5 Ways Toxic Relationships Are Different From Healthy Relationships

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5 Ways Toxic Relationships Are Different From Healthy Relationships

How are healthy relationships different from toxic relationships? 

Sometimes, when you're in a relationship, it can be very difficult to see how healthy or sickly it is. You're just too close, there are too many emotions involved, and your friends and family all have different opinions.

Recognizing whether or not your relationship is toxic is the best tool for you to use when considering whether or not your relationship has a future.

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There are some hallmarks of healthy relationships that don’t exist in toxic relationships.

Here are 5 major signs you need to look for to tell a toxic relationship from a healthy one.

1. You have no fear of your partner.

A healthy relationship is one where there is no fear and neither partner lives life being scared of physical or emotional pain. Disagreements exist, but they don’t lead to outbursts of emotion that make one or both people fearful.

Do you live in fear of asking your partner if you can go out with your girlfriends, knowing that if you do, he will become furious? This includes yelling at you, knocking things off tables, and punching walls because he thinks you're fooling around and that your friends hate him.

Do you live in fear that if you don’t do your chores on time, your woman will verbally berate you, making you feel like an incompetent loser?

There are two people in every relationship, and things come up between them. It’s just how it works. And each of those people have wants and needs that they should be able to address without living in fear.

If your partner doesn’t like you going out, but is willing to discuss this with you instead of freaking out, then you are in a healthy relationship.

If you don't do your chores on time and it leads to a discussion of how things can be different next time, then you are in a healthy relationship.

If you don’t do the things that you want to do or can’t make mistakes without fear of being attacked, then your relationship is toxic. And it’s time to take a good, hard look at what is next for you.

2. There's a healthy level of give and take.

Another indicator of a healthy relationship is when there is equitable give and take. This is when each partner has their wants and needs met equally, often as a direct result of conversation.

Perhaps you both have different sleep habits — you like to stay up late, and he likes to go to bed early. For people in a toxic relationship, this could be an issue.

One person, or both, might insist that they go to bed at the same time. They don’t discuss it and just assume that this will be the case. So, when it isn’t, it becomes a real issue.

A couple in a healthy relationship will recognize each other’s individual needs and work together to meet those needs.

For the couple who go to bed at different times, they discussed what would work for them. They agreed that they would keep their individual bedtimes during the week, but go to sleep together at a time halfway in between their desired bedtimes on weekends.

By making this decision together, they were able to stave off resentment at the different bedtimes, agree on a solution, and move on.

3. There's equality.

An essential part of a healthy relationship is equality — both partners having an equal say in decisions that are made, both in the short term and the big picture.

I have a friend who has six children. When she and her husband were looking at houses, he liked one that had a long flight of stairs leading from where the car is parked to the front door.

She, being a stay-at-home mother of six children, didn’t want the stairs. She could picture lugging groceries and children up those stairs from here to eternity, and the prospect didn’t thrill her.

When she voiced her opinion to her husband, he brushed them off and proceeded to make an offer on the house.

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This, I would argue, is an excellent example of how a healthy relationship is different from a toxic one.

In a healthy relationship, the husband would have been receptive to at least listening to his wife’s concerns. He would have been open to working through how to manage them together.

The wife’s concerns should have taken equal weight to her husband’s, and they could have figured out a compromise that worked for both of them.

If you find that one person is making all the decisions in your relationship and not taking your needs into consideration at all, your relationship might very well be a toxic one.

4. There's mutual respect.

No relationship can be deemed healthy if there is no mutual respect. If couples can’t look at each other as equals knowing that they are good people in the world whose perspectives are important and who deserve to be treated well, then they are in a toxic relationship indeed.

Let's say you have hard time letting your husband make decisions around day-to-day workings. You feel like he doesn’t have the consistency and determination necessary to make decisions and follow through with them.

As a result, because the workings of your family are so essential to your lives, believing he can't handle this will cause you to lose respect for him. Of course, because he feels like you're treating him like a child and disregarding his input, he'll grow increasingly resentful and lose respect for you, too.

This relationship is definitely a toxic one and will end in divorce.

So, if you find that you don’t respect your partner the way you did when you were first together, your relationship is not healthy. You must consider working to fix it or move on.

5. You feel good about yourself.

Many people in toxic relationships don’t feel good about themselves.

Years of being ignored and mistreated have led them to doubt their sense of self-worth and not believe that they have anything to offer to the world.

The hallmark of a healthy relationship is being in one that makes you feel good about yourself, who makes you believe that you can take on the world, and that you will succeed.

Has your relationship made you feel less than? Has it driven you away from friends and family?

Has your career suffered because you don’t believe that you can do your job effectively? Do you believe that you aren’t worthy of love and don’t deserve the life that you want?

If you don’t feel good about yourself or your place in the world, then you are most likely in a toxic relationship, one you want to get out of before you lose all sense of yourself.

Knowing how healthy relationships are different from toxic ones is very important when you are deciding how to move forward.

The goal is to have no fear in your relationship. Healthy relationships are about kindness, consideration, and mutual respect. Be with someone who makes you feel like you can take on the world, someone who makes you happy — at least most of the time.

That is a healthy relationship. And that is the goal.

So, take a good, hard look at your relationship. If one or more of the above things aren’t a part of it, your relationship just might be toxic — and you must consider moving on!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach. Let her help you find, and keep, love in this crazy world in which we live. Email her and get started!

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This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.