Did you know that nearly 90 percent of people believe that half of us experience a toxic relationship at some stage of our life?
But those people wrong about how widespread toxic relationships are? The evidence suggests that many of us are willing to tolerate and compromise in a relationship even if we’re not happy.
Around 60 percent of us stay in bad relationships that we don’t find fulfilling at all, according to the Daily Mail. However, there are many habits of a toxic relationship that many people think is normal.
Therefore, many of us could be involved in a toxic relationship without even knowing it. That’s seriously worrying, isn’t it?
That’s why it’s so important to know the signs of a toxic relationship. That way alarm bells start ringing when it’s time to get out there and leave. Keep reading to find out more about the signs you’re in a toxic relationship.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
With so many Hollywood romantic comedies and Victorian novels, many of us have unrealistic expectations for our relationships.
It’s important to remember that every relationship has highs and lows. If your relationship is too easy, you’re not doing it right. Yet just because you occasionally have a fight doesn’t mean that you’re in a toxic relationship.
So, where does the term originate?
The psychologist and author, Dr. Lillian Glass published a book in the mid-90s called “Toxic People“. She defined the toxic relationship as follows:
“Any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there are disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness”.
Yes, that’s a lot to unpack.
Even if your relationship starts off really healthy, there are many ways that it can descend into toxicity.
1. It’s Almost Always Bad
Do you look at happy couples are the time and wonder how it is for them?
If you’re in a toxic relationship you rarely experience moments of joy or pleasure with each another. It’s pretty much almost always bad.
But it’s easy to drift through life accepting that you have a bad relationship. But it doesn’t actually have to be this way. You need to show the strength and courage to recognise your relationship is unhealthy and toxic.
2. Extreme Ups and Downs
You might even find that sometimes things are actually going ok with the two of you. However, if you’re experiencing the volatility of extreme ups and downs, it’s probably not ok.
If you come home from work and don’t whether your partner is going to be really cheerful or whether they’re going to be upset and angry with you, it’s not the sign of a healthy partnership.
Research shows that relationships that have high levels of uncertainty are stressful and upsetting for those involved. Of course, your relationship doesn’t have to be happy all the time, but don’t let it spiral out of control.
3. Constant Passive Aggressive Behavior
Have you ever said “I’m only joking” when you weren’t actually really joking? If you find each other joking to make the other one feel bad, it’s not actually a joke.
Maybe, you sometimes say, “Oh, you’re with your friends every night at the moment.” You get used to catching each other out. Maybe you find a “gotcha” moment only fleetingly satisfying, but it’s a sign that your relationship is toxic.
Maybe occasional you say, “what’s going on with you?”. And the other one responses with “nothing, I’m fine”. But then, they hold against you that you don’t know what’s going on in their mind.
Even if you’re making mistakes, you need your partner to support you and share how they’re feeling about stuff. It’s not healthy to use every ounce of information to prove that the other one is a bad person.
4. It’s All One-Sided
Do you always have to be the one that says “sorry” first?
Are you the one that has to compromise?
Do you have to make the effort while they just expect you to be there all the time?
If your levels of commitment are not similar, your asymmetrical relationship probably isn’t going to last very long.
According to research, over 30 percent of total relationships are asymmetrical.
In heterosexual relationships, if the female partner has “weak commitment” the probability of breaking up is significantly high.
But before this happens, there’s usually a lot of pain and stress. You can sometimes avoid this by getting out of your toxic relationship early.
5. Lack of Meaningful Communication
Your relationship needs you to support each other. You need to be able to communicate with the other person in a meaningful manner.
Sometimes, you need to express your needs and wants to each other. You need validation about an insecurity or about your sexual urges.
If the other partner frequently neglects or makes fun of your needs, it’s a sign that you’re in a toxic relationship.
6. You Don’t Have Any Privacy
Every relationship requires a high degree of trust between each other. Over 10 percent of people in an unhappy marriage say the primary reason is a lack of space and privacy.
If your partner doesn’t trust you to go out with your friends or a session at the gym, that’s not a healthy relationship.
Have you ever found your partner searching through your messages on your phone? Have you ever caught your partner checking your receipts?
A healthy relationship needs to be built on the strong foundations of trust and honesty with each other.
6. Physical Violence
To many people, it’s probably obvious. If you’re in a relationship where your partner is physically violent towards you, it’s not healthy.
However, when you’re actually in the toxic relationship, sometimes it’s not so easy to identify when you’re being mistreating.
The truth is that nobody deserves to live with someone who physically abuses them.
And yet, around 25 percent of women experience domestic violence at some point during their lives. As a result of domestic violence, two women are murdered every year in the UK.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s important to leave and report your partner’s crimes.
7. You Can’t Say “No” Ever
Are you allowed to say “no” in your relationship?
It doesn’t matter how much you love the other person. You have to be able to say “no” to communicate your emotions.
Maybe you don’t want to have sex this evening? Or perhaps, you don’t want to go out tomorrow night?
If you’re in a healthy relationship, your partner will respect your answer. You can never always find agreement.
If your relationship only works when you say “yes” – it’s not actually working. You’re in a toxic relationship which you need to escape.
8. It’s Always About Them
You always need to be able to support the other person in times of trouble. This needs to be able to go both ways. Sometimes, you’re struggling with a problem at work. Or maybe, you’re grieving after losing a loved one.
If your partner always focuses on how they feel rather than you, it’s toxic. If you’re sick in bed. Maybe they’re concentrating on how it’s preventing them from going on holiday.
It doesn’t matter how bad things get for you. They always look at the situation with selfishness.
9. Lies on top of Lies
Did you know that over 10 percent of people lie to their significant other more than anyone else in the world?
Of course, we’re talking about lying. So, it’s probably a lot more than 10 percent.
In some cases, it’s ok to lie.
You say “it tastes delicious, really” even when the cake tastes disgusting. Or perhaps, “you look stunning” when they really don’t.
If you find yourself lying all the time, it’s a really dangerous sign for your relationship. If you think your partner is telling fibs, you need to confront them about it.
If the trust has broken between two people, it’s really difficult to rebuild. However, if you put up with a toxic relationship for too long, you’ll be broken too.
10. Decisions are Made Without You
You have to take decisions in your relationship all the time. Maybe you have to decide financial matters together. Or perhaps, it’s a decision about the other person’s career.
It’s important to understand that couples make decisions in different ways. However, if you constantly find that the decision that affects you is taken without you knowing, it’s a sign that your relationship has problems.
Couples that make important decisions together have been shown to be happier and healthier. If you’re never involved in the decisions, it suggests that your partner doesn’t respect your opinion or feelings.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Now you know the signs of a toxic relationship, you can avoid them when you see them. And if you discover that you’re already in one – get out of there!
That’s how you can make sure you enjoy a happy and healthy relationship where respect and love are always shown.
Would you like to find out more about our relationships tips and advice? Check out our blog on relationships today!