We all want to feel safe, loved, and happy in our romantic relationships, because isn’t that the point? But sometimes red flags of a bad relationship aren’t glaringly obvious. Pay attention to these signs of a toxic relationship.
You’re always walking on eggshells
One of the first signs of a toxic relationship is when one partner is very controlling, Andrea Bonior, PhD, author of The Friendship Fix told Health.com. “This doesn’t always mean physically threatening or violent,” she said. It can simply be that you feel frightened to share your opinions because you’re nervous and afraid of your partner’s emotional reactions, says Dr. Bonior, an adjunct professor of psychology at Georgetown University. And if you find yourself dumbing things down so your partner can feel smart or save the day—huge red flag in toxic relationships.
You feel a little queasy, or uneasy, around your partner
“Your body is smart,” says relationship expert Sofia Milan. “If you were to eat poison, your body would immediately try to throw it up. If you get something in your eye, your eye starts tearing.” Stressed? Your hair will fall out. Get it? So if you’re having physical issues like ulcers, throwing up, dizziness/passing out, chest pains, or new skin flare-ups, your body may be trying to get your attention. Physical illness often presents itself in people in toxic relationships. Milan says to ask yourself, what is the root cause of these ill feelings? They might be symptoms of garden-variety stress, but “if your partner, a friend, or co-worker is the person that comes to mind first, that is a sign that you need to give someone the boot or begin a conversation to mend the problem.”
You’re always fighting
While some bickering is even healthy for your relationship, “constant misunderstanding is a bad sign,” says Sue Kolod, PhD, a psychoanalyst in New York City. “As couples get to know each other better, there should be a progression toward more understanding and less misunderstanding.” Poor communication that never improves is toxic because, without communication, a relationship can never move forward.