It can be tough to navigate the treacherous waters of our love lives. We’re all supposed to put in effort, but how much is really enough? Is there such a thing as “too much”? Shouldn’t we just do whatever we can to stay with our partner?
Well, no. Only you know what you can really handle in your relationship, but as a general rule of thumb, if it hurts you more than it makes you smile… It’s probably toxic.
If you hurt her more than you make her happy… It’s probably toxic.
If you have to look at lists on the internet to see if your relationship is worth staying in… I hate to be the one to say this, but… Your relationship is probably toxic.
Contrary to what you might think, though, a relationship can be toxic even when both people are madly in love with each other. I mean, let’s just look at Harley Quinn and The Joker. (Well, the Suicide Squad versions of them, at least – the comic book characters had a different dynamic going on.) Those two are crazy about each other, and yet they still end up exhibiting so many of the traits that qualify a relationship as abusive. (Although, they do it in a bit gentler of a way than their ink-and-paper predecessors did.)
If you see the following 21 signs in your relationship, it’s best if you get out now and ask questions later. Run, don’t walk, as far in the other direction as you can – for your own sanity.
1. You’re always fighting.
One of the most obvious signs that you’re wrong for each other. Constant fighting could be a sign that you two are totally incompatible (or that one of you has unresolved anger issues). Either way, get out while you still can.
2. You’re never fighting.
While fighting all the time is a bad thing, so is keeping quiet to keep your partner calm. If either of you is holding your tongue to keep from saying something that might start an argument, you need to get out as soon as possible.
3. You can’t be yourself.
Relationships are bound to change people – but are those changes ones you wanted to make? Your partner should inspire you to improve yourself, but she should never pressure you to make changes you don’t want to make. If she wants you to be someone else entirely, get out.
4. She makes you feel bad about yourself.
It’s normal for complaints to come up in a relationship. But how your partner delivers those complaints is just as important as what they are. It’s her job to build you up, not tear you down. If she’s more inclined to insult you than to offer you helpful advice, she’s wrong for you, and you need to ditch her.
5. You’re stuck in the past.
While we’re talking about building each other up, it’s actually impossible to get better when someone keeps bringing up the mistakes of your past. If your partner can’t help but throwing the past back at you, even when you’re making a conscious effort to fix things as best as you can, it’s a good idea to let her go.
6. She doesn’t compliment you.
Even the most secure and confident women like hearing that they are loved and appreciated. You shouldn’t settle for a partner who doesn’t make you feel awesome. She should be your #1 fan – and she needs to be there to remind you just how great you really are. If she can’t do that, you should ditch her.
7. You feel emotionally drained.
All relationships require effort and emotions. But if your relationship is constantly taking its toll on you, sucking all your happiness and energy away, it’s probably really, really toxic for you. You need to be with someone who puts in just as much as you do, and doesn’t expect you to do all the work. If your relationship bleeds you dry, it’s time to say goodbye.
8. She’s holding you back.
It’s important that you give your relationships their fair share of attention, and that you make your girlfriend a priority in your life. But if your girlfriend demands your attention, over your responsibilities (such as work, school, or chasing your dreams), she’s bad for you – and you deserve better.
9. You don’t feel like her equal.
One of the reasons your girlfriend might hold you back from achieving your dreams is because she’s afraid you’ll realize you deserve better. These types of women (and yes, men too) need to feel superior to their partners in order to make themselves happy – but no one wants to give up all their control. If your partner tries to control everything you do, you need to say goodbye.
10. Your needs only come after hers.
Just like a partnership that’s lacking in partners, no one can be happy in a relationship that doesn’t care about their happiness. Even the most selfless person on the planet will feel drained if they’re constantly being taken advantage of. Don’t settle for someone who puts you in second place – save your self-respect by showing her the door.
11. She makes you anxious.
There’s a certain amount of anxiety that’s normal in a relationship – and that “normal amount” can be even higher when you’re dating someone with anxiety. But the woman who’s right for you is going to do as much as she can to keep you from getting anxious. If she stresses you out and doesn’t care why, let her go.
12. You feel unsafe with her.
Let’s be clear: It’s not her job to provide you with round-the-clock comfort. You are encouraged to make yourself feel safe, as much as you can. But if your girlfriend ever makes you feel threatened, and gets mad when you bring up how you feel – you need to ditch her.
13. You have to hide things from her.
This one can go both ways – either you know the things you’re doing would upset her, or you’re afraid of how she’d react if she heard. Either way, there’s a really good chance that there’s a reason. Relationships require honesty, so if you can’t be honest with your partner, you need to say goodbye.
14. You don’t bring out the best in each other.
Your girlfriend needs to be your cheerleader – not a trigger for bad behavior. The girlfriend who deserves your love is going to do her best to encourage you to be a good person. She wants you to be the best person, so that the two of you can eventually be a power couple and lead an empire or something. If she doesn’t really care if you get your shit together or not, move on. She doesn’t really care about you.
15. You don’t both take responsibility.
Your actions are your actions, and her actions are her actions. A healthy relationship requires that you both maintain your autonomy. That means her mistakes are not your fault, and vice versa. A woman who really cares about you will take responsibility for her own actions, and will expect that you do the same. If everything seems one-sided, it’s time to leave.
16. You make excuses for her behavior, or for why you stay with her.
This goes hand in hand with #15: You need to let her be a grown-up. When you make excuses for someone, you are treating them like a child, like they’re incapable of learning from their mistakes. We teach people how to treat us. Are you teaching her that you’re going to forgive her, even if she doesn’t change? If she’s ready to throw you under the bus, and you’re ready to save her from under hers, it’s time to say goodbye.
17. She tests how much you love her.
If your relationship is full of ultimatums and tests of your affection, your partner is probably insecure – and that’s not a good foundation for your relationships. You should be showing your love in all the standard ways, but your love shouldn’t need to be quantified through her specific demands. If it’s always a test, she’s immature – let her go.
18. Your relationship lasts trust, respect, and stability.
There aren’t too many things that have the ability to keep a relationship afloat all on its own. But, three things that are absolutely essential to having a happy, healthy relationship are trust, respect, and stability. It shouldn’t be a roller coaster every day – there needs to be some consistency, or you need to leave.
19. You feel locked away from your friends and family.
If you spend more time with your significant other than you do with all your friends and family put together, there is a problem. The problem isn’t necessarily her, and it isn’t necessarily you – but it’s important that your social circle is actually a circle. If it’s just two dots that stay in close proximity to one another, your life (and sanity) are going to suffer for it. Get out while you still can.
20. You’re always asking permission, even though she never does.
I’ve heard it time and time again – you shouldn’t have to ask your partner for permission to do things. I totally agree, too. If your partner requires you to ask her permission before you make any decisions, she’s probably bad for you. But even if you’re offering up control of your decisions willingly, and your partner isn’t doing the same for you, you’re probably making a huge mistake. Get out of the relationship before you completely lose yourself!
21. You think you’d be better off without her.
One of the saddest things that can happen to a relationship is when one partner finally realizes that it wouldn’t hurt as much to walk away as it would be to stay. When this happens, it’s time to walk away. Whether it’s because you don’t care about her as much as she cares about you, or because you’ve been trying way too hard for way too long, this is a sign that’s usually right on the money. If you think life would be better single, you’re probably right – and you need to take action.