When you’re in a healthy relationship, everything just kind of works.
Sure, there are bumps in the road, but you generally make decisions together, openly discuss any problems that arise, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
Toxic relationships are another story. And when you’re in one, it can be harder to see red flags.
If you consistently feel drained or unhappy after spending time with your partner, it could be a sign that things need to change, says relationship therapist Jor-El Caraballo.
Here's a look at some hallmark signs of toxicity in a relationship and what to do if you recognize them in your relationship.
What does it look like? Depending on the nature of the relationship, signs of toxicity can be subtle or highly obvious, explains Carla Marie Manly, PhD, author of “Joy from Fear.” If you’re in a toxic relationship, you may recognize some of these signs in yourself, your partner, or the relationship itself.
Lack of support Your time together has stopped being positive or supportive of your goals. “Healthy relationships are based on a mutual desire to see the other succeed in all areas of life,” Caraballo says. But when things turn toxic, every achievement becomes a competition. In other words, you don’t feel like they have your back.
Instead of treating each other with kindness, most of your conversations are filled with sarcasm, criticism, or overt hostility. You may even start avoiding talking to each other.
While it’s normal to experience jealousy from time to time, Caraballo explains it can become an issue if you can’t get yourself to think or feel positively about their success.
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Questioning where you are all the time or becoming overly upset when you don’t immediately answer texts are both signs of controlling behavior, which can contribute to toxicity in a relationship. In some cases, these attempts of control over you can be a sign of abuse (more on this later).
Holding on to grudges and letting them fester chips away at intimacy.“Over time, frustration or resentment can build up and make a smaller chasm much bigger,” Caraballo notes.