.
40. You Fight Constantly
It's not good for either of you.
41. You're Getting Sick A Lot
All that stress and control and fighting can take a physical toll for real.
42. People Who Love You Are Concerned
It's easy to try to drown them out, but if people who care about you are worried, then it's time to listen up.
43. You're With Them Out Of Fear
That's not the basis for a relationship.
44. You Have No Control Financially
It's another form of manipulation, and it's scary AF.
45. It Just Doesn't Feel Right
You know when something's off. Listen to yourself. And remember: It's much better to be single than to be in a toxic relationship.
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