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Reasons to Fall out of Love with Toxic Relationships

7 min read

By Jeff Hayward

Medically Reviewed by Greg Dorter, RP

When we’re “in love” or think we’re in love with someone, it’s sometimes difficult to recognize the signs that you’re not being treated as well as you should be. Sometimes we need to take a step back or have a trusted friend point out some warning signs.

Unacceptable behavior in a relationship can be physical or psychological, and sometimes we can bury the behavior for fear of losing the relationship. However, staying in a toxic relationship can be damaging over the long-term. Here are 13 signs that you’re in an unhealthy partnership…

There’s a Lack of Communication

It’s not necessarily a bad thing when two people want to spend time on their own or are content with just being in the room together. However, when a partner no longer verbally communicates with you, it could be a sign they no longer want to confide in you, which could lead to resentment on both sides.

A lack of talking things out can lead to blow-ups (i.e., pointless fights) because feelings haven’t been expressed, notes Elite Daily. This type of fighting doesn’t lead to any solutions, adds the source. If either of you don’t want to talk or even be in the same room, it’s probably best to break it off.

You Feel Defensive All The Time

If the hairs on your neck are up and you’re always anticipating an argument or insult from your partner, then it’s time to change course. You should feel comfortable and encouraged by your significant other, not having to constantly have a shield up, points out Canadian Living magazine.

This can lead to you avoiding being around your partner, or developing a negative self-image. This is not what a relationship should be about; there are plenty of careless people out there to try and bring you down. Your partner’s company should be a safe and protected place to be.

He/She Doesn’t Encourage Your Passions

Your partner may not care about knitting or gardening, but they also won’t poke fun at the fact that you love doing those things. They will take an interest in your interests, even if it’s just to understand what makes you tick.

If you don’t feel like you’re able to enjoy your pastime or chase professional goals that will bring you fulfillment due to a lack of support from your partner, then you may be better off finding someone who will embrace your interests rather than dismissing them.

He/She Doesn’t Accept Your Flaws

Everyone has flaws, even the Dalai Lama. So don’t try to be perfect for your partner because your idiosyncrasies annoy them. There’s a certain amount of tolerance that should be built into a healthy relationship. notes that the longer we’re in a relationship, the more our “less-than-stellar qualities” will float to the surface. A good partner may open a dialogue about some of these characteristics, but will recognize you’re human and shouldn’t have to be flaw-free. He or she will motivate you to become a better person because you want to be, not because they demand it, notes the source.

They’re Not Your Brand of ‘Crazy’

Everyone has their own unique quirks, and they may not be compatible with their partner’s. In particular, some people don’t share the same sense of humor, and rather than giggling at a partner’s jokes, just roll their eyes.

If you love puns, for example, your partner should at least be able to tolerate them and even high-five you if you throw out a zinger. As the Huffington Post points out, it’s really no fun if your partner never laughs with you or gets overly serious about a situation you find amusing.

They’re Hung Up On An Ex

When you’re in a committed relationship, your partner should be all-in, and not only have one foot in the door and the other in their past life. That could indicate they’re still not over a past love, and could be consciously or unconsciously comparing you to them.

It’s unfair to have to live up to a past relationship (each has its own strengths), or be scolded for assumed behavior that your partner’s ex displayed. Talking about your ex with your current partner is okay as a mutual exercise or to help your significant other to understand some of your relationship quirks. However, neither of you should mention them constantly or be sending them daily Facebook messages.

No Acknowledgement of Your Friends/Family

No one person should be an island, and even a healthy relationship requires you and your partner to spend time with others once in a while. Dr. Nerdlove explains that although we all go through the “honeymoon” phase where we can’t get enough of each other, there should be a time when others in our lives are acknowledged too.

Dr. Nerdlove says it’s important to the health of your relationship to have relationships outside of your romantic partner. It’s a red flag if your significant other tries to sabotage plans with your friends so you’ll only spend time with them, or doesn’t respect your need to visit family or friends.

Engaging in Risky Behavior

As Psychology Today puts it, at one time in your life you might be attracted to someone who’s “bad,” but in an adult relationship, it doesn’t work so well – especially when there’s a family to support.

These bad behaviors can be anything from smoking, drinking too much, or even driving like a maniac for a thrill. If your partner is engaging in damaging behaviors, then it’s time to find a solution, or walk out the door before things get out of hand.

Not Being Truthful

This one should be pretty self-explanatory, but unfortunately it isn’t in many cases. If your partner is lying about something or holding back something from you, then it will probably feel worse when you find out about it in another way other than from their mouth, warns Psychology Today.

The source gives the advice from the perspective of the partner that is being dishonest: “Give up dishonesty, and your relationship can change very quickly. Stay with it, and your mate will lose all trust in you and your partnership.”

There’s a Lack Of Trust

Of course, this can be tied to a partner lying to you, or cheating on you for that matter. “Trust is one of the most important parts of any relationship and when you lose that, it’s almost certainly time to end the relationship,” explains

A lack of trust can be when you’re questioning your partner’s “motives, abilities and reasons all the time,” it adds. A mutual distrust on both sides can quickly bring down the foundation of the relationship, and jealousy, anger, and other negative emotions can start to replace the trust, it warns.

You Can’t Envision a Future Together

We’re not just talking about marriage, because as Lifehack says, marriage is not for everyone. However, even if you don’t plan to get married to your current partner, try to envision a life where you are married, and gauge how you feel about it. If you feel terror and dread instead of feelings of comfort and happiness, then there’s definitely a problem, it notes.

Even if you’re just looking for a serious and stable relationship, if you’re feeling “panic and fear” when you envision your future together, it could be a sign it is coming to a dead end and you should move on, even if the other person seems committed, it adds. It’s “not fair” to drag it out if you don’t think the relationship will last, says the source.

Flirting Goes Too Far

Listen – we’re not going to be totally unrealistic and say that you won’t find another human attractive, even when you’re in a stable relationship. Your partner most likely feels the same, because they’re also human (we’re assuming), but flirting can go too far and cross over to cheating.

Huffington Post says the literal dictionary term of flirting is showing attraction to someone without the intention of being taken seriously. There’s “innocent flirting,” which can be motivated by the desire to boost ego, and then there’s feeling out whether one has a chance with someone else either romantically or sexually. If your partner is keeping their flirting secret, or has started becoming emotionally intimate with someone else (confiding in them), then there could be rocks ahead in the relationship. If you’re the one doing the excessive flirting, then you should ask yourself why.

They Become Another Person

As Lifehack notes, shared ideals and dreams can shift over time, and that can make you feel like you don’t really know your partner anymore. “The final nail in any relationship’s coffin is the realization the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with is a stranger to you,” it explains.

You may still have the warm and fuzzies when you think about all the good times you had together, but if you don’t know the person you’re with anymore, then it’s probably time to get out, it notes. “Finding yourself lying next to a stranger who you used to call your one true love means you have to end the relationship, or spend years in regret and lying to him and yourself about what you really want,” it says.

RP, Registered Psychotherapist

Greg has a master's degree in counselling psychology and is a registered psychotherapist in Ontario where he's been practicing with individuals and couples for 15 years. He specializes in evidence-based treatments such as CBT and mindfulness, and produces a variety of online self-help content you can find on ( and twitter (@GregDorter).

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