We recently surveyed more than 100 YourTango Experts and discovered that 89% of them felt that half (or more!) of all people are in toxic relationships. So we asked them, "What are the most common, telltale signs of a toxic relationship?" Topping their list of responses was "you spend more time fighting than enjoying each other," with a whopping 82% of the vote.
But that's not the only sign of a toxic relationship. Here are nine more:
1. He seems hostile — a lot. Is he/she angry a lot of the time? If you feel you are living with a lot of tension, feeling stressed and not able to express yourself the way you want, your relationship is not healthy for you. You want to feel the safety and security to express your authentic self. —Dr. Marian Stansbury
2. He puts me down. Does your significant other criticize or demean you? Are you on edge much of the time because you feel that you can't please your partner or do anything right? Does he/she make fun of you or criticize you in public, in front of friends or family? Does he/she act superior towards you or mock you? These are all warning signs of an unhappy, dysfunctional relationship. —Dr. Marian Stansbury
3. Is he avoiding me? Does it seem he doesn't want to be around you? Maybe he/she gives double messages that make you feel confused (e.g. saying "Of course I love you" while not behaving in a loving manner). When he doesn't want to be physically affectionate, you end up feeling rejected. Meanwhile, he complains that you are too needy. —Dr. Marian Stansbury
4. He refuses to change or talk about problems. Is your partner open to being influenced by you? Is he/she self-reflective? When you express how you feel and ask for what you want, does he/she listen and make an effort to meet your needs? If he/she refuses to acknowledge that your feelings and needs are important, and refuses to go to counseling, you may be stuck in a toxic relationship. Then you need to ask yourself, "What do I need to do for myself to be happy and satisfied with my life?" —Dr. Marian Stansbury
5. He fights dirty. Name calling is a definite sign of toxicity in a relationship. Attempting to hurt someone with words is not the way to resolve conflict or communicate hurt feelings. Problems usually escalate quickly when name-calling is present and it makes it especially difficult to create intimacy and connection in the relationship. —Keri Nola
6. You aren't yourself. Do you change your likes, dislikes or opinions when you're with your partner? Feeling like you can't be yourself and adjusting to please for fear of retaliation can be a sign of a toxic relationship. It's important to be able to express yourself honestly in your relationship for authentic love to grow. —Keri Nola
7. He's more like an over-involved parent. I'm not talking about the kind who drives you to your violin recital. I'm talking about the kind who decides your career, what school you go to and who you hang out with. When your guy acts like an over-involved parent, he chooses which friends stay, which ones go and what kind of clothes you should wear. You've learned from past experiences that your thoughts and opinions do not matter to him and if you express them, you will regret it later on. —Mika Maddela
8. He's the king of guilt trips. He has a certain knack for making you feel guilty and indebted to him. You feel obligated to give in to whatever he wants, especially when he reminds you of that thoughtful gesture he's done for you lately. When every gesture comes with strings attached, it might be time to cut the cord. —Mika Maddela
9. He's your secret lover ... but not in a good way. Your family and friends don't like the way he treats you. Since they are more likely to give unsolicited relationship advice, you're afraid that what they have to say may be the truth. So, you tend to avoid talking about him, bringing him around, or involving him in any way with your friends and family. —Mika Maddela
We don't mean blurting something out after you've had too much merlot, but the desire to tell him intimate details about your life means you trust him—a major component of successful long-term love.
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