17 Signs Your Relationship Is Toxic

Love is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it can turn sour or be confused with something else—like control or dependency. However, there are certain tell-tale signs that a relationship dynamic is unhealthy and not based on mutual care and respect. If you’re questioning whether or not your relationship is toxic, here are 17 warning signs to look out for.

You Feel Constantly on Edge

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A healthy relationship is a safe space where you can be yourself most of the time, at least. If you find yourself feeling constantly stressed and anxious when your partner’s around or censoring your thoughts, opinions, or behaviors for fear of their disapproval or anger, that’s a serious red flag. You deserve to feel comfortable and accepted, not threatened.


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A little jealousy is normal, but Very Well Mind warns that excessive, unfounded jealousy is toxic behavior and shouldn’t be present in a healthy relationship. If your partner is constantly jealous of your work colleagues, friends, family, or even hobbies, it indicates a lack of trust and a desire for control over you—neither of which indicates a strong partnership.

One-Sided Efforts

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Relationships are a ‘two-way street,’ so neither of you should be doing all the work. If you feel like you’re the only one planning time together, initiating sex, maintaining communication, or being considerate, you need to question why your partner is being so passive. Such an imbalance of effort can breed resentment over time and a negative sense of inequality.

Disrespectful Communication

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We all get stressed, angry, and frustrated sometimes—even in a loving relationship. While disagreements are inevitable, consistently aggressive, insulting, or hurtful communication is a sign that your partner doesn’t respect you or your feelings. Healthy communication involves active listening, acknowledging each other’s feelings, and being willing to compromise.

Isolation from Loved Ones

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Does your partner discourage you from spending time with friends and family or constantly paint them in a negative light? Healthy relationships aren’t threatened by strong connections with external support systems, and a loving partner will never try to separate you from these. If they do, they may be trying to control you or increase your dependence on them. That’s toxic!

Always at Fault

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Taking responsibility for one’s actions is a sign of maturity, and that goes for both partners in a relationship. If you feel like you’re constantly being blamed for every problem or as if your partner can do no wrong, they may be gaslighting you into taking more blame than is fair or appropriate. This toxic ‘blame game’ can be draining and seriously erode your self-esteem.


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Emotional manipulation can take many forms, such as guilt-tripping, silent treatment, or threats of ending the relationship. A healthy relationship relies on honesty and open communication, and respectful partners never use such tactics to ‘get their way’ or win an argument. If your partner tries to control your emotions or actions, it’s a major red flag.

Financial Control

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Financial independence is essential to a healthy relationship because it allows both sides to leave if they want. Choosing Therapy says if your partner controls your finances, limits your access to money, or uses money to control you, this is financial abuse. If you feel financially trapped by your partner, you may be a victim of this form of abuse.

Physical or Emotional Abuse

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This goes without saying, but no one deserves to be physically or emotionally abused for any reason. If your partner hurts you intentionally or makes you feel physically threatened, this is a dangerous situation that you must escape from. Seek help from a trusted friend, family member, or professional organization immediately.

Privacy Violations

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Everyone deserves privacy and trust in a relationship, so any behavior that exposes you is unacceptable. If your partner snoops through your phone, reads your messages without permission, goes through your belongings, or follows you, they are crossing some serious boundaries. Such acts are unacceptable and toxic and should never be tolerated.


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Everyone has bouts of low confidence or personal insecurities. Still, a partner who constantly seeks reassurance about your love and feelings for them can be exhausting. Partners who get upset or angry without such validation can be emotionally draining and stressful to live with. A healthy relationship has a certain amount of trust, confidence, and security.

Unrealistic Expectations

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Nobody is perfect, and unrealistic or unachievable expectations are not found in healthy relationships. The Hindustan Times reports, “They can lead to unrealistic standards, disappointment and resentment, communication breakdown, and unhappiness and disconnection between partners.” Find someone who accepts your flaws and loves you anyway!

No Personal Growth

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Strong relationships allow space for both partners to grow and evolve, and neither partner feels threatened by the other’s success or self-improvement. If your partner stifles your personal aspirations or discourages you from pursuing your career goals, you should question their motivation and whether or not they want what’s best for you—or them.

Constant Conflict

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Each relationship is unique, and some healthy partnerships may have a fair bit of conflict or no conflict at all. But if you find yourselves arguing constantly over trivial things or spending all your time together upset or angry, it may be a sign of deeper incompatibility. Healthy couples communicate effectively most of the time and work together to find solutions to their problems.

Absence of Intimacy

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Feeling connected to your partner is essential for a healthy, rewarding partnership that is both physically and emotionally fulfilling. Be wary if you feel there is a ‘wall’ between the two of you in terms of communication, understanding, affection, or sexual intimacy. While temporary lapses are not a cause for concern, an ongoing lack of connectivity is a red flag.

Staying for the Wrong Reasons

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Sometimes, people stay in toxic relationships for the wrong reasons, such as a fear of being alone, financial dependence, or the belief they won’t find anyone better. A healthy relationship enhances your life, rather than holding you hostage! If you find yourself staying out of fear or obligation rather than genuine love and respect, toxicity levels are already too high.

Intuition Tells You Something Is Wrong

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Don’t ignore that nagging voice in your head saying something is wrong in your relationship—it might be your subconscious telling you the truth. Don’t let your partner dismiss your concerns, even if they’re hard to articulate. Instead, take steps to put things right, even if that means abandoning the relationship altogether.


If you or someone you know is seeking support, reach out to the Domestic Violence Hotline at 88788 or the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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