It May Not Seem Obvious, But These Relationship Behaviors Are Toxic

There are so many things in relationships that might seem totally normal: people in movies, books, and television shows act out these behaviors all the time, and your friends might also tell you they happen in their relationships, so you think nothing of them in your own romantic endeavors. However, some of them might be huge red flags.

Here are some things that are signs that your partner is toxic.

His “Teasing” Is Mean

man looking over at woman
Photo Credit: Pexels / Trinity Kubassek
Photo Credit: Pexels / Trinity Kubassek

It’s natural for a couple to occasionally rip on each other—I mean, teasing is half of flirting—but it’s different when your partner is actually being hurtful or pointed with their remarks.

He Asks You To Cancel Plans With Others So You Can Spend More Time Together

woman texting on phone
Photo Credit: Pexels / RF Studio
Photo Credit: Pexels / RF Studio

This can come across as him simply wanting to spend more time with you, but in reality, he’s not respecting your personal boundaries and might be trying to isolate you from other loved ones so you feel more dependent on him.

He Frequently Brings Up Your Past Mistakes

close up of woman looking down
Photo Credit: Pexels / NEOSiAM
Photo Credit: Pexels / NEOSiAM

As a wise woman named Hannah Montana once said, “Everybody makes mistakes.” A partner might pretend that he’s bringing up past mistakes to keep you accountable (and, in some relationships, this is true), but he might also be holding your mistakes over you to keep you feeling guilty.

He Picks Apart Your Dreams

woman looking away from man looking angry
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ketut Subiyanto
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ketut Subiyanto

There’s such thing as constructive feedback, but this isn’t it. If your partner regularly belittles your dreams and tries to make you feel like you’re not adequate enough to achieve them, they’re toxic.

He Gets Upset When You Discuss Your Relationship Problems With Friends

two women talking over table
Photo Credit: Pexels / Christina Morillo
Photo Credit: Pexels / Christina Morillo

Of course, you shouldn’t bring your friends into the middle of a relationship, but talking to people who know you well about your relationship problems can help you gain insight from a third party. Toxic partners will limit how much you discuss your relationship with people who will tell you that your relationship is unhealthy.

He Makes Fun Of You In Front Of Other People

group of friends hanging out on couches
Photo Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova
Photo Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova

There’s poking a little fun at your partner in front of others, and then there is straight-up mocking them. He’ll say things that make you feel worse about yourself to publicly humiliate you but pass it off as “joking.”

He Regularly Tells You How You’re Living Your Life “Wrong”

woman looking over cityscape
Photo Credit: Pexels / picjumbo.com
Photo Credit: Pexels / picjumbo.com

He makes it clear that he doesn’t like your life decisions, be it who you choose to be friends with, where you buy your coffee, what job you have, your hobbies, etc. He asserts that his idea of what you should be doing is better to try and force you to follow his desires.

He Finds Excuses For His Negative Behaviors When They Hurt You

woman looks sad with head on man's shoulder
Photo Credit: Pexels / @thiszun
Photo Credit: Pexels / @thiszun

When you do confront him about the things he does that hurt you, he always has an excuse: he’s been really stressed out by work, his mental health is bad, etc. He never takes any accountability for what he does.

He Compares You To Other Women

woman with heads stacked vertically
Photo Credit: Pexels / RF Studio
Photo Credit: Pexels / RF Studio

He points out how much more attractive other women are, how he prefers how they act, or simply pointedly comments on a quality she has that you don’t—this is to make you feel inferior.

His “Honesty” Is Really Just Cruelty

woman looking upset walking away from man
Photo Credit: Pexels / Vera Arsic
Photo Credit: Pexels / Vera Arsic

He says that he’s just being “honest” when, in reality, he’s just casually dropping cruel remarks. Toxic partners do this to make you feel like you’re being unreasonable for feeling hurt.

He’s Always “Confused” When You Confront Him

man with hand on head
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

You will put together a series of coherent points on things he has done that have bothered you and even explain exactly why they did, but he’ll say things like “what do you mean?” and “I don’t understand what you’re getting at” to avoid actually acknowledging how he’s hurt you.

He Nitpicks Your Appearance

woman with plastic surgery marker on face
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Joeyy Lee
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Joeyy Lee

He doesn’t like the way you wear your makeup. He always points out when you gain or lose a little weight. He doesn’t like your new haircut. He says these things to keep you feeling hyper self-conscious and insecure.

He Justifies Behaviors You Don’t Like By Saying He Only “Does Them Out Of Love”

man kissing woman's forehead
Photo Credit: Pexels / Laura Garcia
Photo Credit: Pexels / Laura Garcia

It might be that he’s being a bit controlling or jealous, so you bring up the behavior to him, but he says he only does these things because “he loves you.” He does this to dismiss your concerns and get away with continuing to act in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.

He’s Constantly Volatile And Moody

man with half his face showing in dramatic photo
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay

His mood changes at the drop of a hat for no clear reason: one moment he’s loving and caring, then the next he’s angry and sullen. You constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells with him.

He “Apologizes” By Saying “I’m Sorry For The Way I Am”

man looking frustrated with hands on head
Photo Credit: Pexels / Nathan Cowley
Photo Credit: Pexels / Nathan Cowley

When you confront him about something he’s done, he makes it seem like you’re personally attacking him by saying it’s “just the way he is” so that he doesn’t actually have to apologize for his behavior.

The Worst Part Is That It’s Hard To Realize Things Have Gotten So Bad

silhouette of couple under moon
Photo Credit: Pexels / Luizclas
Photo Credit: Pexels / Luizclas

A toxic person rarely starts out as toxic. Slowly, over time, they go from being a person you love and trust to being someone who manipulates, controls, and hurts you, and it can be almost impossible to notice the changes at first.

Don’t Blame Yourself

Woman looking at herself in a mirror
Photo Credit: Pexels / Jessica Ticozzelli
Photo Credit: Pexels / Jessica Ticozzelli

I always thought that I was the type of strong, independent woman who would never let someone mistreat me in a relationship, then I ended up feeling culpable when I found myself in an unhealthy relationship. You’re never at fault, despite the fact your partner says that you made him act in a toxic way.

Find A Way To Objectively Check On Your Relationship

open notebook and pen
Photo Credit: Pexels / Tirachard Kumtanom
Photo Credit: Pexels / Tirachard Kumtanom

If you notice that things might be a little toxic, start making notes of what behaviors your partner is using against you and how he reacts when confronted. Toxic partners will try to gaslight you and make you feel like you’re imagining things, so a physical record can help you see things more clearly.

Think About How You Really Feel

woman and man sitting apart on a park bench
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay

Do you find that, more often than not, your interactions with your partner make you feel worse? Do you feel secure in your relationship? Be honest with yourself—your intuition and feelings are strong indicators.

You Can’t Fix A Toxic Person

silhouette of man in front of red light
Photo Credit: Pexels / Elti Meshau
Photo Credit: Pexels / Elti Meshau

As much as you might love him and want to hold onto the version of him that was good to you in the beginning, you can’t force someone to love and respect you the way they should, and you’re better off taking a step away from them.