“A toxic relationship includes many factors.” Any relationship, be it romantic or otherwise, can be complicated. Whether it’s the relationship you have with your pushy mother-in-law, a childhood friend, or a spouse, interpersonal connections can be as challenging as they are rewarding.
If you’re in a toxic relationship, you may recognize some of these signs in yourself, your partner, or the relationship itself.
Lack of support
Your time together has stopped being positive or supportive of your goals.
“Healthy relationships are based on a mutual desire to see the other succeed in all areas of life,” Caraballo says. But when things turn toxic, every achievement becomes a competition.
In other words, you don’t feel like they have your back.
Instead of treating each other with kindness, most of your conversations are filled with sarcasm, criticism, or overt hostility. You may even start avoiding talking to each other.
While it’s normal to experience jealousy from time to time, Caraballo explains it can become an issue if you can’t get yourself to think or feel positively about their success.
Questioning where you are all the time or becoming overly upset when you don’t immediately answer texts are both signs of controlling behavior, which can contribute to toxicity in a relationship.
In some cases, these attempts of control over you can be a sign of abuse (more on this later).
Holding on to grudges and letting them fester chips away at intimacy.
“Over time, frustration or resentment can build up and make a smaller chasm much bigger,” Caraballo notes.
You find yourself constantly making up lies about your whereabouts or who you meet up with to avoid spending time with your partner.
Patterns of disrespect
Being chronically late, casually “forgetting” events, and other behaviors that show disrespect for your time are a red flag, Manly says.
Negative financial behaviors
Your partner might make financial decisions, including purchasing big-ticket items or withdrawing large sums of money, without consulting you.
A normal amount of tension runs through every relationship, but finding yourself constantly on edge is an indicator that something’s off.
This ongoing stress can take a toll on your physical and emotional health.
Ignoring your needs
Going along with whatever your partner wants to do, even when it goes against your wishes or comfort level, is a sure sign of toxicity, says clinical psychologist Catalina Lawsin, PhD.
For example, you might agree to a vacation they planned, either intentionally or unintentionally, for dates that aren’t convenient for you.
You’ve stopped spending time with friends and family, either to avoid conflict with your partner or to get around having to explain what’s happening in your relationship.
Alternatively, you might find your free time is wrapped up in dealing with your partner.
Lack of self-care
In a toxic relationship, you might let go of your usual self-care habits, Lawsin explains.
You might withdraw from hobbies you once loved, neglect your health, and sacrifice your free time.
Hoping for change
You might stay in the relationship because you see the other person’s potential or think that if you just change yourself and your actions, they’ll change as well.
Walking on eggshells
You worry that by bringing up problems, you’ll provoke extreme tension, so you become conflict avoidant and keep any issues to yourself.
How to save your dying relationship!
Many people assume that toxic relationships are doomed, but that isn’t always the case.
The deciding factor? Both partners must want to change, Manly says. “If only one partner is invested in creating healthy patterns, there is —unfortunately — little likelihood that change will occur,” she explains.
Here are a few other signs that you might be able to work things out.
Willingness to invest
You both display an attitude of openness and willingness to invest in making the relationship better.
“This may manifest by an interest in deepening conversations,” Manly says, or setting aside regular blocks of time for spending quality time together.
Acceptance of responsibility
Recognizing the past behaviors that have harmed the relationship is vital on both ends, Manly adds. It reflects an interest in self-awareness and self-responsibility.
Shift from blaming to understanding
If you’re both able to steer the conversation away from blaming and more toward understanding and learning, there may be a path forward.
Openness to outside help
This is a big one. Sometimes, you might need help to get things back on track, either through individual or couples counseling.
I hope this few points will help you maintain a long lasting relationship.