9 Signs You Have a Toxic Partner

by Raven Ishak

Since I was young, I truly believed I was destined to find someone whom I could share my life's passions with — my soulmate, if you will. I never imagined myself with a toxic partner, and yet, the situation happened to me more than once. From a high school courtship that turned sour to my current relationship that just needed a few tweaks, it seemed each relationship I was in had issues. Relationships, as a whole, are never easy, of course. They take a lot of work and both partners need to be willing to put in the effort. But being in a toxic relationship can bring things to a whole other level. It can drain your emotions, make you second-guess yourself, and prevent you from growing. All in all, toxic relationships can be detrimental not only for your relationship, but for your wellness as well.

To help bring some knowledge to the table, I talked with couples' consultant and coach Lesli Doares and licensed professional counselor at Portland-based Lifekey Counseling Jeremy McAllister.

"'Toxic' is relative perception. In fact, it may be less about having a 'toxic partner' and more about conflicting survival strategies in the wake of broken or inconsistent childhood relationships," McAllister tells Bustle in an email. "When someone applies opposing strategies, it feels abusive. We have these two basic common extremes in attachment: one side clings and protests while the other withdraws and disengages, and these two attachment styles are like magnets to one another — sometimes intensely drawn, other times repulsed and polarized."

Here are nine signs you may be dating a toxic person.


They Put You Down

It's normal and completely healthy to get in an argument with your SO, but that doesn't mean they can mock you, call you names, or discredit your feelings. "They call you names and put you down constantly," Doares says in an email to Bustle.


They Blame You For Everything

Doares states, "[Your partner] twists your words and makes everything your fault," of someone who is in a toxic relationship. A relationship can become unhealthy when your partner doesn't take any responsibility for their actions, especially if they believe they're "perfect" and don't find fault in their own actions.


They Manipulate Any Situation To Get Their Way

"[Your partner] pouts, sulks, gives you the silent treatment, makes you feel guilty or otherwise [tries] to manipulate you when they don’t get their way," says Doares of a toxic relationship.

Manipulation is the complete opposite of what love is supposed to be. Relationships are about compromise and understanding. Just because your partner doesn't get their way doesn't mean they should pout or try to pressure you to get what they want. This can make you second-guess yourself and allow you to lose sight of your own goals and values. If your partner can't respect that, then you might want to reevaluate the relationship.


They Never Follow Through On Their Promises

"They promise to stop doing something that they know hurts you but never follow through," says Doares. Trust is numero uno in most relationships. However, the believability of your partners' credo can slowly diminish when they continue to give you false promises.


They Dismiss Your Emotions

Nothing is worse than when you're trying to express yourself to your partner and they completely discredit what your saying. They roll their eyes, heavily sigh, and state you're being "dramatic" again. "They dismiss your feelings or opinion as being wrong," Doares says.


They Make You Question Yourself

According to Doares, "A toxic partner makes you question yourself constantly. A classic description is feeling like you have to walk on eggshells because you don’t want to do anything that can possibly upset them."

While you're supposed to grow and learn with your SO, they shouldn't try to change you to fit into their ideal mold of what a partner should be. Just because your partner doesn't know how to handle arguments or know how to communicate doesn't mean you should second-guess your standards and character.


You Can't Be Yourself Around Them

Let's be real: What's the point of being in a relationship if you can't be yourself? Your partner should motivate you to be the best version of yourself and not make you feel insecure or bring you down.

"A toxic partner will not let you be you. They want you to be what they think you should be," Doares says. "The result is that you feel like you are losing yourself and that you will never be good enough as you are. You feel unloved and insecure."


Problems Are Never Resolved

According to McAllister, "The same arguments repeat and never resolve." This tends to happen a lot when you're in a relationship with a toxic partner. While you might want to give your partner the benefit of the doubt, continuing to have these arguments over and over again can tarnish your relationship and be emotionally draining, too.


You Don't Have Respect Toward Your Partner

McAllister claims when you view your partner as a narcissist or a child, your SO may be toxic. For instance, when your partner continues to make child-like decisions and only thinks of themselves, it's hard to have respect for a person who won't consider your feelings.

Respect and trust is the basic foundation of every relationship. If your relationship don't have these qualities, then it might be time to reconsider why your in the relationship in the first place. Remember: It's not worth ignoring your values and character for a toxic partner. Love yourself first and trust the path your bound to take.

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