If you're reading this because you feel like you may be in a toxic relationship, that should be your first clue to whether or not you are actually in one. If you're reading articles about whether or not you're in a toxic relationship, you're probably in one. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Relationships are full of ups and downs and just because you're down and you can't expect it to be perfect all of the time. If both people in the relationship are dedicated to making the relationship work, you should be able to make it through the hard times. However, if the other person is not invested in the relationship and you are, you are going to feel burnt out very quickly.
While the relationship may have been perfect and wonderful in the beginning, those butterflies go away eventually. But just because the butterflies are gone doesn't mean that the relationship is doomed. The infatuation you feel for your partner (and your partner feels for you) in the beginning of the relationship should be replaced some things which are much more rewarding and fulfilling: love, trust, commitment, and support. However, not all of us are so lucky. Sometimes when the butterflies are gone, the relationship can start to take a turn for the worst but it's hard to let go of something that you've invested so much time in. Still, if you find yourself in a toxic relationship, you should get out before it gets worse because if your partner isn't making your relationship a priority, things are only going to get worse. Answer these sixteen questions and if you answer "yes" to six or more, you may be in a toxic relationship. Take some time to read each section to truly determine if your relationship is toxic or you're just going through a rough patch.
16Do You Feel You Have To Hide Things From Them?
So you're in a relationship and you feel like you have subdued aspects of your personality--does that mean you're in a toxic relationship? Not necessarily. There could be parts of yourself that you should try to subdue such as a bad temper or a tendency to over-think everything. By subduing these negative qualities, you are actually helping yourself just as much as your partner because it means that you are growing and becoming the kind of person who you want to be. Remember, you should never try to compare yourself to others, just compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. However, if you feel like you can't be honest, can't share your feelings, and can't be your actual self, it means that your partner is causing you to subdue your positive qualities--the qualities that make you who you are. If your partner makes you feel like you can't be true to yourself, you may be in a toxic relationship.
15Do You Feel Drained After Spending Time With Them?
In the beginning of a relationship, it feels like you can never spend enough time with your partner and you would be more than happy to spend all day every day with them. However, those feelings don't last forever and when you've been in a relationship for awhile, you may find yourself wanting to spend more time alone. Just because you need some alone time doesn't mean that you're in a toxic relationship. However, you may be in a toxic relationship if you feel drained of energy after you hang out with your partner. There are a lot of different ways that a person can drain you and it can be emotional, physically, or spiritually but you will feel it if it happens. When you spend time with your partner, take mental notes of how it makes you feel. If you regularly have miscommunications and argue frequently, your partner could be doing more harm than good to your overall self. Does being with them make you energized or exhausted?
14Do They Make You Feel Bad About Yourself?
If your partner doesn't say that you're pretty or beautiful or that you look nice every moment of every day, it's not the end of the world--in fact, you're better off. You shouldn't feel bad about yourself just because your partner has gone the whole day without commenting on your looks. Confidence should come from within and if you base it on someone else's opinion, you will never be able to hold onto that sense of confidence. However, your partner should be attracted to you and they should know to remind you that you are not only attractive on the outside but they should also comment on your good inner qualities as well. If they make you feel insecure about your body or your personality, why even bother with them? You deserve to be with someone who builds you up, not tears you down.
13Do They Do Things That Make You Jealous?
Some people are naturally more jealous than others and if you're one of the people who struggle with jealousy, it's important to be introspective enough to realize it and diligent enough to change it. Jealousy is like a disease that will eat you up inside if you don't do something about it. If you are generally. jealous, take a moment to think about whether or not your partner is taking advantage of that and doing things that they know will make you jealous in order to play with your emotions. But say you're not a naturally jealous person and your partner is doing things that make you jealous such as liking photos of an ex-girlfriend on Instagram or being coy about who he hangs out with and where he goes. He could be doing this because he wants to get a rise out of you or maybe he just doesn't want to answer to anyone--regardless of why he's making you jealous, this is not the kind of person who you deserve. You deserve better.
12Do You Feel Your Relationship Is At A Stand-Still?
Some people say that relationships have to keep moving or they die but how fast should you be moving? What do you do if your relationship has become stagnant over time? How do you even know if it is stagnant? Maybe you've been dating for a year or two and you feel pressure to move in together but you're not sure if you're ready for it. Maybe you've been living together for years and you feel like you should get married but he hasn't popped the question. Everyone has a different timeline and you shouldn't compare your relationship timeline to anyone else's. Still, if you get to the point where you feel like you need to move forward or breakup, it's usually best to break up. Maybe you feel like you're too old to find someone else or you should just get married because all of your friends are getting married--if you feel like you need to push your relationship along even though your heart isn't in it, it might be time to move on.
11Do You Fight Frequently?
In any relationship, arguments and disagreements are bound to pop up. That's just a part of life. However, how you handle these situations is what defines your relationship. If you feel like every time you have a disagreement with your partner, it blows up into a fight, you obviously aren't in a very healthy relationship. This is something that can be remedied, however, as long as both partners are motivated to make a change in order to improve the relationship. Though if you feel like you cannot even communicate this without getting into a fight, you are probably in a toxic relationship. If you can, take time to speak with your partner about what is really at the heart of your arguments. Maybe they are going through a hard time at work or they're struggling with anxiety or depression--once you get the root of the problem, it will be easier to fix. However, if you have been physically or emotionally abused by your partner, you should get out as soon as possible. Remember, happy couples have an occasional fight but they also take responsibility for their words actions no matter how angry they feel.
10Are There Things About Them You Wish Would Change?
There are little things at the beginning of a relationship that may not seem like a big deal and you're willing to write them off--but those little things can become big things later down the road. For example, maybe they don't like to go out on the weekends and you do, maybe they don't get along with one of your friends, or perhaps they love Italian food but you're allergic to gluten. There are some things that you can learn to live with and then there are other things that can slowly but surely undermine a relationship over time. Do you find yourself wishing that your partner would change aspects of their behavior or personality? Do you wish your partner would spend less time watching TV or playing video games? Do you dislike your partner's friends and wish they would make friends who are more mature? Do you wish you could spend less time with their family? Take some time to think about whether or not you even like the person you're dating. The things that you really don't like about them will eventually destroy the relationship--especially if you never talk about them.
9Do They Avoid Making The Effort To Do Things You Like?
Let's say there's a movie that you really want to see but your partner has no interest in or there's a topic that you're really into but your partner doesn't take the time to listen to you talk about it. These are just a few examples of things that are toxic in a relationship. Of course, you don't want to force your partner to do or care about things that they have no interest in but they should at least try to care about it or even just listen to you talk about it or even learn about it because it makes you happy. If your partner doesn't want to take the time to meet your friends, spend time with your family, or listen to you talk about your thoughts and feelings--why even bother with them? You deserve to be with someone who is interested in what you are interested in because they love you. If they are actively avoiding the things that make you who you are, you could be in a toxic relationship.
8Do They Avoid Talking About the Future?
You've been in a relationship with your partner for awhile and you're ready to start talking about where the relationship is going, what they want their futures to look like, and whether or not they see you in their future at all. It's important to know your partner's thoughts on important things such as marriage, kids, careers, etc. because you should know if you feel the same way about those things. However, every time you try to talk to your partner about these things, they change the subject or simply clam up. It's possible that they just don't feel comfortable to talk about these things and you should respect that but there comes a time in the relationship where those subjects need to be discussed. It's possible that they may be coy about their future plans because they're not ready to take the next step but they don't want to lose you either. It's not fair for them to keep you as a placeholder in their life. If they're not sure they see you in their future, you should know about it.
7Do They Keep Score?
This is one of the most toxic habits in a relationship and its toxicity will spread through your relationship like a disease until it's dead. Partners can "keep score" by constantly keeping track of your mistakes and transgressions even after you've apologized. When a partner is keeping score, they will remind their partner of a time when they screwed up years ago right after they, themselves, screwed up in order to avoid any sense of responsibility. Say you caught your partner sending flirtatious texts to another person and you confront them and then they turn it around and remind you of a time when you were being flirtatious to someone at a party two years ago. This is toxic because there is never any forgiveness or conflict management and each partner is allowed to justify their wrongdoings until the relationship is in shambles.
6Are They Holding the Relationship Hostage?
It is actually possible to not only hold a relationship hostage but to also blackmail the other person by threatening to end the relationship if their partner doesn't change their behavior to suit their own needs or desires. It is perfectly normal for your partner to bring up things that you do that may make them feel unappreciated or ignored and you should be able to work through these problems with grace and honesty. However, if they are holding the relationship hostage, your partner won't be gracious about these things. Instead, they will say something like, "I can’t date someone who doesn't have time for me," or, "I don't want to be with someone who too emotional." By doing this, they are playing with your emotions and causing you to think that they will leave you if you don't change your personality to meet their needs. Obviously, if someone does this to you, they don't care about you as much as they say they do.
5Are They Passive Aggressive?
Some people have a tendency to be passive aggressive but that does not necessarily mean that they are toxic. Nobody's perfect and this could be one area where your partner falls short. If this is the case, you should be able to confront them about this and talk through it. Relationships need to be tended to like a garden, if you ignore things that need to be done in hopes that it will get better, your relationship will end up withering away. However, maybe your partner is doing things and saying things in order to push your buttons or to push you to do something that you don't want to do or that you don't feel comfortable doing. This is a major red flag. Your partner should feel comfortable with expressing themselves and communicating with you plainly and if they continue you to do this even after you talk through it with them, it's best to cut your losses.
4Do They Expect You To Fix Them Emotionally?
You are not responsible for a person's emotional well-being and any mature and independent person should fix their own emotional issues without the help of someone else because you are not going to always be around to help them through their problems. This doesn't mean that you can never help your partner through a hard time but it does mean that they should not rely on you to fix their problems. You're not their mother, after all. Let's say your partner had a bad day and they expect you to drop everything to comfort them and if you don't do that, they condemn you for "not being there for them." Obviously, you should not ignore your partner's problems but if they expect you to fix everything for them, they are never going to grow. A relationship should be two people who want to grow together and they should never make you feel like you need to fix them. Over time, this will develop codependent tendencies which can be incredibly toxic.
3Are There Problems When It Comes to Intimacy?
Intimacy does not just mean physical intimacy. There are many different forms of intimacy such as emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and experiential. Do you feel like your partner is keeping secrets from you and/or not able to open up about their past experiences? They should be able to share their joy and pain with you and if they can't, you may be experiencing a lack of emotional intimacy which can slowly but surely destroy a relationship. You can experience a lack of experiential intimacy by not spending enough quality time with your partner. You should never feel like you have to spend every moment of every day with your partner but you should be able to have experiences together that strengthen your bond. There are all different kinds of intimacy that you should be able to enjoy with your partner and if you don't nourish those different forms of intimacy, the relationship can be ultimately unfulfilling.
2Are They Peacekeepers To A Fault?
It is important to be able to keep the peace in your life and your relationships but it is possible to go overboard when it comes to peacekeeping. Maybe your partner is so concerned about keeping the relationship peaceful that they don't ever want to bring up their own emotions or feelings in fear that they may upset the balance of the relationship. This may be a noble thought but it is a habit that become toxic over time because it means that your partner is unable to communicate their feelings with you which may lead to resentment later on down the road. If they feel like they need to keep important thoughts and feelings to themselves in order to prevent an argument, those things will keep the two of you from developing a strong emotional connection. Your partner should always feel comfortable to graciously tell you if they have a problem with something that you do or how you make them feel so that you can grow in your relationship together and talk through problems like adults.
1Do Your Friends and Family Express Concerns?
If your family or friends are expressing doubt or concern about your partner, this should tell you something. Of course, family members and friends don't always have our best interests at heart but, if you're lucky, you have people in your life who truly care about you and want what's best for you. If your family spends time with your partner and they tell you that they have doubts, you shouldn't immediately write them off. Sure, they could be wrong but you should invite that kind of honesty in your life because the people in our lives can provide insight into our relationships that we just can't see ourselves. If your friends don't like your partner and don't like spending time with them, hear them out. If your partner is telling you things like your friends don't really care about you and/or your family doesn't understand, they could be trying to disconnect you from the people in your life so that they can gain control of the relationship and your life. Of course, this is the worst case scenario, but if you are worried that you are in a toxic relationship, it's something that you should be wary of.
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