Relationships are tough. There will always be ups and downs, but how are you supposed to know what’s normal? How can you tell if your partner is just going through a rough time, or if they’re actually toxic? I’ve done a bit of dating in my time, and unfortunately, the majority of it wasn’t good. The thing is, when I was in a toxic relationship, I had NO IDEA. I thought the stuff I went through with my partner was normal. So, time after time, I dated people who were extremely toxic for me, because I thought that a person with the quality of toxicity was my “type”. It took years of defending my choice of boyfriend to everyone around me before I realized it was wrong. That toxic relationships exist, and that I had a bad habit of finding myself in them.
**This will be separated into 2 posts because it is important and i’d like to be able to talk about each point a bit**
1. Trying to Isolate You
If your special someone in your life can’t handle you having any other friends, run away. This could easily be played off as a joke by saying things like, “I just want you all to myself”, but if it actually effects your relationship with your friends, it’s toxic.
Now, hear me say that your romantic relationship will always have an effect on your friendships. When you become involved with someone, your whole world will change. However, just because you spend less time with your friends to make room for the person you’re dating does not mean they are isolating you. Isolation looks like jealously, anger, and fits when you spend time with other people.
I broke up with my first real (and very toxic) boyfriend because every time I hung out with my best friend, he would go INSANE. Which, after 6 months, I finally realized was an issue.
2. They Don’t Respect You.
Oh my goodness. The amount of relationships I see these days where the woman has no respect is unbelievable. This isn’t always based on gender though. If your person is always concerned about themselves (see narcissistic), and never about you, well that certainly is a problem.
I have a theory, that the single most important thing a relationship must have is mutual respect. Yes, more important than love. I know, it’s a crazy thought. You can’t always make things work because you love each other- though I did used to believe that love conquers all. However, mutual RESPECT will get you through anything. The key word being mutual.
3. You Are Not a Priority (But They are for You)
Not feeling prioritized is a huge red flag. Relationships are two-way streets. No, you cannot put in all the effort so that your partner doesn’t have to do anything. It just doesn’t work that way. That’s called parenthood. Ever heard the quote, “If a man wants to be with you, he will be”, or something along those lines? Same goes for women. If someone truly wants to be with you, you will know based on the effort they put into their relationship with you.
4. You Can’t Talk About Issues Without Fighting
Actually, you can’t talk about anything without fighting. Seriously, if you feel the need to walk on eggshells around your partner to avoid conflict, that’s bad. If simple conversations like where you’re going to eat, what you did today, or what you liked about that movie turns into an argument, then what’s the point? You should be in a relationship with someone because you enjoy talking to them about things. Things that you can’t talk with other people. Having hard conversations is part of being in a relationship. If you can’t even talk about what restaurant you’re going to, how can you talk about important things: sharing finances, having kids, raising kids, job changes, family issues, marriage, etc.
5. Double Standards
YOU can’t go out on Friday nights, but he can. He needs his boy’s night. She needs to meet your friends, but you can’t meet hers. They always need to know what you’re doing, but always keep their whereabouts a secret. They can flirt with others and it’s harmless, when you do it its cheating. You can’t have friends of the opposite sex, but they can! My ex’s best friend was a girl, and got insanely jealous when I talked to another guy. He had sleepovers in the same bed as her (I lived with my strict christian parents so I couldn’t even do that with him). He also moved in with is ex-girlfriend. He made me feel insane to be jealous. Yet I couldn’t even look at another guy, or he had to know every detail.
6. They Make You Feel Like You Need Them
Oh my gosh. This is the worst. Don’t let people do things for you with the wrong intentions. Make sure you can take care of yourself. An example would be someone driving you everywhere, because you don’t have a car. Now, temporarily, this is okay. But if its consistent or if they hold it over your head, that’s a serious issue. If they say things implying that you need them, or threaten to not do something, like drive you, that’s manipulation. If one person overly depends on another in a relationship, it’s unhealthy. Relationships should be mutually beneficial.
I put this one at the end because I’d like to spend a little time on it. If you want an entire post dedicated to gaslighting, let me know in the comments.
Gaslighting, by definition is, “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”
Gaslighting is the worst kind of manipulation in my opinion, the guilty party makes the innocent one feel guilty and crazy for being right. 99% of the time if you feel like something is up, it is. If you can’t trust your partner, or if they make you feel insecure and unsure of yourself, get tf out. Relationships should add to your happiness and confidence, not take away from it. Always remember to put yourself first, your happiness should not be the cost of your partner’s happiness. Your well-being is not the price of your partner’s comfort. You are amazing and deserve someone who can both see that, and treat you like you are. You are a MFing queen (or king), and anyone who can’t see that isn’t worthy to date you.
The most obvious and common instance is cheating. If the man is cheating, and the woman questions him, he may call her crazy. If she asks about his relationship with another female, he’ll call her paranoid. If she asks where he was last night, he’ll tell her to stop stalking him. Other words are possessive, insane, clingy, insecure, jealous, etc.
Like I mentioned on #5, I once had a boyfriend who had a female best friend. They had been best. friends for years, he told me at the beginning he wouldn’t abandon her for a relationship (they had history of his toxic ex). That was fine with me. She was funny and very outgoing. The problem was, they would spend the night together all the time. They would drink and do drugs together, sleep in the same bed, when I was uncomfortable he would remind me that he wouldn’t abandon her. I never asked him to, I just wanted a little respect. Of course, all his friends were on his side. He called me clingy, crazy, manipulative, and made all of his friends hate me.
Then it got worse. His toxic ex, whom he told me he had blocked (not at my request), left her parents house. They started living together at their friend’s house (it was more of a crack house I guess..) And then I got really uncomfortable. I also found out that he had been the one to drive 30minutes to get her. And now they were sleeping in the same room. He also had told me he couldn’t resist her sexually. I was going insane over this, meanwhile he was hurling insults at me. Telling me she had nowhere to go, that nothing was going on, he was just helping her. After he dumped me, he brought her on a date into the coffee shop where I worked- and gave me a panic attack. This resulted in me getting fired because it was so bad I couldn’t work the rest of my shift. He did it on a dare, just to mess with me. He had that much power over me emotionally, and I never should have let him.
So if your partner often makes you feel small, crazy, insecure, or like you’re the reason you can’t trust them, that’s gaslighting. If there’s nothing to hide, they won’t mind showing you everything. I’m not saying go through your partner’s phone every day. But if you get to the point where you feel so uncomfortable that you need to, there should be no issue (if you ask. don’t do it behind their back).
Still Don’t Know?
If you’re still unsure, here’s a tip: make a list of the positive and negative things you are getting out of the relationship. Rate each thing on a scale of 1 to 5, and add up the points on each side. This is because if you simply count the things, you might stay with a guy who’s terrible because he buys you lunch sometimes. Don’t use one time events either! Ex: he bought me flowers that one time…
Come up with at least 5 on each side. If the score comes out even or negative… maybe look into why you’re together. Here’s an example.
|4||open with each other||always busy||-3|
|3||good sex||never pays $$$||-4|
|1||foot massages||hates my friends||-5|
|2||parents love them||doesn’t want kids||-4|
|4||makes me laugh||can be stubborn||-1|
I made this list of some of the most obvious things that are not okay in a relationship. It by all means doesn’t cover every single aspect of a toxic relationship. Let me tell you something: if you found yourself reading this list, either defending your partner or telling yourself “Yeah but…*insert defense here*”, then you’re probably in a toxic relationship. Although these things may seem obvious to some, when they actually take place in your relationship it can be hard to recognize. It may sound cliche, but some things are cliche because they’re right- given some time, things will get better.
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