Trust. Respect. Communication. These are but a few things that form the foundations of a solid, long-lasting relationship. The quickest way to destroy what you and your partner have built up is to distrust them, disrespect them, and refuse to tackle any issues that you might have. And it can take an outsider’s perspective to help you realize that you’re stuck in a dead-end relationship that’s making your life hell.
Redditor u/icyqueen999 turned to the r/AskReddit community and asked them about the most obvious signs that someone’s relationship is toxic, and they shared their honest opinions. We’ve collected some of their most insightful comments to share with you. Scroll down to see what they had to say.
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Bored Panda reached out to the author of the thread, u/icyqueen999, and they revealed to us what had inspired them to start the serious thread in the first place. You’ll find our interview with them below.
Holding something over the other person. Example: my friends boyfriend has to “reconsider the relationship, and if he wants to marry her” every time she does something wrong. She messed up a sauce for dinner once and he said this and “contemplated” for 3 days because “how can i marry someone who doesnt listen to my instructions”
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Redditor u/icyqueen999 was very open with Bored Panda about the reasons why they decided to start up the thread in the first place.
“Firstly, I was inspired because I was going through a toxic relationship,” they told us.
“I think my thread resonated with many people because they’ve all encountered such experiences in their lives,” the OP said, adding that the topic must have “touched a part of them” that made them instinctively want to share their own experiences.
No communication and everything is a blame game with no acceptance of responsibility
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Someone who does not let you have a life outside of the relationship and gets upset when you see friends or do hobbies you like, even if you make time for them.
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According to redditor u/icyqueen999, the strongest relationships are built on foundations that include trust, respect, and good communication. Those are the things that partners should value the most.
“Couples should be able to voice out their problems and find ways to get it fixed whether going to seek therapy or help from family or friends whom they can trust,” the redditor shared.
“I believe my post helped a lot of people find meaning and ways to overcome such negativity in their relationships.”
Moreover, the redditor noted that they “got lots of help” and feedback from all the other internet users. Some of the advice was very useful and genuinely helped them out in real-life.
When they say we need to work on our communication, but every time you bring anything up they get mad and start an argument.
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One person does all of the housework/cooking/chores/shopping/maintenance/childcare, yet the other person continues to complain that they don’t do it right.
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If you have to wait until your S/O is in a “good mood” to bring up a problem you have in the relationship (get out asap)
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According to licensed clinical psychologist Holly Schiff, if you notice a red flag in your relationship, it’s essential that you communicate with your partner. Moreover, you could also speak to your family and friends to get their perspectives on the situation.
“I think it’s just important to not be with yourself in your own head about this,” Schiff told Today that an outsider’s perspective can help you get to grips with the current state of your relationship and whether you should try to figure it out or consider ending things.
Today explains that some of the relationship red flags to be wary of include inconsistent behavior, verbal abuse, mismatched relationship goals, and excessive jealousy. Something else to keep an eye out for is a history of infidelity, a lack of effort to get to know the people you care the most about in your life, and the relationship moving way too fast. Controlling behavior, gaslighting, and being secretive are also indications that you might be in a toxic relationship.
“If they’re doing things that make you feel insecure, that’s usually a red flag,” Jennifer Klesman, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist in Chicago, told Today that a partner twisting the truth is nothing like healthy conflict.
Break up, make up, break up, make up, rinse, and repeat.
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If his wedding vows include the phrase “keep my belly full and my balls empty”.
Here’s the article and video(s)
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Lack of friends on one side. I’ve known a couple people, who one of them wouldn’t be “allowed” to have friends. Their only friends were the friends of their partner. Massive red flag.
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There is no alternative to transparency in romantic relationships. Either you’re open and honest with your partner about the most important things in your life or you’re not. However, there is a bit of a difference between secrecy and privacy. Secrecy is what you want to avoid. Meanwhile, the desire for privacy is something that’s completely natural and everyone should respect.
Broadly speaking, if some piece of information affects your partner, then you should absolutely share it with them. Try to put yourself in their shoes and see whether you yourself would like to know about what you’re hiding. However, if the info doesn’t really impact them, feel free to keep it to yourself if you’d like.
I had an abusive girlfriend many years ago. She was bipolar and it caused a lot of problems. I remember the day I realized that things were f****d. I was driving out of the work parking lot, and my phone rang. My reaction when I saw my girlfriend was calling was “aw, f**k, what am I about to get screamed at about now?” And sure enough, I answer the phone and she’s immediately screaming at me about some stupid s**t I don’t even remember.
Point is, if contact from your significant other stresses you out because you’re expecting to get yelled at, that’s a f*****g toxic relationship.
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Being yelled at/attacked for reacting to their abusive behavior.
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Based on personal experience… when you have to walk on eggshells because you’re worried about how how they might react
Say if you’re working on the Next Great American Novel, you might want to keep it a secret before you’ve put in the time and effort to get the first draft finished. On the flip side, you might feel that you need your partner’s support and decide to tell them how you’re struggling with the dialogues in Chapter 2.
But if, for example, your health is suffering and you’re having to run tests at the hospital, this is definitely something that your loved one should know because it massively impacts them. Similarly, you shouldn’t hide something as important as losing your job or that you’re constantly irritated that your partner doesn’t pull their own weight around the house when it comes to basic chores. You might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, but it’s always best to discuss these issues aloud instead of hiding them away or letting them fester.
If you find yourself feeling alone in the relationship.
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Your feelings are being invalidated, “You got mad at that?” when you say you’re upset by something that they did.
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Gaslighting. Or the idea that whatever you say can make them mad, so you start choosing every word way too carefully / end up not speaking your mind to avoid a fight
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My ex once pulled out a diary that she wanted to show me to “be open about her thoughts” and “lay them all on the table”
It was legit a full list of all the things she hated about me, written in the most deep and depressing way. About my career, lack of motivation, lack of communication, and how she doesn’t find me unattractive. Her depression, that was my fault. It was the most deeply hurtful words written in a paragraph, conscribed in a such a way that would not paint her as a bad person for saying + tears.
I get I was going through a bad patch back then (as many were after covid). But f*****g hell, looking back nobody should ever treat someone like that. End of the day, I was a 23 year old with flaws, and was still managing to hold our relationship together, we were okay.
3 months after we break up, I get offered a promotion within my company, 5 months after that I get offered another huge promotion. I went from £12k -> £25k -> £30k -> ~£55k all within the last 18 months. I haven’t changed one bit either. Still 25 yrs.
Would never usually flex, but I’m proud and the proof is in the paycheck. I’m moving home, going skiing, spending time with mates, my life is good. Turns out those words were a load of s**t.
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If someone refuses to apologize for any reason, ever. It means they put their pride before the person they are with and the relationship.
Lack of trust and constant fights.
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From personal experience:
– your partner is much nicer to you when you have a disagreement in front of friends than when you have one at home – meaning that they *know* the way they actually handle it would not be publicly acceptable
– they invalidate your emotional experience and make you feel like what you’re going through doesn’t matter or “make any sense”
– when they leave the house you feel better; if they go away for a week you feel irritable when they’re back
– they never make you feel like a priority, you’re always second or third to their friends, their parents, their hobbies
We had a friend who would not speak until after her boyfriend spoke. One night she was over for dinner without him and mentioned how her boyfriend was passionate and sometimes put his fist through their walls. After that comment she came to help me do dishes and I was like, “uh, that’s not normal. You ok? Last time I punched a wall I was a 14 year old boy…” she eventually left him but the fact that she always demurred to him, to me, is a red flag.
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Well my best friend died on my wedding day & my ex got annoyed and told me to stop crying. From a retrospect, that was kind of a red flag.
One partner always gets their way.
For me, it was “easier” to bend over backward than to deal with the whining and complaining if I stood my ground. Easier is in quotes because it was only easier in the short term – long term made life hell.
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If someone is always talking c**p about their partner whenever they are not together.
I’ve seen this far too many times, it’s always ended in total disaster withing a few years at most.
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Contemplating having kids in an effort to save or make it stronger
Being b****y to each other at group get together, I hate being around that.
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Constantly being accused of cheating. I would bring up a guy friend or a coworker and all of a sudden he’d think I’m f*****g them.
being asked not to “like” or “comment” on any of their facebook posts because their SO will flip out if they notice someone of the opposite sex is in their friend list
I’ve had one seriously toxic relationship. It was terrible.
For me, what the giveaway was simply how I felt. I realized I felt extremely invalidated constantly with my partner. I was constantly confused as to why they were either so angry or how they came to whatever conclusion they came to. Every situation was turned around on me even if I came to them with a valid concern.
And we’d get into arguments that literally went in circles. And it almost always ended with extremely passionate sex with zero resolution of the original issue.
“Mindf**k” is what I would best describe being in a toxic relationship. You know it’s bad for you yet you keep coming back for more. And you can’t fully articulate why.
For my family, how they could tell we were in a toxic relationship, is how my partner spoke about me. I didn’t pick up on it but I was told to listen how she talks about me to others. She would lift herself up while almost simultaneously putting me down. Example: “Yeah, when he’s not with me he’s just a normal guy, but when I show up all eyes are on us.”
Near the end, I noticed I would lie to friends and family about our relationship and/or defend her actions just so they could like her and so I didn’t feel ashamed for staying with someone like that.
I do not recommend. The sex wasn’t worth it.
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Deceit is the root of all evil.
Deception. Hiding things.
Finding out your partner was convicted of crimes and lied about it, or cheated in a horrific way and lied about it, lived a double life, etc.
It causes a breakup in 100% of relationships involving untruths.
Learning you’ve been conned or lied to for years – it’s not salvageable.
“They won’t let me” *LET* you??
ETA I am NOT referring to times when one is using the other to get out of something. Nor am I referring to completely reasonable “lets” like owning a pet that can’t be sustained or an obnoxious behavior being prohibited at designated times. I’m referring to “won’t let me talk to so and so” “won’t let me wear xyz” “won’t let me see family” “won’t let me go out” that kind of let not a completely reasonable let.
The what abouts in the comments are, honestly, frustrating me. The prompt is about toxic relationships. My “let” is referring to toxic relationships. So the comments being like “what about this totally healthy context” is just…grrr Please use your best judgment. That’s all I ask.
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You dread seeing them. They suck all of the joy out of a room. You feel too anxious to leave, in fear that they will hurt themselves/make it extremely difficult for you.
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A relationship founded upon chemicals (drugs).
If you constantly make compromises just to appease them and you are always the bad guy.
Inability to take a step back, listen and analyze the other persons point and actually come to a conclusion during a conflict
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“I dont do that because my girlfriend/boyfriend doesent want/like me to”
Double standards or expecting your partner to do something for you that you’d never do for them
When they are at a restaurant together and both of them are on the phone for the entire diner. And no, I don’t mean some cute elderly couples who check their phone for messages from their grandchildren, I mean couples who actively ignore each other and both seem pissed about the fact that they are spending time together.
When the only thing good about the realtionship is the sex. Let’s admit it, toxic people are really good in bed for some reason.
Keeping score. “I did this last time.” Or “You never do that.” Leads to anger at the other person for no reason.
Mine was being hit with a Doc Martin so many times that I though my arm was broken because I confronted her about her lying about cheating on her ex and then her saying if I left her she’d “beat the f**k” out of herself and tell her uncle that was a cop that I did it.
When a partner tells you ‘I don’t care, that’s just the way I am’ in response to being called out for an extremely toxic or abusive behaviour. Also if that is their response when you express feeling hurt or upset by that behaviour.
Driving home from work you take a detour so the drive lasts longer.
Edit. I see a lot of comments about this kind of relationship with an ex. I’m glad some of you are out. For the rest of you in this cycle, don’t know what to tell you, but major hugs.
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My close friend and his girlfriend, who I was good friends with too before they started dating, decided to cut me off because his girlfriend took selfies with me at an event. Apparently, they are <> worried that she is going to cheat on him with me.
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The constant need to bring up how well they’re doing whenever they’re not fighting…
Only to repeat the fighting cycle
Not respecting the way the other person is or making fun of the things they like.
Love is like a fart…if you have to force it, it’s probably s**t.
The main one I think of is where one person says demeaning/disrespectful things and the other person is just supposed to “take it” but the second the other person says one comment back to them they get upset and indignant.
If you are not lifted up by your partner, but pulled down.
My 57 year old colleague constantly has to send videos and pics of him working to his wife
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Crying all the time. Feeling worthless. Feeling scared to say what’s on your mind.
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When they treat you bad when nobody is watching
When the efforts toward the relationship are highly imbalanced, one doing the receiving, the other doing all the giving
If you find yourself putting in more effort more often into the relationship.
Whenever you bring up some issues your having they make you feel bad for sharing how you feel.
They weaponize sex.
*edit when I say weaponize sex I mean that they use sex as a way of control, and yes I am well aware both Men and Women do this.
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My gf/bf doesnt let me have friends of the different gender
Posting every little incident on social media for the world to see, then in love again days later. Rinse and repeat
* I didn’t say that.
* And if I did, I didn’t mean it.
* And if I did, you deserved it.
Being stalked at work or wherever you go. Having to “check in” to get approval before doing anything
Extremely long Facebook posts about their relationships.
Not being able to be themselves around their Significant Other
Not letting them be around their friends without them being there
My uncle has to call the cops on his wife because their arguments get out of control, and she’s constantly accusing him and my mom (her brother) of stuff. He’s not allowed to have ANYTHING in her house, has to ask for permission to be in her house, and other ridiculous s**t. But he won’t divorce her even though he has plenty of evidence money to f**k her over in court.
you feel uncomfortable around them
Lack of autonomy.
Things like having to vet every little thing you do with a partner, being isolated from outside relationships and not self actualizing outside of the context of “part of a couple”.
There is usually a power imbalance or at the very least an unhealthy level of codependency.
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A lot of ups and downs, extreme emotions involved, fighting but being unable or unwilling to split, trying to control the other person
When they misinterpret your actions and then rather than ask you about your intentions, they stonewall you and then blow up at you for not knowing why their mad.
If you find yourself walking on eggshells, you’re in the toxic relationship.
fighting in public
calling you annoying when you get upset
Not being able to go out with friends or hobbies. Always tied down to the home or the SO and their friends. It’s bad juju.
Name calling and harsh remarks during disagreements.
When the person only has negative things to say about thir relationship.
Going through phones.
Too much yelling
Trash-talking your partner to your friends.
Not being able to hangout with friends unless your partner can also come along or suffer the consequences later.
Constant heated verbal fights, using language where there is a clear lack of genuine respect for one another
Calling each other babe way too much.Getting multiple vasectomies.Throwing a dundie at the Plasma TV
Having an ‘open relationship’.
If it takes place in the Chernobyl exclusion zone
A shared Facebook account. It just screams insecurity, infidelity, and toxicity.