7 warning signs of a toxic relationship you might be missing

When a relationship starts becoming toxic, you might not even notice it at first.

Trust me, been there, done that—and I have the emotional scars to prove it.

Fortunately, I now have the rare (and occasionally annoying) skill to spot toxicity from a mile away!

In my experience, I have found that toxicity doesn’t appear with flashing lights and loud sirens. Nope.

Rather, it is way, way stealthier than that. 

It can be like a quiet little cat, sneaking in through the window in the night—or across various nights. (Of course, this little feline ninja is not wearing a bell, so you will never hear its approach.)

The toxicity might first reveal itself with your partner issuing you an off-hand, passive-aggressive comment, and then trickle into you blowing up about when you spotted them talking to a rather attractive stranger at CrossFit.

Fortunately, this kind of stuff doesn’t need to spell out the bitter end for the relationship. 

In fact, spotting the often subtle signs of toxicity is the very first step to reclaiming the joy in your relationship.

Let’s start with a big one that is actually little: everyday arguments.

1) Small, everyday arguments are always popping up

When you start sweating the small stuff in the relationship, it is never a good sign. Take it from me.

But what is the “small” stuff, you ask? Well, this might be you and your partner constantly arguing about little things such as not refilling the ice tray or losing socks in the laundry.

Of course, the solution isn’t to get an automated ice maker or buy about 20 new pairs of unisex woolen socks from Uniqlo—the solution is to not sweat it.

And if you can’t do that, talk about it in a healthy, calm manner.

This is because healthy, strong relationships thrive on this communication style where you can strike middle ground with one another and constantly develop new understandings of each other. 

So, if you’re stuck in a cycle of endless little, trivial arguments, it isn’t healthy—and there might be something toxic lurking underneath all the fights about ice trays and socks.

2) Jealousy and possessiveness have become commonplace in the relationship

I remember one particular partner I had who would get overly paranoid about someone of the opposite sex casting a glance my way, or even when I received an innocuous text from a friend. 

It was suffocating. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a major red flag waving at me, trying to warn me that things might be getting a bit toxic between us.

If you have been putting up with similar levels of possessiveness in the relationship, or maybe even dishing it out yourself, take it as a clear signal that things might be getting a bit too much.

Jealousy and possessiveness tend to come from an inner feeling of being insecure and distrusting, so if these traits keep manifesting in the relationship, it’s time to ask some tough questions and begin to do some self-work.

3) There isn’t a shared, vested interest in each other’s goals or interests 

Relationships thrive when there is mutual support and interest.

So, another underrecognized hint that your relationship might be taking a turn for the toxic is if your partner does not seem particularly bothered by your accomplishments or dreams—or even your everyday interestings or happenings.

This can hurt a whole lot, because it feels as if they have withdrawn and even checked out of the relationship emotionally.

In my past experience, this person was me. 

I had stopped asking my then-partner questions about their day, and I had even forgotten all about the major project deadline that was approaching at work.

I found that this level of disinterest could ultimately be very toxic as it can seep into all other parts of the relationship.

Ultimately, it was a sign for me to take stock of my feelings for this person, and get to the bottom of why I was not being the partner I should be.

So, you might need to start by asking yourself, or your SO a few questions.

Starting with: are we both genuinely invested in each other’s goals and ambitions?

And then: do we celebrate each other’s successes in an authentic way and offer support when times are tough?

4) Conflict is rarely resolved, it just spills over into other fights 

signs youre in a toxic relationship 7 warning signs of a toxic relationship you might be missing

If you and your partner are able to fight, and that fight is able to reach a rapid end, that might not be the win that you think.

It might actually be very toxic. 

Why? Because every conflict needs a good debrief and winding down.

In other words, it is crucial that the two of you explore how each other feels and where you stand on the matter.

Without effectively talking conflict through, the underlying issues might resurface later in a different form.

This kind of resentment and unresolved drama can linger in the background, waiting for the next opportunity to whip up emotional chaos for the two of you.

You might start to feel like every disagreement is a rerun of a past fight.

5) There are very few dates anymore

Do you feel like it has been months since you and your partner went out on a date?

Maybe you used to have loads of fun, from quirky bowling nights to trips abroad. But lately, it just feels like your quality time together has massively dwindled.

If you’re skipping out on date nights, boredom and resentment might be settling in. 

This is because our relationships need variety and spontaneity to thrive. Who wants to live life on repeat? Not me!

If it feels like forever ago since you had a hot, hot date, it’s not too late to try and bring back the spark.

Plan a romantic dinner date at the local French bistro, try a new picnic spot in the woods, or go on a spontaneous weekend trip somewhere new.

6) There is little interest in spending time with each other’s friends and family

It’s super normal to want to share your world with your SO—and that includes friends and family. 

But if either of you begin avoiding family get-togethers or acting like a solo act at friends’ parties, something might be awry.

If one of you is content with keeping their world totally separate, it leaves room for you two to drift apart and for toxicity to creep on in (like the little black cat!).

Of course, it could just be a simple sign of one of you needing more space and room to grow, but if there is the feeling that the connection is getting weaker—do take it as a warning sign, and act on it.

7) Communication is snappy, terse, and loaded with everyday resentment 

If your everyday back-and-forth has become weighted down with a different tone, sharpness, or nagging that leaves you questioning things, the relationship might well be in toxic waters.

When communication takes this jarring turn, it points towards a much-deeper issue: a lack of respect and understanding.

Healthy communication involves not just the words we say but how we say them.

As such, your communication with each other ought to be filled with love and kindness—whether you are asking them to walk the dog or chatting about the morning’s news.

Final thoughts

If you feel like your relationship has taken a toxic turn, then I feel for you—I really do.

Those little, pointless arguments have become indicative of deeper issues simmering underneath it all.

Plus relationships thrive on shared experiences, like dates, so when they’re missing, the relationship can quickly slip into monotony and neglect.

Most importantly, investing in each other’s dreams is key—when the genuine investment fades, so does the connection.

All in all, recognizing these tell-tale signs is the first step to enacting real change for the two of you.

Learn to develop healthier communication patterns, shake things up with exciting, dynamic dates, and remember, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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