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What Is A Toxic Relationship? The Red Flags And No-Go’s

a women standing in the wind thinking what is a toxic relationship

What is a toxic relationship? Understanding the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship can help you protect yourself from physical and emotional harm. Red flags include excessive jealousy, persistent criticism and a disrespect for your personal boundaries. 

While it may be difficult to break up with your partner, it’s easier once you know what the warning signs are. Here are the red flags of a toxic relationship, and how to notice if you’re in one.

What is a toxic relationship?

Checking in with how you’re feeling is the easiest way to answer the question “what is a toxic relationship?” If you’re constantly feeling drained, insecure and unsafe, then it may be time to reconsider your commitment to your partner. 

No relationship is perfect. But, if you often feel uneasy around your partner, then you need to take the time to figure out why you feel this way.

Excessive jealousy

While jealousy is a natural part of being in a relationship, the way that your partner responds to feeling jealous is important. If they try to blame you for their discomfort or they become controlling, then it’s a sign that you’re in an unhealthy relationship. 

Demanding to know where you are every moment of the day, reading your private messages on your phone and insisting that you spend all of your time together are concerning responses to jealousy.

Isolation from friends and family

Dating is exciting and it’s natural to want to spend time cuddled up with your significant other. As a result, you may find yourself seeing your family and friends less than you did when you were single.

However, if you notice that you’re cut off from all the people who support you, then you may be in a toxic relationship. Controlling partners are often threatened by outside influences on your relationship. In response, they’re likely to criticize your friends and avoid participating in social activities.

Persistent criticism

Feelings of insecurity naturally arise in relationships, especially when you’ve started dating someone new. However, when you’re constantly feeling inadequate, it’s time to reconsider your relationship. 

If your partner’s continually criticizing you and putting you down, it’s a reason for concern. You deserve to date someone who celebrates your accomplishments and offers you support rather than belittling you.

Disrespect for your boundaries

In a healthy relationship, you should feel comfortable establishing your boundaries and saying no. Toxic partners disregard your boundaries and constantly push your limits. This inconsiderate behavior can leave you feeling insecure, frustrated and overwhelmed. 

Feeling like there is no way out of your relationship is cause for concern. While you may feel sad at the thought of breaking up with your partner, a harmful relationship will cause you more pain in the long run. If you feel like you can’t escape, take time out to decide what you really want.


Are you constantly doubting yourself? Gaslighting takes place when your partner continuously makes you doubt your perception of reality. If you question their difficult behavior, they’ll find a way to blame you for it. 

The insidious nature of gaslighting means that your partner will carefully hide their manipulation so that it’s difficult to confront them and address how they are behaving.

Lack of self-care

Another red flag to be wary of is if you’re putting your partner’s needs first all the time. Relationships involve give and take so that both partners’ needs are met. If you don’t have a spare moment to take time out for yourself, it’s an indication of a larger problem. 

Your partner may be needy or you’ve taken it upon yourself to disregard your own desires so that you can prioritize their needs. Either way, a lack of self-care is a warning sign.

Thinking that your partner will change

If the warning signs are there but you stick around because you think that your partner will change, it’s an indication of a harmful dynamic. While you may still enjoy plenty of fun moments together, it doesn’t make up for the damage that a toxic relationship causes over time. Hoping that your partner will change is likely to lead to disappointment.

If you’re wondering what is a toxic relationship and notice these red flags, it may be time to make a change. In a relationship where you feel safe to express yourself, you could consider communicating with your partner about how their behavior makes you feel. However, if you’re worried about your emotional and physical well-being, letting go and moving on may be best for you! 

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