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Some signs of toxic relationships are easy to identify. Constant infidelity or domestic abuse, for instance, are signs that your relationship is beyond unhealthy. Other signs of dysfunction, however, are less often acknowledged. Many of these behaviors are dismissed as "normal" relationship problems despite their apparent toxicity.
Are you engaged in a toxic romance? If these warning signs speak to you, it may be time to reconsider your relationship.
1.) You're always walking on eggshells and feeling guilty.
Does your partner blow up at you every time he or she encounters a minor problem? Do you feel afraid to bring up uncomfortable topics out of fear of backlash? Does your partner make snide "jokes" or guilt-trip you on a regular basis? Behaviors such as these are signs of an unhealthy relationship. Whether your partner has anger issues or a penchant for passive-aggressiveness, these behaviors will swiftly poison your relationship. Feelings of guilt and an inability to freely discuss important issues will ultimately hinder your ability to communicate in a healthy manner. Being able to discuss issues calmly and without fear is a sign of a stronger partnership.
2.) Your fights are dirty and never seem to reach a resolution.
Even the most serene couples find themselves embroiled in the occasional spat or disagreement. Though some argumentation can actually strengthen a relationship, loud, vicious fights are almost never a good sign. One particularly toxic behavior is name-calling. Apologies after an argument are no excuse for berating your partner with a slew of vulgarities. Personal attacks such as these only fan the flames of conflict. If your disagreements always end with you or your partner storming off in a fit of rage, you may need to reevaluate the communication techniques in your relationship. If disrespect or deep resentments are fueling these behaviors, your relationship may be at stake.
3.) Your partner tries to make you jealous or is constantly jealous of you.
Many of us have been socially programmed to view jealousy as something romantic. A possessive, jealous lover may seem protective and caring at first; in the long run, however, these behaviors often become toxic and controlling. Manipulative behaviors, such as preventing you from visiting family or getting a coffee with friends, often result from this unhealthy jealousy. In a strong relationship, trust reigns supreme; both partners are free to do things and see people without fear.
A partner who strives to make you jealous is just as toxic. A lover who flirts with others may just be trying to get your attention. This behavior, however, is sure to lead to many unwanted feelings. A mature partner won't intentionally evoke feelings of bitterness and spite. Those who do will ultimately wear away at your trust and contentment.
4.) You're constantly "keeping score."
Does she always mention that time you made a fool of yourself at a cocktail party in 1999? Does he always bring up the fact that he worked overtime when you were let go during the recession? "Keeping score" of your partner's struggles and mistakes is a behavioral pattern that could destroy your relationship. Every time you resurrect these ghosts from the past, you reawaken dormant feelings of anger, shame, and regret, leading to further arguments and conflict. The past cannot be changed. If you claim to have forgiven your partner, act like it. If you and your partner truly haven't resolved a certain issue, discuss it. Reviving old conflicts merely to protect your pride is a detrimental habit that will damage your relationship.
5.) Your friends and family aren't comfortable with your partner.
Most of us want to believe that we know our partners better than anyone else. Unfortunately, love can blind us to our partner's faults. Being close to someone can condition us to their behaviors and personality, making certain habits seem normal even when they aren't. This is why it can be good to compare your impressions of your partner to those of your close family members and friends. If you feel your partner is doting but your best friend thinks he's controlling, it may be wise to keep an eye on your partner's behavior. Though it's certainly possible that your friends have the wrong impression of your partner, it is more likely that they've identified something you're unable to see. If multiple friends and family members feel uncomfortable with your partner's behavior, their opinions just might reflect the truth.
If you're questioning the healthiness of your relationship, reflect on what your instincts are telling you. If you feel stressed, guilty, fearful, or exhausted by your relationship, it may be time to make a change. Listen to your heart and your gut. Find a relationship where you feel happy and valued.
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