Tell-tale signs your relationship has become toxic

To many, the notion of being single seems to go against the grain. No sooner is one relationship over than they feel compelled to follow their natural urge to rebound into the next one, heading off to singles bars or signing up for a dating site for women. This is the reason a lot of people are prepared to put up with relationships which have turned sour rather than the apparently more unthinkable alternative of no relationship. But the truth of the matter, no matter how unpalatable it might seem to these deluded individuals, is a toxic relationship is terrible. It will erode self-esteem. It can destroy confidence. And at the far end of the spectrum, it might even turn out to be dangerous.

If any of these tell-tale signs ring a bell, please begin making plans for your exit. Like, now.

Has your partner become overly sensitive?

Perhaps you’ve got into the habit for refraining from saying the wrong thing for fear of offending. Over a period of time, remaining silent is simply a preferable option to someone snapping or sulking for hours. But why on earth would you even think it’s an acceptable situation to have to censor your own thoughts from emerging?

If this has been going on for some time, you need to ask yourself why your input is always been challenged. If any comment you offer is provoking such a negative reaction, this indicates there are deeper-rooted issues involved. When your partner lets off steam in your direction, this is merely a symptom. If the underlying cause is something they are not prepared to share with you, then things have gotten serious.

Communication breakdowns

It’s one thing if the slightest exchange of views always ends up with your partner adopting a defensive or overtly confrontational position. There may be occasions when you disagree about something. This happens in 99% of relationships and is actually a sign of a healthy rapport, as couples work to resolve differences in opinion. But in a toxic situation, this communication impasses can permeate every moment of your time together.

Where you might once have snuggled together on the couch to watch a film, their irritation grows in direct proportion to how tactile you become. They might find it difficult to concentrate on the movie anyway, and impatiently jab the remote button just as you were getting into it.

Arguments that would previously flare, subside into a period of sulking then wind down to you making up, sometimes in the bedroom, simply drag on and on. Worse still, they might rise in intensity, climaxing with hysterical shrieking or objects being thrown to the ground.

What about phone calls? Where you were once familiar with regular chats or informal texts, perhaps you now receive occasional communications or one-word replies to your articulate messages. Perhaps their phone goes to voicemail every time you try and get in touch, seeding some doubt in your mind that your calls are being screened and ignored.


So far, this evidence of unsociable behavior is plainly unnerving, but this is only the thin end of the wedge. You must be under no illusions of what potentially awaits at the far end. If a toxic relationship remains unchecked and unchallenged, it can develop into consistent mental undermining. There’s another name for this. Bullying.

Any partnership plumbing these depths has gone beyond toxic and has now become a matter for the courts. But no matter how difficult it might be, at the earliest sign your relationship has become toxic, you must reach out for help. Whether that’s discussing the situation with family and friends, or seeking formal advice from long-established help facilities.