Finding a partner-in-crime, soulmate or love of your life can be difficult; Match, Plenty of Fish, E-Harmony - the list goes on of "helpful" dating sites. How can you really tell what a person is like from an online profile? And once you do enter a relationship, our desire to find that plus one can sometimes cloud our judgement if we are really in a safe and healthy partnership.
When invested in a long-term relationship, it’s hard to see the adverse effects it can have on your life. If a relationship leaves you feeling exhausted, permeates negativity and conflict, this is a “toxic relationship.” The six signs below will help in admitting something is wrong and getting you on-course to leading a happy, healthier life.
Significant lack of intimacy
Author of The Love Lies, Debrena Gandy says that by year 10, many relationships come to resemble that of roommates—and it might be true, considering one in five marriages are now considered sexless. We all require the physicality of a relationship in order to feel connected, loved, and cared for, but if one partner is withholding affection or refusing to connect, there’s a deeper, underlying problem approaching. Conversely, intimacy doesn’t always mean sex. Committed relationships entail opening up your heart and creating a solid friendship with your significant other. If intimacy or emotional bonding have considerably decreased over time and needs are not met, the consequences could lead to deceit and infidelity.
One of the most obvious signs is when it starts to create a dent in your sociability. Frequently starting with avoiding family, friends, or social events, you begin lying to those around you in an effort to not discuss your relationship. Eventually, you begin to emulate this behavior more towards your significant other with an “I’m fine,” but that’s when it becomes more of a problem because your subconscious feels and knows otherwise.
Criticism and contempt
No one’s perfect. We all get upset and argue with our significant other. However, if there is no civil exchange of communication, nothing gets solved. While criticizing can be an effective and positive tool to help earn trust and understand one another, if used as a means to express contempt or resentment, it can repeatedly lead to making the other feel exceedingly undervalued and worthless. Criticism and contempt are extremely disparaging aspects to relationships, and strong indicators as symptoms of an imminent divorce. With contempt being an infectious blend of anger and disgust, this kind of behavior peaks into a realm of condescension.
Can’t recognize yourself
When we sense a relationship turning sour, we tend to give it our all. We work harder and take great lengths to rekindle that flame—walks on the beach, long road trips, and anything just to get the fires going. Slowly, we compromise ourselves in order to make the other person happy. But through the constant efforts, you realize you’re not yourself anymore and the compromise you made is more of a negative than a positive as you wind up losing your full, authentic, thriving and passionate self. Once you realize this, the truth is you’ve lost the very foundations on which your relationship was built on.
Contributing to mental and physical stress, toxic relationships can increase anxiety and paranoia, and eat at our subconscious. When this happens, our emotions overwhelm any rational thought, and cloud our judgment and choices in our day-to-day lives. If a relationship continuously keeps a person in such a state of chaos, it’s definitely time to reevaluate the dynamic.
Can’t remember happiness
If you can’t remember the last time you were truly happy in your relationship, this should be the key factor for evaluation. In the end, it comes down to happiness. It’s unrealistic to think every moment should be a Disney one, but if you feel more distress than contentment, is it worth it? Reminiscing over that first meeting isn’t going to sustain the rest of your relationship. Instead, your significant other should be your guiding light, number one fan, and most importantly, someone you can be yourself around.