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10 Signs of a Toxic or Unhealthy Relationship

by Lea B.

Most times, we hear about domestic violence and curse in agitation. We quickly say that so and so did not deserve such cruel treatment from their spouse and they could do better.

The truth is, most people do not realize that they are in unhealthy relationships until it is too late. It is easy to recognize an unhealthy relationship if you are not in one. However, people in unhealthy relationships have a hard time realizing that they are dancing with the devil.

Others remain in unhealthy relationships hoping that their spouse will change for the better. The reality is that no matter how many second chances you give your boyfriend or girlfriend, they will never change if toxicity is rooted deep in their DNA.

Toxic or unhealthy relationships can quickly escalate to verbal or physical violence. While it is true that no one ever wishes to be in an unhealthy relationship, most people in such relationships suffer because they turn a blind eye on signs that are written on the wall.

Warnings by friends and relatives fall on deaf ears, and before they know it, they are already victims of domestic abuse. To avoid being in an unhealthy relationship, you should know about the signs of abusive spouses. Always be on the lookout and avoid giving too many second chances before the worn eats too deep into the flesh.

You may be putting too much effort into your relationship; the question is, are you busy filling a leaking bucket?

Let’s find out. Below are ten signs of an unhealthy relationship.

1. Jealousy

jealous toxic relationship
Jealousy is a bad sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Toxic relationships don’t always involve emotional or physical abuse. Although these are red flags, some traits such as jealousy are a thing to look out for.

Jealousy has been the fall of kings and prominent people. It has ended precious lives and has been among the leading causes of mental breakdowns.

A jealous spouse is like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Jealous spouses can do anything, including moving mountains, to wreck your life.

Do not fall victim to the popular myth that a jealous spouse is a caring spouse. This is far from the case. Jealous spouses are obsessive. They want to control who you interact with and are suspicious of your every movement.

They always want to know where you are, who you are with; they read your texts or emails. Jealous partners are too possessive. They always feel threatened and lash out when you get defensive and tell them that someone is just a friend or colleague.

They always accuse you of cheating or flirting while this is not the case. Some go as far as stalking you.

If you note that your partner has these traits. Cleverly flee from them before it is too late.

2. Lack of Communication

Unhealthy relationships lack of communication.
Unhealthy relationships lack of communication.

Good and effective communication in a relationship is like a diamond covalent bond. Your relationship cannot be broken when you frequently communicate with each other. Communication is the backbone of a healthy relationship.

Good communication is not all about the regular ‘hellos,’ ‘good morning’ or ‘how are you holding up.’ Proper communication in a healthy relationship involves knowing about each other’s’ feelings, knowing your partner’s fears and insecurities. It requires constant assurance that you are there for your partner through thick or thin.

A loving and caring partner will go out of his or her way to find out what is bugging you and how you can fix your problem. If you find that your partner is distant and not as communicative as they used to be, or if you are the one putting all the effort to reach out, put an end to your relationship before you become emotionally drained.

3. Dishonesty

Unhealthy relationship partners are dishonest with each other.
Unhealthy relationship partners are dishonest with each other.

Openness and honesty in a relationship are crucial. Being too sneaky and constant lies are red flags. Such traits indicate that your spouse is hiding something from you.

Your partner will quickly lose trust in you when they find that you have been hiding things from them, even if you seem to think that such things don’t matter. Relationships, where partners keep things from each other, don’t last.

Your relationship will always suffer if you don’t open up and share about the important things going on in your life. If you find it hard to share something with your partner, or if you feel that they are lying or cannot open up, it’s high time you move on with your life.

4. Two-Faced

Two-faced partners are dangerous.
Two-faced partners are dangerous.

Two-faced people are worse than your enemies. They pose as your caring friends while they are busy taking ill behind your back. A two-faced spouse can easily backstab or turn against you.

If you realize that your partner says something and is quick to not own up to his or her words, you might be in a toxic or an unhealthy relationship.

People who act differently when you are with them then their behavior changes when you are both around other people are like a two-faced sword that you should be wary of.

5. Unforgiving

Unhealthy relationships don't forget mistakes.
Unhealthy relationships don't forget mistakes.

Healthy relationships are all about moving on and forgetting past ills done to you by your partner. Unhealthy relationships involve partners who keep on bring up past issues even though you apologized sincerely about your mistake.

Past misdeeds should not be brought up unless you have repeated the same mistake again and again. If you realize that you have wronged your partner and you beg for forgiveness and all you receive is rejection, move on with your life.

Being in a relationship where your partner is unforgiving is mentally draining and remaining in such a relationship can take a toll on your health.

6. Sabotage

Sabotage is common on unhealthy relationships.
Sabotage is common on unhealthy relationships.

Sabotage in unhealthy relationships mostly involves couples or partners who live together. Sabotage by a toxic partner includes all his or her efforts to ruin your success, achievement, or reputation.

Sabotage can be in the form of your partner deflating your tires so that you are late for work, talking behind your back or threatening to share your private affairs on social media platforms. Partners who repeatedly do such things should be avoided like a deadly plague.

7. Not Owning Up to Mistakes

Unhealthy relationship partners don't accept their mistakes.
Unhealthy relationship partners don't accept their mistakes.

Unhealthy relationships involve couples or a partner who never owns up to his or her mistakes. They are quick to deny wrongdoing and they will even swear by their lives that they are blameless even if they have been caught red-handed.

Reasonable partners own up to mistakes and look for ways to make up for them. They are sincerely sorry when they have wronged you, and they avoid repeating the same mistake willfully.

If your partner blames you or others for their mistakes, it’s a sign that you should move on. Sincere couples in healthy relationships take responsibly for their mistakes without being urged to do so.

8. Public Criticism

Unhealthy relationships criticize each other in public.
Unhealthy relationships criticize each other in public.

If your partner always criticizes you in front of other people who have nothing to do with your shortcoming, it is a sign that he or she does not value and respect you.

We all make mistakes: man is to error. However, if your partner truly loves, values, and respects you, he or she will take up an issue with you behind closed doors. Exposing each other’s dirty linen in public is an indication of an unhealthy relationship.

9. Verbal and Physical Abuse

abusive relationship problems
Abusive relationship problems

Verbal and physical abuse should be where you draw the line to an unhealthy relationship. Verbal abuse is emotional abuse that often leads to physical abuse if tolerated.

Although abusive words do not break bones, they have the same effects as death by a million stings. A verbally abusive partner will try to control and manipulate you through degradation and shaming. Never endure verbal abuse to feel worthwhile.

On the other side, threatening to use violence or physical violence is an indication of a dead relationship. Physical abuse can be anything from shoving, punching, slapping, hitting, kicking, smacking, or forced sex.

Never tolerate physical abuse. Giving a physically abusive partner a second chance is handing him or her more control over you.

Verbal and physical abuse are the clearest signs of unhealthy relationships. Once there is physical abuse in a relationship, there is nothing left for it to grow.

10. Threatening to Leave

Unhealthy relationship partners threaten to leave.
Unhealthy relationship partners threaten to leave.

There is no balance in a relationship where one partner threatens to leave the other partner in a bid to manipulate or control them. Relationships without a balance are unhealthy.

There is no sense of security where you constantly walk on eggshells worrying that your actions may make your partner walk away and leave you out in the cold.

If your partner continually threatens to leave you, take matters into your hands, and walk away as safely as you can.


Understanding people’s behavior is crucial in figuring out if you are in an unhealthy relationship. These signs can link up in chains and slowly accumulate and affect your everyday life and performance.

Always trust your gut and follow your instincts for they are never wrong. If you note these signs, ask yourself what you want from a relationship. Ending a relationship can be tough and heartbreaking, however, your happiness is what matters.

If you walk out from an unhealthy relationship, you will eventually thank yourself for moving on with your life, and chances are high that you will find true happiness.