We’ve talked about toxic friendships in the past, and those can be a real mind-bender. But what if your toxic relationship is of the romantic kind? Your boyfriend or girlfriend, the one who is supposed to make you feel special? Warning: a toxic relationship will contaminate your self-esteem, your happiness, the way you see yourself and the world.

Unfortunately, sometimes all the signs are there – and everyone can see but you. My poor friends tried to tell me for along time that things weren’t right in my relationship, but I clung steadfastly, forcing it to carry on. Until one day, when the scales finally fell from my eyes and I realised I deserved so much better.

Don’t get it twisted though. In a toxic relationship, signs don’t need to be as obvious as infidelity or violence – if either of these occur you need to get yourself out of the situation, stat. Usually there are much more subtle signs that something’s just not right between you and your partner.

Need a helping hand? Here’s what to look out for:-

Sign 1: You’re always in the wrong

No matter what you do, or how carefully you tread on those eggshells, you always seem to crack them. Does your partner delight in telling you what you’ve done wrong, and criticising your thoughts and actions? If you’re holding things back because you’re scared of a bad reaction, please recognise that this isn’t healthy. You aren’t the problem.

Sign 2: Hostile atmosphere

Feeling nervous, uncomfortable or tense around someone is your body reacting to the negative energy surrounding the two of you. Negativity can drain you mentally, physically and emotionally. If you’re feeling tense and unwell around the person you’re supposed to feel elated around, surely it’s best to walk away?

Sign 3: Constant arguments and keeping score

Don’t get me wrong, a little bicker is healthy and can sometimes be a positive thing in a relationship. However, if you’re arguing ALL the time, or your SO is raising past wrongdoings to create guilt and bitterness from the past to manipulate you into feeling bad in the present, you need to reconsider your partner.

Sign 4: Jealousy

We’re all only human, so some jealousy may happen on some level. But, excessive jealousy is never okay. If you don’t have trust in a relationship, you literally have nothing worth holding on to. I always say this: trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair. The warning signs here are if you know you’ve done nothing to warrant jealousy, but you’re constantly being asked where you’ve been, or who you’ve been speaking to for example. There are many reasons for jealousy, but one of them can be controlling behaviour, so be wary.

Sign 5: Escalation?

All of these behaviours are fixable to a point, but by the same token, they can all develop and become dangerous. Staying ‘woke’ in your relationship can really help to ensure you don’t fall any deeper into a situation than could have a real impact on your wellbeing.

Having spent time in a toxic relationship before, I need to tell you that life is too short to spend your life with someone who makes you feel bad. Nothing is truly perfect, but that’s no excuse for wasting your time. It’s better to be happy alone than with someone who makes you feel unhappy.

If you need some extra support with your relationship, make sure to get in touch with The Spark who can help you via their counselling service or helpline.


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