10 Red Flags – Subtle Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Written by on June 20, 2019 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 0 Comments

By Andrew Carroll

You may contemplate that if you were in a toxic relationship, you would distinguish this straight away. But, this is not always the case! It can be hard to see and analyze what is going on, especially if you are in your first relationship. Of course, your first intimate experience can be different because you are all new to the relationship bond. Primarily, you may not know what exactly you are doing and what you should expect. But with the passage of time, your experience teaches you how to steer through future relationships.     

First of all, you need to get to know yourself before moving into a serious relationship. If you don’t know what you need, how could you comprehend the needs and expectations of your partner? You need to know that you deserve to be loved and respected. A toxic relationship is definitely something you need to avoid. Depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem all these come hands in hand with a toxic relationship.


Here we have prepared a list of relationship red flags – subtle signs of a toxic relationship. Watch for these subtle signs and take a decision whether or not you should be staying in the relationship.

1. Controlling behavior

If your partner wants to control you, it is one of the first signs of a toxic relationship. This includes controlling where you could go, who you can talk to or go out with, etc. Sometimes, a controlling spouse can be manipulative and make you pick one between your closed ones and them as an expression of love. This way, they think you can prove your love to them. They may be envious of your ongoing relationships.

By limiting who you can see and where you can go, they can’t compel you. Eventually, such controlling behavior will make you think lonely and distant from your dear ones. Andrea Bonior, the author of The Friendship Fix, said: “This doesn’t always mean physically threatening or violent.” Simply it can be that you feel startled to share your opinion or view because you are anxious and panicky of your partner’s reactions. Consequently, if you are dumbing things down to save the day, it is a subtle sign you are in a toxic relationship.   

2. Lack of communication

You may be in an unhealthy relationship if your partner finds it difficult to open up to you. If they can't express their feeling to you through words or talk about any issue or difficulties you both are facing, this is a red flag. Of course, you need a partner who listens to you and understands your feelings; someone who can discuss all the matters with you in a calm and respectable manner.

If you both have a communication gap, you could become quite stressed as it will become hard to resolve the problems. To make matters worse, your toxic spouse may also give you the silent treatment as they find it hard to communicate or face the disagreement. This is something you should look out for.    


3. Lack of trust

If an individual finds it perplexing to stay honest with themselves, it may be even harder for them to be truthful with you. With the passage of time, you may think that there are a lot of missing pieces, a lot of things that you don't know that were hidden from you on purpose. Nowadays, couples use monitoring apps to spy on their significant other. For instance, they use spyware like Xnspy to read messages of their partner with others, view their call logs, access their social media accounts, and all without letting them know. Of course, it is a red flag that you are having a toxic relationship if you can’t even trust your other half.

Well, often, it is not your spouse’s actions that indicate a toxic relationship; it’s your own. If you find it hard to trust your partner, ask yourself why. Bonior said, “Are you getting more anxious because of something that has to do with you? Maybe you're in a bad place and are worried about other things, and it's spilling over into your romantic life. Or is there something about your relationship that's just not right? Maybe deep down something isn't adding up, and your gut is trying to tell you something. All you need is to open up to your spouse and discuss all your insecurities; if they get defensive, this is another red flag!

4. Never takes the blame

Being able to apologize is definitely a sign of maturity. It is to realize and confess that you are willing to be accountable, and you admit your mistakes. We usually hear people say, “I know he is sorry, but he doesn’t like to apologize.” Or, “She doesn’t apologize much, but she makes up for it by being nice.” In a healthy relationship, both partners accept blame and apologize for it too. We can’t expect to resolve the fights and disagreements without an apologizing behavior. If only one person owning up to faults is you, as a repercussion, your relationship will suffer eventually. This could lead to resentment and stress.

5. Irresponsible, immature, and unpredictable

If your partner lacks basic life skills, like taking care of themselves, managing their finances, holding on to a job, taking control of their personal space, and making plans for their life, they are still working on growing up. Their daily crises take up a lot of their time and energy. And, ultimately, there will be little time and energy left for you and your issues. This doesn’t mean that you should go for a rich and well-settled sugar daddy, but rather someone who is mature enough to handle all that aforementioned without leaving you unwanted and unnecessary.

6. They treat their family badly

The alarm bells should be ringing if your significant other is rude to their family. Their insolent behavior with their parents, siblings, or other closed ones depicts how they will be like in a long-term relationship. The immediate family is often the closest people to you, so if your other half treats their own family in a bad manner, this is a red flag. Pay attention to the small things, like how they interact with others as eventually, they will treat you the same way. If they are already nasty to their own family, this could definitely lead to problems in the near future.  

7. Insecure

If you feel uncertain, anxious, and uncomfortable about where your relationship is heading, this is a subtle sign that you are living in an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes, it is hard for you to judge your particular standing point in the relationship. On the other hand, you might seek reassurance from your spouse, but one way or another all these faiths seem to be temporary. 

8. Emotionally unavailable

Have you ever felt undeserving, or unworthy in your relationship? Does your partner make you feel small by being busy on their phone, even when you are trying to interact with them? Does your relationship feel robotic? If your answer is yes, then your partner might be emotionally unavailable.

If your spouse is emotionally missing mostly and more specifically, when you need them, this could be a subtle sign of a toxic relationship. When you need someone to be there for you, your spouse should be someone who you can depend on and talk to. If you feel you have no one to rely on, you need to leave the relationship immediately.   

9. Secretive behavior

Another subtle sign of a toxic relationship is when someone acts very secretive. If your significant other hides things from you purposefully, this could be a red flag. This may imply that they don’t trust you or they are still in love with an ex. A healthy relationship demands a decent amount of openness. There may be many reasons for your partner not opening up, like a difficult past, or previous trauma. Secretive behavior, illicit actions, and addictive practices that continue into your relationship are all bad signs. Never ignore these little things that make you feel uncomfortable.    

10. Your family and friends don’t like them

If your family and friends have to say something about your spouse, this is another red flag. Your family and friends know you better. So if they say they don't like your partner, you must listen to their opinion. If a single member has issues with your spouse, this could be a personality clash but if all of your family and friends warn you or don't like certain behaviors, there could be something worth listening. It is always a good idea to consider the sincere advice of your family and friends, as they know you the best.

A red flag is a good indicator to help you process what you are really feeling. Learn to trust your gut feeling. Of course, you are worthy of love and deserve to find someone who treats you with respect.   

About the Author

Andrew Carroll is a trained professional counselor who has been helping couples in dealing with their relationship issues. He is a relationship and marriage expert and has greatly helped couples in resolving their commitment and emotional problems for many years. He has vast experience and has been in the field for over a decade. He not only gives great relationship advice but is an expert in how one can remain in a healthy and loving relationship.

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