Are you a toxic couple? This question can not only be uncomfortable but also extremely confusing. We’ve all been told over and over that it takes constant work and effort to make a relationship work. Also, that every relationship has its share of flaws. So, then, how do you decide whether flaws and shortcomings in your relationship are a result of toxic tendencies?
While it’s true that relationships require hard work, being in one should not be hard. That’s the key differentiating factor between a healthy and toxic relationship. Even in a healthy relationship, couples face their share of ups and downs, moments of difference and disagreements, fights and arguments.
But these are all intermittent and fleeting. Despite these common irritants, the relationship feels like a happy place, a safe haven to both partners. If that’s not how you feel in your relationship, it may be time you assessed whether or not you and your SO make a toxic couple.
Are You A Toxic Couple? Answer These 25 Questions To Find Out
The reason why couples have a hard time spotting the warning signs of a toxic relationship is that there is no single definition of what amounts to toxicity. Experts and psychologists often define it in different ways. While it’s easy to identify obvious toxic behavior like physical or emotional abuse, toxicity pans out on a much broader spectrum, ranging from insecurity to controlling behavior, jealousy and a sense of suffocation.
Broadly put, a toxic relationship can be defined as one that’s characterized by emotionally – and/or physically – damaging behavior on part of one or both partners. Still not sure whether you are a toxic couple or not?
Related Reading: 15 Signs You Had Toxic Parents And You Never Knew It
Take this test to find out. Each of these 25 questions carries one point. All you have to do is add a point for every question to which your answer is ‘yes’. In the end, match your tally with our results to find out if you’re toxic for each other.
Let’s get started:
1. Do you always find something wrong with each other?
It’s one thing to offer healthy criticism or give your honest opinion when asked for it, but unsolicited suggestions with negative connotations are one of the first indicators that you are a toxic partner or are in a relationship with one.
2. Do you feel drained by your relationship?
A relationship is supposed to be an invigorating element in your life. Something that brings you joy, laughter and hope. Where one look at your partner at the end of a long, hard day makes all your stress, fatigue and worries disappear.
If you feel exactly the opposite of it, you can count it among the signs of a toxic marriage or relationship. Feeling emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically drained from dealing with your partner indicates that there is something fundamentally wrong in your relationship dynamics.
3. Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around each other?
Wondering whether you have a toxic husband? Or looking for toxic wife signs? If you have responded to this question in the affirmative, you have your answer. If the atmosphere is so hostile and unpleasant when you’re both together that you have to tip-toe around each other to prevent sudden angry outbursts, there is no doubt that toxicity has taken hold.
4. Do you not trust each other?
Being in a relationship without trust is like sitting in a car without gas. You can stay in for as long as you like but it won’t take you anywhere. If due to certain past experiences – either in your current relationship or before that – you have lost the ability to trust each other, take it as one of the early warning signs of a bad relationship.
5. Does your relationship feel one-sided?
Do you find yourself stuck in a situation where you’re the only one contributing to the relationship or making an effort to keep it going? Does your partner? If either of you feels that way, there is no doubt that a healthy relationship dynamic is missing.
6. Do you belittle each other?
There is just no place for judgments where there is love. If you or your partner or the both of you judge each other and use your opinions to belittle the other person often, your partnership has toxic relationship written all over it.
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7. Do you not respect each other?
Respect is one of the most underrated elements of a healthy relationship. While not many people recognize the importance of mutual respect for forming a lasting bond, no relationship can thrive without it.
Is yours marred with disrespect instead? If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, chances are that there is a complete lack of respect in your relationship.
8. Do you avoid spending time together?
This is one of the undeniable warning signs of a toxic relationship. Whether you’re still in the early stages of your relationship, living together or married, looking for excuses to spend time apart rather than together is proof that your bond has soured to an extent that co-existence has become a problem.
9. Do you grapple with poor communication?
Do you both have a hard time conveying your true feelings and thoughts to each other? Have you given up on trying to make each other understand your perspective because experience tells you that they just won’t get it? Take note. Poor communication is one of the hallmarks of a toxic couple.
10. Do you try to control each other’s life?
Of course, we all have opinions about how certain things ought to be done. Like that wet towel should not be left on the bed every morning. But having opinions and imposing them on the other person are two different things.
If either or both of you have this uncontrollable urge to dictate terms on how the other must live their life, your relationship borders on toxic.
11. Is your relationship marked with endless drama?
You didn’t answer your phone and your partner blows their top. Or you get into a fight and walk out in the middle of the night. You tend to smash things to express your anger and frustration. The silent treatment is your standard way of handling arguments.
This endless drama that can be triggered by the smallest of things indicates that you’re in a toxic relationship.
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12. Are you changing yourself to please each other?
Do you find yourself biting your tongue or saying things you don’t believe just to appease each other and avoid yet another temper tantrum? If yes, then your relationship is damaging your sense of self.
13. Do you feel your relationship only has problems?
Sure, every relationship has its shares of problems. Every couple has their differences. But what differentiates is a toxic couple from a happy one is that for the latter these problems don’t define the relationship.
They come and go, and both partners know how to work through them without damaging the connection they share.
14. Do you feel unworthy?
Have all these problematic tendencies started to impact your sense of self-worth and self-esteem? If so, you can take it as a surefire sign that you have a toxic partner.
15. Do you feel jealous of each other?
Contrary to popular belief, a certain amount of healthy jealousy can be good for a relationship. However, in a toxic relationship, the meaning of jealousy takes on a whole other dimension.
You’re not jealous of your partner giving or receiving attention to someone other than you. You’re jealous of your partner itself. Their achievements, their success stings you and adds to your feelings of unworthiness.
Related Reading: How Do You Set Emotional Boundaries in Relationships?
16. Do you feel that saying no is not an option?
Another tell-tale sign that you’re toxic for each other is when ‘no’ becomes a bad word in the relationship. You or your partner feel compelled to comply with whatever the other person asks because you know that anything short of complete submission is going to trigger fights, temper outbursts, or even physical or emotional abuse.
17. Are you dishonest with each other?
Dishonesty becomes the refuge of those who know they will not be understood. If you know your partner disapproves of something and going against their wishes will only escalate negativity, lying, hiding things, omitting details can become commonplace.
Is that something you or your partner are guilty of? If yes, you’re already pretty down deep in the toxicity rabbit hole.
18. Do you bring out the worst in each other?
Are you and your partner civil, cordial, easy-going people, except with each other? Well, if you bring out the worst in one another, there is little room for debate that your relationship dynamic is far from healthy.
19. Do you feel like you’re settling?
One of the most telling signs of a toxic marriage or relationship is that you both feel like you’re settling for less than you deserve. Perhaps, you’ve been together a long time and somewhere along the way, the relationship turned toxic.
Now, moving on and making a fresh start seems daunting. So, you compromise and make peace with what you get. Even if, it makes you both miserable.
Related Reading: 8 Things That Ruin Relationships And You Don’t Even Realise it
20. Do you put on a façade of happiness?
Be it in front of your friends or family or even when it is just the two of you. If you smile and act like all’s perfectly well while suppressing your true feelings of angst, despair or frustration, you’re toxic for each other.
21. Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
Anyone wondering ‘am I a toxic husband’ or what are the toxic wife signs, should pay attention to any feelings of entrapment. Are you staying on in your marriage just because you have nowhere else to go? Has your spouse rendered you powerless mentally or financially?
If yes, you need to seriously think about taking control of your life again.
22. Is there a lack of support in your relationship?
Your partner is meant to be your biggest support system. Someone you can lay your heart bare to. From whining about family drama to workplace politics and your deepest fears and insecurities, there should be no hesitation in showing each other your vulnerabilities.
If you stop yourself from doing that because you know instead of supporting you, your partner will use it against you, it’s a cause for serious concern.
23. Do you manipulate each other?
This is also one of the classic tendencies of a toxic couple. From gaslighting to stonewalling, silent treatment, temper tantrums, coaxing, pleading, they use every trick in the manipulators’ playbook to have their way and prevail over each other.
Related Reading: How To Overcome Codependency In Relationships
24. Do you feel constantly undermined?
Let’s say, you ground your child for some unacceptable behavior. Your partner waltz in and overrides the decision without even consulting you. Or you’re having a meal with your friends, you cannot stop yourself from countering, negating or correcting everything your partner says.
This underhanded powerplay is a characteristic of a toxic partner.
25. Do you use intimacy as a weapon?
Physical intimacy is an important binding force between romantic partners. However, for a toxic couple, it becomes a tool to assert oneself over the other. Withholding sex as a punishment or rewarding your partner with some hot steamy action for keeping you pleased are both tenets of an unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship.
How Toxic Are You As A Couple?
Phew! We know that ought to have been quite a mentally draining test, especially if you found yourself nodding to most of the questions.
So, let’s see how you fared in our toxic couple test:
0-10: Not Toxic. You’re not a toxic couple by a far stretch. While you may have your share of ups and downs, you’re both doing a fine job of keeping the relationship healthy and thriving.
10-20: Somewhat Toxic. There are certainly some toxic tendencies in your couple dynamics but not all is lost yet. If you take the right steps now, you can salvage your relationship and find a way to be happy together.
More than 20: Dangerously Toxic You are the epitome of a toxic couple. This is not to say that either you or your partner are bad people. But one thing is certain: you’re definitely not good for each other. No matter how long you’ve been together, it’d be in your best interest to part ways and move on.
If you see the warning signs of a toxic relationship and still want to try and make it work or need help to recover from the damage this relationship has done to you, therapy can help you turn around your life. Our panel of certified counselors is only a click away.
Lack of empathy, narcissistic tendencies and unrealistic expectations are some of the common triggers that make relationships toxic.
There can be many factors at play here. From breaking each other’s trust to an inherent lack of respect or incompatibility, a host of negative relationship attribute can turn once much-in-love partners into a toxic couple.
You can try to work through your issues and give your relationship a new lease on life. However, doing so on your own can prove counterproductive. Going into couple’s therapy is your best bet.
Unless both partners are committed to changing things for the better and mindfully shunning their toxic tendencies, such relationships do not last.
Not necessarily. If both partners are willing to make changes, you can salvage a toxic relationship with the right help and guidance.