Warning Signs You're in a Toxic Relationship

by Emily McCay 4 years ago in advice / humanity / list

No matter how comfortable you may be, don't ignore the warning signs you're in a toxic relationship.

Warning Signs You're in a Toxic Relationship

Fall in love, get married, have a couple of kids, live happily ever after. That's the formula, right? Relationships play a huge role in the makeup of our lives and sometimes, we become so caught up in what we're 'supposed' to be doing, that we veer from what we actually want. We start accepting less than we should, because we've become compliant and comfortable. But the warning signs you're in a toxic relationship are there. Right in front of our faces, the signs are there. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and ask yourself "What am I doing? Why am I still in this? Will this make me happy?". If you've started to feel unease in your own relationship, it's probably hurting you more than it's helping you. Be on the look out for these signs while you evaluate what the next step to take is.

You spend more time apart than together.

Photo by Marta Bevacqua

This doesn't mean if you don't do every single thing together, you're in trouble. It means, that if you would rather do things alone that you used to enjoy doing together, there is a problem. No couple should be together 24/7, but if you or your partner has slowly started withdrawing, needing more and more 'space' apart, than you're relationship is moving in the opposite direction that it should. Wanting to be together is the whole grounds for your relationship in the first place, so if you want more time apart, it's for more than just some space.

There's jealousy in disguise.

Photo by Patricia López Rdgz

There is a not-so fine line between genuine caring and jealously. Let's just say for instance, you decide you want to have a night out on the town with your girls. A loving parter will worry about your safety, sure, and maybe recommend taking a cab instead of walking, or bringing your pepper spray. A jealous partner will guilt trip you into not going out at all, and then spin it in the direction of "I'm only looking out for you". This happens when there is a lack of trust, and let's face it, if you don't have trust, you don't have a relationship.

You put each other down.

You've started criticizing each other's every move. At first, it will come out as a joke, or as sarcasm. "Don't worry babe, I'll bring home dinner AGAIN because god knows we wouldn't want to break the great streak I've got going". Then it starts to touch more serious topics — your job, your weight, cornerstones of your personality. Basically, you just stop liking each other. It doesn't mean you don't love each other, but people undervalue how important it is to actually like the person you're with, not just love them. Subtle digs can fester in to larger wounds, and the spiral continues downward.

There is a lot of passive aggression.

This goes hand in hand with talking down to each other. Being passive aggressive is almost worst though, because it means you can't communicate. Clear communication is probably the most important part of any relationship, and being passive aggressive means that you either, one, don't know how to say what you actually feel, or two, would rather just dance around the subject rather than actually dealing with it. If you can't communicate clearly, you will end up with a toxic relationship.

You're using sex as a crutch.

Sex is a huge part of relationships. It relieves stress, it brings pleasure, but mostly, it brings you closer together. Great sex in a great relationship is more than just the physical, it's heavily emotional. When our relationships start to fail, holding on to sex seems like the last hope you have. This is why so many couples continue to sleep together even after they break up. It mimics a closeness that otherwise has been lost. Sex should be a component of a relationship, not the main event.

You avoid your friends and family.

Image via Columbia Records

Avoiding seeing your friends and family is a sign you're in a toxic relationship because it means you are avoiding a bigger issue. Your family and friends are those that know you best. They can sense when there is trouble in paradise. By avoiding spending time with them, you are avoiding seeing the true state of your relationship.

Reminiscing on the beginning instead of looking toward the future.

This happens in a toxic relationship when things start looking dim. All the future plans you've talked about start diminishing from sight, so you cling to the past. Everything was so great in the beginning though, right?!? Maybe it was. But if you can't see your future together anymore, it's probably because you don't have one and unfortunately, a great past will not fix that.

You only want to make them happy.

Happiness should not be exclusive to one party in the relationship. Why has your happiness become so much less valuable than theirs? For a relationship to last, happiness has to be a two-way street. You get what you give, right? If you're not getting back what your giving, something in the relationship is wrong. Becoming more concerned with others happiness over your own is a also a sign of low self-worth. This relationship has beat you down so much, you no longer view your happiness as important. But newsflash peeps, it is.

You’re not yourself.

Photo by Cherry Collaborative

We've all been there. You reach a point in you're toxic relationship that you don't even recognize yourself anymore. You used to be so confident. You used to be so independent. And now your a lesser version of yourself who has adapted to keep your relationship alive. Compromise is necessary for any relationship to work, but you shouldn't have to compromise who you are. A good partner loves you for who you truly are, not who they want you to be.


You’re more sad than you are happy.


Photo by Benjamin Vnuk

The purpose of a relationship is to add to your life, not to take away from it. Good and bad comes in all relationships, but you have to ask yourself, "Am I even happy anymore?". Loving someone isn't always reason enough to stay together. If your sadness is out weighing your happiness, it's time to move on.

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Emily McCay
Emily McCay
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Emily McCay

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