Toxic relationships creep up on you. When the relationship is new, everything is great. Then one day it dawns on you you’re happier when he’s not there – one of the signs of a toxic relationship. Each relationship is unique, but if any of these signs apply to your relationship, think carefully about what you should do next. Is this how you want to live your life?

Walking on Eggshells

In a toxic relationship, there’s often a sense of unpredictability. He walks in the door and everything seems fine until you say or do the “wrong” thing. You’re not always sure just what set him off, but something did. He may start a long recital of all your “faults.” He may get angry, but not physically violent – although in the worst cases, that can happen. You’re afraid to express your opinions because of how he might react.

As time goes on, it’s normal for the abused partner – and this is definitely abuse even if he never raises a hand to you – to become a shadow of the person they once were. Saying nothing seems safer.


In a toxic relationship, there is often a controlling partner and a submissive partner. Sarcastic and belittling comments about your appearance, your weight, your friends, your cooking, your intelligence – about anything, actually – are controlling. The submissive partner tries to change in hopes of seeing an increasingly rare sign of approval.

Control can be very obvious, such as forbidding you to do things or gradually cutting you off from friends and family. Control can also be more subtle, using rare approval or affection to control your behavior.

Fighting Dirty

All couples fight. In a good relationship, the couple has learned to disagree or fight on issues without poisoning the relationship. In a toxic relationship, fighting is all about winning. When either or both say things to purposely hurt the other person, that’s toxic. If the fighting is frequent and leaves you feeling emotionally drained, it’s not healthy.

It’s possible for a toxic relationship to change, but takes serious work from both. This doesn’t usually happen. It takes strength and courage to end a toxic relationship, but that may be the only way to live the life you deserve.

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