Have you or a friend ever been in a toxic relationship and all the warning signs were there, but you just couldn’t seem to get out of it?
I’ve been there before.
In a pattern of relationships where I was totally blinded by all the warning signs because there was an addictive quality to it. The highs of the relationship almost made the lows seem worth it. Until they weren’t.
But I am so thankful that I had friends to help see me through and that I broke away before it was too late.
I don’t regret those relationships, because they taught me a lot about myself, about how to relate to another person and what I don’t want going forward.
The thing is that there is another way. You can break yourself out of the cycle.
Relationships can be loving, healthy, happy and whole.
The signs below are by no means a complete list, but from my experience have been tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship and may be reason to move on.
1. Your friends and family have been warning you about your partner, but you don’t want to listen.
No one truly knows your relationship but you. That being said, if all of your friends and family seem to disapprove of the person you’re dating, that may be a red flag. Rather than isolating yourself from friends and family, you may want to ask them why they feel that way and really listen to the answer.
2. You feel that you need each other and become clingy.
I used to think that the perfect relationship was when I found my other half to make me whole. While common, this can actually be a pretty distorted view. I’d find another person who also felt less than whole and our relationship became clingy and needy. It’s great to love someone and want to be around them as often as possible, but it’s another thing to feel like you need them to be complete. The best relationships are two whole people who come together and complement one another in the greatest possible way.
3. You spend almost all your time with your partner while spending less and less time with friends and family.
Spending a lot of time with someone when you first start dating and fall in love is natural. But when you find yourself spending less and less time with friends or family, or maybe even isolating yourself from them, this can be a warning sign. This is especially if your partner is encouraging you not to see other people and becomes possessive. Don’t forget that relationships can come to an end and your friends are the ones who will be there for you when it does. Cherish them.
4. You or your partner get angry and jealous often.
How many people know that couple that’s constantly fighting? Or maybe you’ve been that couple before? Yes, it can spark passion and you might justify that the great makeup sex makes the fighting worthwhile. But it’s not healthy or sustainable. Not to mention no one enjoys being around a couple that fights all the time. This is especially a warning sign if you or your partner gets extremely jealous of someone else talking to you.
5. The relationship takes more energy than it gives you.
I often talk to friends or clients who are in new relationships that they know just aren’t quite working, but cling to them anyways. They complain a lot about it and find themselves obsessing over texts and phone calls. One thing I always ask them is, “Does it make you happy more often than it makes you stressed or upset?” If you can honestly answer yes, then maybe hang on to see if you can smooth out the bumps. But if the relationship has become a total energy drain, this may be a sign to move on.
6. You find yourself taking on negative habits.
This point came from one particular relationship I was in where I found myself drinking a lot more than I normally would. The relationship was a total roller coaster, and it definitely had it’s thrills, but the thrills came at a cost. Every time we’d go out I felt pressured to drink more than I was comfortable with. I did it in part to impress them and also to ease the anxiety I was feeling. This was a huge red flag. So if you find yourself taking on negative habits due to the relationship such as excessively drinking, smoking, missing work or whatever it is… stop and ask if that’s really you.
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