What is a toxic relationship? Ultimately it can be defined as a relationship where one or both partners are being taken advantage of. This can be physical or emotionally. It typically means where one partner is taking everything that they need and giving nothing back in return. Sometimes the partner is aware they are doing this and other times it’s just a natural process for them which they could have been used to for years. It’s important to realize that a relationship can look toxic to outsiders because they don’t understand the process that makes it work. If both partners are happy, it doesn’t matter what quirks or creases exist in the relationship model.
It’s when one or both partners are miserable that you need to look at what’s going on and try to fix it. So, let’s explore some of the common signs that you are in a toxic relationship.
A Lack Of Trust
It’s possible that there are clear signs your partner doesn’t trust you or perhaps you no longer trust them. Now, there might be clear reasons for your lack of trust.
For instance, you could have caught them being unfaithful or dishonest before. This is always going to make it more difficult to take them at their word. A mistake in the past should not automatically lead to the end of a relationship. But it can be difficult to immediately trust again once this happens and ideally, you shouldn’t have them.
Instead, a partner should be willing to provide signs and work with you to help build the trust back up. Of course, some things need to be approached with a leap of faith. Remember, it’s impossible to know what your partner is doing all the time.
If a lack of trust occurs with no previous issues then this can become toxic. It can be the first sign of a controlling relationship where a partner aims to manipulate you in a variety of ways.
Physical And Emotional Abuse
Signs of physical abuse are obvious but often excused. For instance, partners who are being abused will often claim that the person responsible was under a lot of pressure and that things had changed in their life. They could also blame themselves. However, it’s important to note that if your partner has hurt you in the past they likely will again because there is nothing stopping them. While physical confrontations can be due to anger or shock, a partner shouldn’t be forgiven unless they show signs of accepting accountability and a willingness to change their behavior for the better.
Emotional abuse is a little more abstract. It’s not always clear and you might not recognize it’s happening. Belittling can be a form of emotional abuse where a partner will chip away at your confidence, either intentionally or by accident. They could suggest that you don’t have the right body to wear certain clothing that you feel comfortable in or that you need to lose weight. They could try and control who you are friends with and distance you from people you don’t like or who don’t like you. Often this will occur because a partner either doesn’t have connections outside the relationship themselves or because they have a fear of being betrayed. If you are suffering from emotional abuse, it’s more likely it will be noticed by friends and family members.
It’s also possible that your partner doesn’t support you and doesn’t really give you the time you need. They might not support your professional endeavors or your personal goals. This could be because they are focused on themselves or because they don’t respect your goals and what you want to achieve. If you constantly feel alone in your relationship this might be because of your own emotional issues. Or, it could be because your partner just isn’t there for you when you need them.
What Can You Do?
Couples counseling or self counseling are one step you can take if you start to feel like your relationship might be toxic and doing more harm than good. Do be aware if you see a counselor, they will probably address issues that you haven’t noticed and assert blame in areas that you weren’t expected. It’s not uncommon for outside forces such as family to be putting pressure on your relationship and making a strong connection more of a challenge. The benefit of counseling is that you will be given support and mechanisms that you can use to strengthen your relationship.
Instead of speaking to a counselor, you might just want to try talking to your partner directly. Reach out to them and let them know that you’ve noticed problems in your relationship that need to be addressed. If they are dismissive then this might be a sign that it’s time to move past this relationship. If they try and throw blame, don’t immediately abandon ship. Moving the blame is a natural instinct and it’s to be expected. As long as they are willing to open a dialogue there’s always hope that you can move forward.
It’s hard to admit but signs of a toxic relationship could mean that you need to think about leaving your partner behind and moving forward in your life. This can be the case if there are serious issues or you are constantly having massive arguments. All couples argue but if it’s virtually daily and you can’t get through one week without a problem, that suggests there’s a serious issue here. There are a lot of things that can stop you from ending a relationship particularly if you are married. However, it’s worth noting that mediation can help you avoid a painful and difficult divorce, keeping things clean, easy and affordable.
Rekindle The Romance
Finally, if you are having issues in your relationship, then it might just be a case of trying to spend more time together and recapture the romance. A lot of people think that spending time always means dates and this can help. But just sitting down together, sharing a meal, or watching a movie can do wonders for your relationship too. Particularly with physical contact like holding hands or cuddles.
What other signs is there for a toxic relationship? Let me know in the comments below!