Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
New relationships are always exciting. You’re still feeling butterflies after your first few dates and you can’t stop talking to or thinking about each other. Everything about your new love interest seems like the most interesting and wonderful thing in the world, and you can’t wait to learn more about them.
After some time, though, that “honeymoon phase” passes, and you and your partner begin to see each other for who you really are. As you each reveal your quirks and idiosyncrasies, you’ll likely find small ways that you and your partner simply don’t align.
Sometimes you can live with those things – maybe he’s more disorganized than you are, or she likes TV shows you think are terrible. But if those misalignments lead to serious arguments and recurring emotional issues, you might be in a toxic relationship.
Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship
Of course, there are some obvious signs that your relationship is unhealthy, such as cheating, lying, and physical or sexual violence. But other signs only reveal themselves over time, and you may not recognize them right away.
According to Psychology Today, here are a few red flags that may indicate that you and your partner have a toxic relationship:
You can’t rely on each other for emotional support. In unhealthy relationships, partners don’t seek emotional comfort or support in each other. In fact, they may try to cut each other off from their support networks of friends and family. One partner may be unsure of how reliable the other would be in a dire situation, like a health crisis or family emergency.
You’re defensive and dismissive of each other’s feelings. In arguments, toxic partners rarely listen to or validate each other’s points of view. Instead, each insists they are “right” and may write each other off as “crazy” or “irrational.” These partners often automatically respond with a defensive stance, and in some cases, may refuse to have important relationship conversations at all.
You’re critical of each other. Toxic partners actively seek to demean, belittle, criticize, nitpick, or otherwise tear their partner down, especially to others. This leaves one or both partners feeling like they aren’t “good enough,” and may cause them to question their self-worth. These partners may also compare each other unfavorably to other people, prey on each other’s insecurities, or make fun of each other in malicious ways.
You’re a negative influence on each other. People in toxic relationships can identify negative habits they’ve picked up from their partners, like drinking, smoking, or laziness. Conversely, they are unable to see ways in which their partner has made them a better person.
Sound familiar? You may need to take a good, hard look at your relationship. If you and your partner can’t discuss and resolve these issues in a mature, rational way, you need to have the courage to walk away.
Moving On After A Toxic Relationship
Dealing with any breakup is hard, especially if you and your partner lived together. It can be difficult and painful to untangle your life together – and if your relationship was already toxic, this sensitive and emotionally-charged situation might add more fuel to the fire. But once you’re past that step, it’s time to pick yourself up and move forward with your life.
It’s important to take care of yourself and allow yourself to grieve the relationship in healthy, productive ways. For example, you shouldn’t deal with a breakup by posting negative comments about your ex on social media, or talking about them behind their back to untrustworthy friends. Instead, focus on positive interactions and activities that will make you feel confident and cared for.
When the next person comes along, you’ll be wiser and more self-assured, and you’ll know what to look for so you can avoid another toxic relationship.