A toxic marriage is more than an occasional disagreement or bumpy road between spouses who are otherwise happy in their relationship. It can be hard to tell you’re in an unhealthy relationship, especially because some partners are better at hiding their toxic behaviors than others. Once you learn what these tendencies are, you might recognize them in your spouse.
1. Your spouse causes you to doubt yourself. Gaslighting is a sign of manipulative behavior. For example, your spouse criticizes you but disguises it in a compliment. They may follow it up by saying, “You know I’m joking.” These comments are hurtful and can cause you to doubt yourself.
2. Your spouse is controlling. Many toxic relationships stem from one person’s desire to control the other person. This can look like restricting you from having financial independence so that you have to lean on them or preventing you from having relationships with certain people.
3. Your spouse alienates you from friends and family. Do you have the freedom to see your family and friends, or does your partner prohibit it? It’s not normal for your partner to restrict you from speaking to or seeing those closest to you.
4. Your spouse is indifferent when communicating. Not paying attention or listening to your concerns is a sign of disrespect.
5. You always feel drained. Toxicity is emotionally draining, and you may feel exhausted physically and mentally.
6. You don’t go to your spouse for support. In healthy marriages, spouses lean on each other, but it’s a bad sign if you can’t go to them for emotional support.
7. Your spouse constantly lies to you. Trust and honesty are the foundation of a strong relationship. Constant lying is a sign of toxic behavior.
8. You and your spouse get in blowup fights. In a toxic environment, it’s easy for small arguments to become blown out of proportion. The fight may actually be about something else.
9. You’d rather be out than at home. If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells at home and more comfortable elsewhere, you likely have a problem.
10. You are opponents more than you’re teammates. Do you consult each other before making big decisions? Is it a “me” mentality or “we” mentality?
There are several signs that your partner may be toxic. If you feel they are, it's important to seek help. As tough as it can be to end a relationship, you deserve to feel happy.