6 Simple Ways To Recognize A Toxic Relationship

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Have you ever wondered whether your or anyone else’s relationship was toxic?

Most of the time when something bothers us in a relationship, we tend to conclude we should stop asking too much of our partner. We’re only humans after all, right? Sometimes it’s true and we’re just overthinking it. 

But what if those doubts and questions keep coming back over and over again, and what if they’re always about the same things? 

I’ll share with you 6 signs that will help you figure out whether you’re being afraid or upset for no reason or if your instinct is trying to tell you something. 

Something that sounds like: “This relationship is toxic, admit it and do us a favor: run away!” 


Do you think about someone in particular? 

As simple as it seems, if you ask yourself whether a relationship with someone in particular is toxic or not, I’m telling you, you already have your answer. That was easy right?… I’m kidding of course.

But there’s definitely something wrong. Otherwise you wouldn’t even ask yourself the question. You might, for the sake of the exercise, but you’d instantly drop it because even considering it would be seriously far-fetched. 

Remember “whenever there’s any doubt, there is no doubt”. It doesn’t mean you should pack your bags and leave straight away, but those doubts need to be faced and dealt with.

Don’t ignore them and don’t give yourself or your partner an excuse to sweep it under the carpet. 

anxious woman sitting and biting her fingernails

You’re being a people pleaser 

When you’re with him, do you feel free to play the kind of music you like, choose the movie you’re both going to watch on Sunday or disagree with him about any kind of topic ? 

In other words, can you be yourself without trying to please him or being afraid to upset him? Say you’re having a drink with some friends. Then 2. Then 3. You feel a bit tipsy. You want to order another one because you’re having a great time but you start having second thoughts. Does your inner voice say you should go back home instead because you want to feel good tomorrow, or because your boyfriend wouldn’t appreciate it? 

It makes a huge difference. 

If you prevent yourself from doing certain things that would make you feel good because your partner would disagree with your behaviour, if you go against your will because you’re afraid of his judgement or reaction, it’s very likely that this relationship has a deeply negative impact on you.

I’ll give you a simple but great tool you can use to assess whether you’re “misbehaving” or not. Mentally reverse the situation. What would you think if he was the one doing that?
If you really wouldn’t mind, or would even sincerely be happy for him, then you should feel free to do it. It’s as simple as that. 

The big difference is whether you make decisions based on your own system of values, or if you stop being yourself because your partner “knows better” than you what’s right or wrong. Not only dulling your sparkle is not going to make you feel happy and fulfilled; it will never make anyone fall in love with you, trust me, guys break up with girls they like for stupid reasons. This isn’t different.


Your energy levels decrease 

Think about how you feel after you see or call that person. Focus on your energy level, your self confidence and willingness to go and achieve your goals after you had an interaction with your partner. Are those indicators higher or lower than a few minutes, hours or days before? 

Now imagine you’re going to meet your best friend 5 minutes after an interaction with your partner. Would you have to take a deep breath and gather some energy to smile, be friendly and pretend everything’s fine? Or would you be excited and light up with joy and enthusiasm as if you just got an injection of liquid happiness? 

As simple as they may seem, these questions will help you assess whether this relationship is likely to lift you up or bring you down. A healthy relationship should make you feel peaceful and self-confident, otherwise, there’s a strong chance it’s toxic. Some relationships are not worth having.


exhausted woman lying on her bad and holding her head with both hands

Desperate efforts and sacrifices 

Imagine there’s something wrong with your relationship and you think it could be fixed with a few compromises and efforts. You thoroughly identify them and define an action plan. Before you start implementing it, I’ll give you another simple yet very powerful tool to assess how likely it is to work out. And work well. 

When you picture yourself or your partner making those efforts and concessions, how does it feel? If it somehow feels painful, I’d recommend you to think twice about it, because it shouldn’t cross your mind in that way. 

It would be fair to call it a sacrifice or say it was hard afterwards, but if it feels that way before you even started, I bet not only will it be hard, but it also won’t work. 

Do whatever feels good, natural and simple to improve your relationship with your partner, but don’t go against your will or who you are in order to save a relationship. Trust me.

You’re not a bad person if you refuse to make certain sacrifices. 

Sometimes it’s just not worth it, sometimes a relationship just needs to end, and later on everyone including yourself will thank you for understanding that at the moment.


Making excuses 

“I know it makes me feel bad when he does that, but you know, he does that because…” 

Do you regularly try to justify to your friends and family things your partner does that somehow hurts you? Are you doing your best to explain why “it’s not his fault”? Do you feel slightly or very uncomfortable when you’re doing it?


woman looking at herself in the mirror with a look of hope

First simple truth: if there was nothing for you to worry about, you wouldn’t even be talking about it or feeling that discomfort. Second truth: keeping on justifying your partner’s behavior won’t solve anything. It will just make you feel guilty and lame, and it will push the boundaries of what you’re willing to accept a little bit more day after day.

Go and talk with your partner, work on yourself to be ok with this behavior or break up, but do something about it, because you are in a toxic situation.


Have you climbed a mountain lately? 

Last but definitely not least, we’ll look at the facts. 

Take a moment to think about what you’ve achieved since you met your partner. Has this relationship empowered you? Has it given you the strength and self-confidence to do things you wouldn’t have done before and you’re proud of doing now? 

If your relationship is everything but toxic, then you should be more daring than ever before. If it’s not the way you feel, there’s two options: either your partner doesn’t prevent you from doing great things, he just doesn’t help you to do so, or you’re letting this relationship lower your willingness to achieve your goals and make it harder for your light to shine. 

Closing thoughts 

Before I leave you to your thoughts, I’d like you to keep 3 things in mind. 

First -Taking responsibility for your actions or lack of action will help you a thousand times more than blaming others or giving yourself excuses. It’s hard, but it’s true. 

Second -Nothing is permanent. Every second, every minute, every day, it’s up to you to decide what your life is like, who you are with and how you deal with a relationship. 

Third -You are the most important person in your life, so live for yourself first and don’t waste your time and energy in worthless or toxic relationships.