Ask Sawal

Discussion Forum
Notification Icon1
Write Answer Icon
Add Question Icon

How to be toxic to a boy?

5 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Relationships have the power to either lift you up or drag you down. Unfortunately, the sheer number of toxic relationships far outweighs the number of healthy ones. As a result, it’s vital that you know when you’re seeing the signs of a potentially toxic boyfriend and then you can either work to rectify the situation or, more likely, walk away with your head held high.

When you fall in love, it’s easy to overlook all the negative aspects of the relationship. You put up with a lot because you simply don’t want it to end, or you think that perhaps your partner is going to change.

The problem is that a toxic boyfriend is likely to stay a toxic boyfriend unless he sees the error of his ways and changes for the better.

He’s not going to do that without a conversation that tells him to, or until you decide that enough is enough and find happiness in yourself away from him.

To help you identify whether or not a change is needed in your relationship, let’s check out the most common signs of a toxic boyfriend.

It’s nothing but annoying when someone speaks down to you, regularly uses sarcasm, or acts in a condescending manner.

As annoying as it can be coming from someone you’re not close to, it’s not something you should be dealing with from a boyfriend. If you’ve pointed it out to him before and he’s still doing it, that’s one of the key signs of a toxic boyfriend.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation. It’s also a type of emotional abuse. While we must be careful that we don’t confuse toxicity with abuse and think it’s always the exact same thing, in some cases, it overlaps.

Gaslighting is when someone makes you question yourself or your own sanity. For instance, your boyfriend might say something and when you recall it later, he pretends he never said it. You then doubt whether you heard it or not.

Over time, this form of manipulation can be very damaging.

One of the main signs of a toxic boyfriend is someone who is regularly controlling. You are a grown adult and have your own mind. You do not need someone else telling you what you can and can’t do. When a man tries to control you, he is bending you to his will. Don’t allow it!

Let’s be honest – it’s nice when someone is occasionally a little jealous, like when another guy looks at you in a certain way and your boyfriend puts his arm around you to let the guy know you’re his.

However, it’s not nice when it’s constant and it stops you from doing anything. There is no place for extreme jealousy in a relationship.

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Lying basically means that you’re deceiving your partner, and it’s one of the biggest signs of a toxic boyfriend.

If your guy is always lying about the small things, you don’t know that he’s not lying about the big things, too. Lies erode trust and make it impossible to believe anything he says.

It’s no fun when you’re never sure what mood your guy is in and you have to walk on eggshells around him to avoid drama. It’s toxic because you can’t relax and can’t be free to allow your relationship to develop.

Your needs are of equal importance to your boyfriend’s. If his needs are always met but yours aren’t, you should worry a little. It means you’re never going to be happy and you’re always going to be lacking what you need. It’s one of the definite signs of a toxic boyfriend.

You can be disrespectful to someone in a myriad of ways. It could be not respecting their boundaries, showing off in front of others when they’re around, or not taking what they say seriously.

If you constantly feel disrespected, it’s a big problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, it means you’re in a toxic relationship, too.

Your guy should be your biggest supporter. If he never has your back and never sticks up for you when others talk about you, does he even care?

It’s definitely one of the signs of a toxic boyfriend, and it’s something you should view as a red flag. Your guy should defend you at all costs.

This is another point of disrespect. Flirting with other people in front of you is toxic on so many levels. If your guy does this, you should have a serious conversation with him and consider whether or not there is any future in the relationship.

While you shouldn’t expect your boyfriend to commit straight away, if he’s refusing to commit to you after a considerable amount of time, does it mean he’s toxic? In some ways, it could.

If he’s not interested in being committed to you after a length of time, you might wonder if the relationship is going anywhere.

If you need something, he’s just not there. He either makes an excuse or he just doesn’t answer his phone.

Maybe you just feel that there’s no point in asking him because you know what the answer will be. If that’s the case, you already know that you’ve got a toxic boy on your hands.

A relationship isn’t just about the physical aspect. Sure, it’s important, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. If he’s only ever interested in sex and doesn’t really care about what’s going on in your life, you need to ask yourself whether or not he’s really invested in this relationship. The chances are that he’s not.

If you’ve only just gotten together, this shouldn’t be one of the major signs of a toxic boyfriend by itself. However, if it’s been a while and you feel like you’re being hidden away from friends and family members, ask yourself why.

While there’s no need to shout from the rooftops about a relationship, there’s no need to keep it shrouded in mystery, either.

When you’re out or spending quality time together, is he always on his phone? Does he rarely look up when you speak? It’s something we’re all guilty of occasionally, but if it’s a common thing then you have to question if he’s even bothered about hearing what you have to say.

Not being present in the moment in any situation is rude, but it’s definitely disrespectful in a relationship.

Do you feel like he often holds you back? If so, that’s one of the signs of a toxic boyfriend right there! Your boyfriend is supposed to be your number one supporter, just as you are supposed to be his.

If he tries to dissuade you from going for your dreams or from trying anything new, it’s not out of concern – it’s because he wants to keep you in your little box away from success and everything you deserve.

It’s normal to help one another out occasionally, but if he’s always borrowing cash from you and never giving it back, ask yourself what’s going on.

You’re not his personal cash machine, and he needs to get off his ass and fix his situation.

Are you always coming up with date ideas or suggestions of things to do, but he never does? Do you often buy small, thoughtful gifts, but it’s never reciprocated?

Perhaps you just feel like everything is totally out of balance and you’re the one pushing the relationship along? That’s because he’s not trying and being nothing short of toxic instead.

Be careful of this one, because it could be a sign that you’re around a narcissist. This type of toxic personality will isolate you from your friends and family members so that they’re able to control you better without any outside influences.

It’s normal and healthy to spend time with friends, but there has to be a balance. I

f you two are never spending quality time together because he’s always partying it up with his buddies, then he’s not taking your relationship seriously and he’s seriously disrespecting you.

These signs of a toxic boyfriend are the most obvious red flags you need to watch out for. Don’t panic if you occasionally only see one sign.

Everyone can be a little thoughtless once in a while, but if you see more than one sign over a considerable length of time, consider this a toxic relationship that you need to escape.

Toxic relationships do nothing but drag you down. They make you feel like you have nothing to fight for, pull at your self-confidence, and force you to question the relationship time and time again.

The problem is that one of the most common signs of a toxic boyfriend is that they convince you to stay by being pleasant in other ways. It’s a game of cat and mouse that is difficult to escape.

If you really do feel that you are dealing with a toxic boyfriend, ask yourself if his behavior can be genuinely changed.

Does he know what he’s doing? Does he understand that his behavior is toxic? Start a conversation and change the situation. If he refuses to see what is going on, think about leaving the relationship behind.

Rautela lvmx Heba
Answer # 2 #
  • Being stoic.
  • Being promiscuous.
  • Championing heterosexuality as the unalterable norm.
  • Being violent.
  • Being dominant.
  • Sexual aggression towards women.
  • Not displaying emotion.
  • Not being a feminist ally.
Mayuresh Sands
Answer # 3 #

Toda, you and I are in for an awkward, yet enlightening conversation. It might be difficult to make it to the end, but once you do, you will thank me. Identifying toxic traits in a loved one is never easy. But to acknowledge the problem is the first step towards solving it. I’m here to help you identify the 13 traits of a toxic boyfriend and 3 steps you can take to deal with it.

Since the subject of unhealthy relationships is complex and the solutions are challenging in nature, I reached out to one of the best in the field – Dr Aman Bhonsle (PhD). He has weighed in with a few dynamite insights as well as witty observations from his practice as a relationship psychotherapist.

Let’s get the red carpet rolling for these red flags, aka toxic traits in a boyfriend…

Hold the phone for just one minute. The word ‘toxic’ has become a household staple. Every person out there has their own idea of what constitutes ‘toxic behavior’. This subjectivity is risky, because anything and everything can be pegged as toxic these days.

That’s why the answer to ‘What makes an ex toxic?’ differs from person to person. For the purpose of our conversation, let us understand that ‘toxic’ means any behavior or action that can be physically or emotionally detrimental to others around us. If someone’s conduct has a negative impact on us, they are showcasing toxic traits.

A person who likes pineapple on pizza is not toxic, let’s be realistic here. But a person that gaslights and manipulates us certainly is. Dating an individual who displays such behavior can take a toll on us and negatively impact the relationship. Here are 13 signs of a toxic boyfriend that will give you a fresh perspective about your partner.

Keep an eye out for the truth bombs I’m about to drop. Let’s delve deeper into the toxic traits in a boyfriend so you can correctly answer the question – “Is he a toxic boyfriend?”

Need I really say more? Does your boyfriend ‘allow’ you to do things? Is he aware of the fact that you don’t need his permission? Does he censor what you wear and where you go? Then why, my dear woman, are you tolerating this misogyny?

A sexist partner automatically means an unequal relationship. There is an imbalance of power because he is an entitled person who disregards women. A dynamic between two people must ALWAYS be on equal footing or else it can lead to an intense power struggle in a relationship.

I urge you to remember that sexism is not just derogatory remarks, but also discriminatory compliments like “You’re not like other women” or “You drive pretty well for a woman,” or “You’re so wife material.” These are all examples of ‘benevolent sexism’ and should not be casually ignored.

Dr Bhonsle puts it best when he says, “A bully is the most toxic person to be around. He never lets you be your own person, and walks all over your authenticity.”

A toxic boyfriend always wants to have his own way. Compromise is an alien concept to him and that itself is one of the biggest toxic partner straits. If you want to have Chinese for dinner and he wants pizza, guess what – it’s going to be pizza for dinner. This is the case with most decisions of your relationship.

This is exactly why you should consider ending toxic relationships. A relationship should be a healthy balance between what two people want. Being cognizant of your partner’s wishes and opinions is a must-have relationship quality. Toxicity is imposing your will on your partner.

The ability to take accountability is perhaps the most underrated trait in people. You know what I find attractive in a man? His ability to own up to his mistakes, because this is a must-have relationship quality to keep a relationship afloat. A person who places blame on everything external, is an unhealthy human being and frankly someone who will be very difficult to be in a relationship with.

Say you and your boyfriend are on a drive. He runs a red light, and is pulled over by the cops. It’s clearly his fault that he’s gotten a ticket, but he begins to rant about the unfairness of the situation. The light switched halfway, and I had already crossed over. This is a crystal-clear example of his incapacity to just say, “my bad.” Ask yourself frankly, do you really want to be with someone who is this way?

An individual like this will project his issues, never introspect, and will definitely not see your side of things. When someone is too invested in making sure they’re always right, they can never actually be the right person to date. These early signs of a toxic relationship are easy to miss in the beginning or during the rosy honeymoon period but can lead to serious relationship problems in the future.

Cheating is the worst thing one can put their partner through, because being cheated on facing betrayal in a relationship causes feelings of inadequacy. Flirting with other women, or checking them out are also noxious (not to mention sexist) behaviors.

“He’ll keep telling you that it’s all innocent, and he’s just ‘having some fun’. Why does he need to have fun at the expense of your feelings and respect?” Dr. Bhonsle remarks and hits the mark again!

If you’ve been making excuses for your boyfriend’s two-timing tendencies, please understand that he’s not being half as considerate as you are. If you two have decided to be in an exclusive relationship, what further discussion does there need to be? You simply should not stand him going out with someone else. These toxic traits in a boyfriend will turn your life upside down.

If he puts himself first and you also put him first – girl, what about you?

One of the general toxic partner traits is that he doesn’t JUST criticize you, he thinks his criticism is of supreme importance. If it were up to him, he would start a blog commenting on your decisions. Let’s remember what Benjamin Disraeli wrote, “How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.”

Dating a toxic partner often feels like being put under a microscope. You can do nothing right. No matter how hard you try, they will succeed in finding faults. Needless to say, this is a claustrophobic environment to live in, and a warning sign of a toxic relationship.

And if you notice very carefully, your boyfriend will not have the gall to take any criticism himself. What do toxic boyfriends do? They will get defensive like lightning. Interesting…toxic, but interesting.

So, how to deal with a toxic boyfriend who is the critic of the year? Should you start considering breaking up with a toxic boyfriend? Keep reading to find out.

Each person thinks that they know themselves best. Even you, with your toxic relationship, believe that you know what you’re doing. After all, how can someone else know what’s better for us?

Hmmm, the team of psychologists at Washington University disagree. Their study has revealed that people around us know our behavior patterns and tendencies better. They are objective in their assessment of us – no distortions in those perceptions!

Hence, if your family and friends are consistently dubious of your boyfriend, if your bestie and your mom keep telling you to ‘think things over,’ then you may have something to worry about. Ever so often, your well-wishers notice the signs of a toxic boyfriend before you do.

Dr. Bhonsle says, “Life is not a Katy Perry song” and I could not agree more with him. Consistency in behavior is an indicator of a healthy person. A toxic individual fluctuates between being affectionate, and then pulling away.

Maybe your boyfriend withdraws affection as a ‘punishment’. Maybe he ‘rewards’ you with love. Maybe he gives you silent treatment at times to teach you a lesson. The problem with this mechanism is his need to get you to act how he wants. He rewards what HE thinks is appropriate.

This flag is redder than Snow White’s apple. Do you even have to ask ‘is he a toxic boyfriend’?

“A good partner is someone who supports you even when they don’t understand what you’re all about.” Listen to Dr. Bhonsle, he’s met with enough couples to identify a toxic trait when he sees it.

So, your boyfriend plays mind games and manipulates you under the garb of calling it ‘love’. He exerts his dominance by force, and you’re covering up the bruises. Is he a toxic boyfriend? YES, he is.

Abuse can be emotional, or physical in nature, and has lasting consequences in both forms. An abusive partner literally decreases your lifespan with the amount of stress he generates in you. I don’t care how good the sex may be, that kind of stress never going to be worth it.

My close friend, Molly, was dating a man who used subtle physical moves to ‘mark his authority’. He’d grab her hand just a little too tightly, squeeze her shoulder, or tower over her. Things like these go unnoticed, but pay attention to their intensity as well as frequency. Your toxic boyfriend is making your life hell.

Do you sometimes think you’re dating a censor board? This is one of the top signs of a toxic boyfriend who is overprotective. A partner who monitors everything you say or do, is not comfortable with your true self. This makes it one of the biggest toxic partner traits.

If he does not accept you for who you are, he’ll try and fashion you into a version he approves of. But we can’t customize our better halves – that’s just not how it works. So maybe your boyfriend needs a lesson or two in individuality.

Look at a relationship like a Venn diagram. The two individual circles are you and your partner. The common area where they intersect is your relationship. Is your individual circle being encroached upon? Just an eight-course meal for thought.

A classic sign of a toxic boyfriend, is your constant hope that he’ll improve. Just some more time, you think. A month or more and he’ll get it together. I point you in the direction of Elizabeth Gilbert’s words: “You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughta be.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of optimism. But there’s also something called ‘unrealistic optimism,’ and that’s just being silly. You’ve given him plenty of opportunities to follow through on the promises he makes. Just because you’ve fallen deeply in love, doesn’t mean you should lose every ounce of rationality.

Flush those false hopes away, and scrutinize whether he’s made any real progress or not. Life is short, don’t pin your hopes on someone who doesn’t want to become a better person.

Dr. Bhonsle adds, “In my experience, dramatic transformations seldom happen. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you will change. Change is a conscious choice that we make. If the choice hasn’t been made yet, what are the chances it will be made in the future?”

I think the internet has enough articles that talk about the importance of communication in a relationship, so I won’t hash them out again. But I’ll tell you what constitutes unhealthy communication patterns.

What do toxic boyfriends do when it’s time to communicate? Here it goes. Refusal to have difficult conversations, avoiding any topics of depth or substance (what the future holds, where the relationship stands or is heading, etc.), raising the volume during arguments, stooping down to personal attacks, holding grudges for prolonged periods, or being passive aggressive, are all signs of a toxic boyfriend.

You both just can’t stop fighting. This is a problem which can be worked on through relationship counseling. Provided your boyfriend is willing to do so and if he has any of those toxic partner traits, then I highly doubt it…

No relationship can sustain itself on the efforts of one partner. It’s just not feasible. If you think that you’ve been trying to make things work for a while, with zero reciprocity from your boyfriend’s end, then your relationship is in quicksand.

What makes an ex toxic or what are the early signs of a toxic relationship? One-sided efforts. One-sided efforts can only go so far. Chances are that you’ll lose yourself in the process of trying to save your relationship. God, toxic boyfriends make life hell. This is precisely why you ought to consider ending toxic relationships.

Neglecting the bond you share and not doing the work it needs, is a sign of indifference, or worse, inconsideration. Is he a toxic boyfriend? I think so. Is ending this toxic relationship a good idea? 10/10 yes.

The ultimate toxic trait is his inability to place his trust in you. He’s insecure and jealous almost all of the time. Allow me to fling a cliché your way – trust is the foundation of every relationship.

Moreover, he can’t be fully honest with you about his own self. He never shows you his vulnerable side and, as a result, your relationship lacks depth. In order for a relationship to work, you have to know each other’s flaws and strengths. With this kind of a dynamic in play, even you’ll end up having a tough time trusting him and developing trust issues of your own!

I came across this brilliant quote by Ashley Lorenzana last week: “The easiest way to gain someone’s trust is to deserve it. This should be pretty easy, assuming you’re just being you and being real. Minimal effort too.”

How many of these signs of a toxic boyfriend did you check? I think I can easily predict your next question – how to deal with a toxic boyfriend? Dr. Bhonsle and I have the answers you need. Let’s proceed to the three steps you can take when you’re in the toxic boyfriend pickle.

Figuring out how to deal with toxic traits in a boyfriend is not that complex. It is challenging, but simple. Dr. Bhonsle has broken it down in three steps you can take. Even if you intend on breaking up with a toxic boyfriend, these steps are integral to comprehend.

Getting right to the point, Dr. Bhonsle says that the first step is always introspection. “You need to question your own standards (or their non-existence) when you find yourself in a toxic relationship. Are you usually attracted to these kinds of men? Is there a repetition here?”

Elaborating on the behavior patterns we all fall back into, he talks about recurring ‘themes’ in our lives. “Are certain themes repeating themselves? Emotional themes, relationship themes, career-related themes? Can you spot them happening? And if you can, why don’t you ask yourself the ‘why’ behind them. WHY am I prone to these themes? WHY do I attract (and am attracted to) a certain sort of men?”

You need to take some time off and sit with yourself. Evaluate if you’re low on self-esteem, if you are seeking validation externally. Why are you comfortable being a doormat? Do you possess certain self-sabotaging behaviors? Work on rebuilding your sense of self-worth and dignity before worrying about the things toxic partners say or do.

After your conversation with yourself, decide if you need to seek professional help. Learning to become more assertive and standing up for yourself take time to master and get a grip on. You have to unlearn and re-learn.

“Therapy helps you understand better. You can see for yourself what holds you back. A pattern recognized, is a pattern quarter solved.” Dr. Bhonsle also explains how relationship problems with a toxic partner are resolved when we start working on ourselves. The world is cruel and people are inconsiderate. It’s deeply unfortunate that they are, but that’s the way it is. You have to stand up for yourself because no one else will.”

You can also go in for relationship counseling with your boyfriend to heal a toxic relationship, but that comes after you’ve decided whether you want to continue things with him or not. Do you want to get rid of your toxic boyfriend? This leads us to our next step – risk assessment.

The final thing to do is evaluate if the relationship is worth your time and efforts. Dr. Bhonsle says, “We pay for everything with time. It’s the most precious currency in the world. Decide if the relationship, and by extension your boyfriend, deserves this currency of yours.”

You’re saying that the toxic boyfriend is making life hell, but still dating him. What do you have to lose if you continue this relationship? Is the risk very great? If the answer to this is a yes, then leave your toxic partner and prioritize yourself. “Look out for the relationship by all means. But also look out for yourself.” If ending a toxic relationship is the wise choice (albeit a painful one), we should not hesitate to make it.

This boils down to the question of whether you see a happy and healthy future with them. Is the long-term viable? Do you want to get rid of the toxic boyfriend?

So many questions only you can answer.

I have a feeling that you’ve got a lot on your mind after reading this as you are trying to think of the early signs of a toxic relationship in your own partner. Make yourself a cup of coffee, or two, and have a good thinking session. I trust you to make a good decision, and you’re equipped with all the info you need! And if you’re still perplexed, then we’ve got your back. Bonobology has a skilled panel of counselors that are only a click away and can help you deal with all your worries. My very best wishes to you – adieu!

Rafey Sidana
Answer # 4 #

Aurora New Dawn is a feminist led charity dedicated to ending violence against women and children, and hidden violence. Since 2011, Aurora New Dawn has offered safety, support, advocacy, and empowerment to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking. We offer a variety of services and are involved in supporting feminist campaigns to end male violence against women.

Our work is guided by the principles set out in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW, often referred to as an international bill of rights for women.

You can help Aurora raise vital funds to support victims and survivors of abuse:

Overall, as the previous behaviour shows, it can be seen that Toxic Masculinity will repeatedly reject femininity in all its supposed forms. When a man smashes against gender norms or supports femininity, it has a stigma attached. ‘Real men’ cannot behave in that way. If they do, these men will be abused, shamed or humiliated by a society embarrassed by the fact they are not conforming to masculine ideals.

This sends out a clear core belief of toxic masculinity: femininity is seen to be lesser than masculinity.

From showing emotion to carrying out household chores to supporting feminism, a man who does this is branded unmanly and rejected by toxic masculine followers. It seems bizarre, but when I do something as trivial as going to work and drink from my wife’s pink reusable coffee cup, I always receive a string of ‘friendly’ jibes from my colleagues… because it is pink… unbecoming of a man… and I must be less of a man for drinking from it.

When a young boy decides that he wants to look pretty and put on a dress then appear socially, he is often shamed and humiliated. Young boys are often guided by their parents away from expressing emotion or entering into open communication. All this an attempt by the parent to protect them from a negative social reaction, bullying or harassment.

Why is it that masculinity and femininity are not given the same equal value, why is it unacceptable for a child to wear whatever they want without being pigeon holed?

Toxic masculinity corrupts the concept of what it means to be a man, misrepresenting it to society and encouraging/condoning appalling behaviour. It exists as a social construct that hides/excuses/dismisses it and enables it to continue. It is incredibly destructive to its followers. There are numerous findings on the negative impact of conforming to the aforementioned Toxic Masculinity norms:

In order to address the problem of toxic masculinity, it must first be recognised that it is a problem. Masculinity is not intrinsically a bad thing and can hold many aspirational characteristics, such as being the protector, being strong and courageous.Furthermore, studies have shown that masculine and feminine role models complement each other in childrearing.

But… and it is a big ‘but’, toxic masculinity holds no place in a civilized world. It is the worst embodiment of masculinity. It is masculinity on steroids and it is epidemic.

It is absolutely necessary to address the elephant in the room and acknowledge that there is a connection between issues such as violence and sex based oppression. Few will be surprised to hear that males commit nearly 90% of violent crimes in the USA.

Aggression and violence in males are frequently attributed to the need for men to fulfil masculine ideals. These ideals being the distorted ones of toxic masculinity: supress emotion, assert dominance, defend your masculinity when threatened, use violence to prove your masculinity and exert power and control.

Men who conform to toxic masculinity norms are much more likely to engage in violence against women. This is further supported by the fact that in 2017, the World Health Organisation reported that 38% of murders of women were by an intimate male partner.

Those who conform to the toxic masculinity standard use the institutionalisation of toxic masculinity to protect their positions. By perpetuating its myth, by practising its values, powerholders can defend their positions in a male hierarchy. If men look up at hyper-masculine men with admiration, they will not criticise their behaviour.

It is only when men take a stand against this behaviour, reject aggression, dominance and all the other toxic masculine characteristics as masculine norms that the hierarchy will crumble.

I think we can all agree with the American Psychological Association when they state:

Men are the disciples of toxic masculinity, men are the perpetrators of violence against women, men are responsible for taking stock of their actions and correcting their course.

We know that what is considered gender appropriate behaviour shifts over time, that what is deemed masculine or feminine is acculturated,men have the power to change their destiny and the identity of masculinity.

dyzmwg Krishna
Answer # 5 #

Depending on the nature of the relationship, signs of toxicity can be subtle or highly obvious, explains Carla Marie Manly, PhD, author of “Joy from Fear.”

When you’re in a toxic relationship, you might not always find it easy to notice the red flags popping up. All the same, you could notice some of these signs in yourself, your partner, or the relationship itself.

“Healthy relationships are based on a mutual desire to see the other succeed in all areas of life,” Caraballo says. But when things turn toxic, every achievement becomes a competition.

In short, the time you spend together no longer feels positive. You don’t feel supported or encouraged, and you can’t trust them to show up for you. Instead, you might get the impression that your needs and interests don’t matter, that they only care about what they want.

Instead of kindness and mutual respect, most of your conversations are filled with sarcasm or criticism and fueled by contempt — a predictor of divorce.

Do you catch yourself making snide remarks to your friends or family members? Maybe you repeat what they said in a mocking tone when they’re in another room. You may even start dodging their calls, just to get a break from the inevitable arguments and hostility.

While it’s perfectly fine to experience a little envy from time to time, Caraballo explains it can become an issue if your envy keeps you from thinking positively about your partner’s successes.

The same goes for jealousy. Yes, it’s a perfectly natural human emotion. But when it leads to constant suspicion and mistrust, it can quickly begin to erode your relationship.

Does your partner ask where you are all the time? Maybe they become annoyed or irritated when you don’t immediately answer texts or text you again and again until you do.

These behaviors might stem from jealousy or lack of trust, but they can also suggest a need for control — both of which can contribute to relationship toxicity. In some cases, these attempts at control can also suggest abuse (more on this later).

Holding on to grudges and letting them fester chips away at intimacy.

“Over time, frustration or resentment can build up and make a smaller chasm much bigger,” Caraballo notes.

Note, too, whether you tend to nurse these grievances quietly because you don’t feel safe speaking up when something bothers you. If you can’t trust your partner to listen to your concerns, your relationship could be toxic.

You find yourself constantly making up lies about your whereabouts or who you meet up with — whether that’s because you want to avoid spending time with your partner or because you worry how they’ll react if you tell them the truth.

Being chronically late, casually “forgetting” events, and other behaviors that show disrespect for your time are a red flag, Manly says.

Keep in mind that some people may truly struggle with making and keeping plans on time, so it may help to start with a conversation about this behavior. If it’s not intentional, you might notice some improvement after you explain why it bothers you.

Sharing finances with a partner often involves some level of agreement about how you’ll spend or save your money. That said, it’s not necessarily toxic if one partner chooses to spend money on items the other partner doesn’t approve of.

It can be toxic, though, if you’ve come to an agreement about your finances and one partner consistently disrespects that agreement, whether by purchasing big-ticket items or withdrawing large sums of money.

Ordinary life challenges that come up — a family member’s illness, job loss — can create some tension in your relationship, of course. But finding yourself constantly on edge, even when you aren’t facing stress from outside sources, is a key indicator that something’s off.

This ongoing stress can take a toll on physical and mental health, and you might frequently feel miserable, mentally and physically exhausted, or generally unwell.

Going along with whatever your partner wants to do, even when it goes against your wishes or comfort level, is a sure sign of toxicity, says clinical psychologist Catalina Lawsin, PhD.

Say they planned a vacation that will take you out of town on your mom’s birthday. But when they asked you what dates were convenient, you emphasized that any dates were fine — as long as you didn’t miss your mom’s birthday on the 17th.

You don’t want to point this out, since you don’t want to start a fight. So you say, “Great! I’m so excited.”

You’ve stopped spending time with friends and family, either to avoid conflict with your partner or to get around having to explain what’s happening in your relationship.

Alternatively, you might find that dealing with your partner (or worrying about your relationship) occupies much of your free time.

In a toxic relationship, you might let go of your usual self-care habits, Lawsin explains.

You might withdraw from hobbies you once loved, neglect your health, and sacrifice your free time. This might happen because you don’t have the energy for these activities or because your partner disapproves when you do your own thing.

You might stay in the relationship because you remember how much fun you had in the beginning. Maybe you think that if you just change yourself and your actions, they’ll change as well.

You worry that by bringing up problems, you’ll provoke extreme tension, so you become conflict avoidant and keep any issues to yourself.