There are countless songs and expressions describing the chemical changes that occur in a person’s brain when they’re in love, and there’s quite a bit of scientific evidence as well. What do they all agree on? When a person is in love, they’re more willing to overlook a person’s flaws, or are incapable of acknowledging those flaws at all! So, what does that mean in terms of a new, or even an old but still powerful love? It means a person can experience great difficulties in identifying the difference between appropriate and toxic behaviors and language.
If a person is head-over-heels in love, they won’t be able to clearly see whether behavior is healthy or harmful, so what are some signs they should keep an eye out for? There are several major ones, including how a person treated their exes, how they treat their friends and how they treat their families, but all of that can be determined prior to entering into a romantic relationship.
Keep in mind, people often change their behavior at the beginning of a relationship to make a great impression on their partners, which makes it even more difficult for a person in love to recognize the signs. How is a person supposed to see what’s going on? They should turn to the following list, of course! Here’s how to tell if their relationship is healthy or toxic.
20Healthy: They Make Each Other Genuinely Happy
In a romantic relationship, it’s obvious that the other person is supposed to put you in a good mood. You’re supposed to swoon when your love interest is around and they’re supposed to help bring out your best emotions. While this may seem like an obvious sign you’re in a healthy relationship, some people remain in situations that leave them sad, depressed, angry or frustrated.
If your partner leaves you upset more often than they leave you in a good mood, they’re toxic. If you’re excited to see them, have a great time when they’re around, and are sad to leave, then the relationship is likely a healthy one.
19Toxic: They “Joke” About Their Partner’s Flaws
When two people are very emotionally close, they become aware of each other’s flaws. Most relationships are able to overlook or deal with these issues but some couples take each other’s less-than-desirable habits out of proportion. When one person is constantly teasing or making jokes out of their partner’s flaws, the situation has grown from playful to passive aggressive.
No one wants to be reminded of their flaws day in and day out – so when their partner starts harping on about them, it’s easy for a person to grow self-conscious and feel bad. If you’re in a relationship with someone who treats you this way, it’s toxic.
18Healthy: They Share Their Thoughts And Feelings
People can’t read each other’s minds. That’d be really weird if we could, but it’s just not one of our many talents. That being said, remember when you’re in a relationship with someone that you need to really listen and share what you’re thinking and feeling. You may be doing something your partner hates and that dislike can quickly turn into resentment – all while you’re moving forward without realizing anything is wrong.
If your boy/girlfriend is always sharing how they feel, communicating what they want and opening themselves up to you, odds are your relationship is a healthy one.
17Toxic: They Complain More Often Than They Compliment
Sharing words of affirmation is an important element to any relationship, whether it’s with a family member, friend or lover. No one wants to constantly be put down! People thrive on positive words and acknowledgement. When a couple is always complaining about each other’s mannerisms and never takes the time to compliment each other on their strengths or accomplishments, the relationship is going to fizzle. There’s only so much negativity a person can handle before they’re ready to walk out.
If you’re always complaining to your partner, now is a good time to turn that toxic behavior around and start complimenting them, acknowledging their efforts and including positive vibes in your relationship.
16Healthy: They Make Time For Each Other
No one wants to sit around at home all day waiting for their partner to call, text or invite them to hang out. We all have lives to live and those social events, personal or familial responsibilities and necessary “me” time are just as important as spending time with bae. If your partner really wants a relationship with you, they’ll carve out time from their responsibilities to ensure you see each other often enough to satisfy your need to be around each other.
Quality time can be difficult when you’ve both got tight schedules, but a healthy relationship allows for a date here and there.
15Toxic: They Guilt Each Other
Are you always doing things for your partner but they don’t seem to be doing much in return? Are you always the one who has to drive when you go on a date and are you always the one who foots the bill? If it seems like you’re being taken advantage of, it’s probably because you are.
Toxic relationships include those in which one person guilts the other into doing things they don’t really want to do. It’s a form of manipulation. If you always feel like you owe your partner something, or that you need to satisfy their needs and only their needs, you’re in a toxic relationship.
14Healthy: They Give Each Other Space
Everyone could use a little “me” time to refresh and energize themselves. Clingy partners are a huge no-no if you value your alone time. Healthy relationships are those in which both parties recognize and appreciate the necessity of being apart, whether it’s for a single evening or for a few days each week. While it’s great to be so enamored with each other that you count the minutes until the next date, it’s also appropriate to understand there are other priorities than each other.
Maintaining healthy relationships outside the immediate romantic one will help ensure a well-established social circle and will provide healthy interactions beyond the one you share with your significant other.
13Toxic: They Trash-Talk Their Partner’s Friends
We all have that one friend no one seems to care for, but when your partner is constantly complaining about each of your friends, something’s up. Either your partner is dealing with some serious jealousy or they just like to badmouth the people you care about; either way, it’s definitely toxic behavior.
If you’ve mentioned that your partner’s words bother you and they continue to speak badly about your friends, consider it a huge red flag. What your partner is saying is, “I don’t care how bad my words make you feel, I’m going to express them anyway,” also known as, “I don’t care about how you feel.” Toxic? Very much so.
12Healthy: They Listen When Their Partner’s Down
Life happens and sometimes people find themselves in a rut. When this occurs, it’s therapeutic to share the rush of complicated emotions with those we are closest to – cue romantic partner.
If you’re dealing with some tough stuff and your partner is actively listening – commenting on what you’re saying, obviously paying attention and trying to support you – odds are your relationship is a healthy one. Your partner cares enough about your well-being to stay quiet or to offer advice when you need it.
They don’t judge you or your situation, they just patiently wait while you let it all out, then comfort you afterward. Now that’s a healthy relationship.
11Toxic: They’re Rude To Everyone
Your friends and family dislike your partner due to their rude behavior and snarky comments. Everyone is being mistreated by your partner but they treat you right so it’s no big deal, right? WRONG! It’s only a matter of time before they’re comfortable enough to turn that behavior on you!
Toxic people are great at pretending everything is fine, until they lull you into a level of comfort that allows them to slowly reveal who they truly are. If your partner can’t respect the people you love, then they’re not respecting you. It’s a toxic situation that can only emanate from a toxic person.
10Healthy: They Respect Boundaries
Everyone draws the line somewhere, so when their romantic partners try to cross that line, it’s a huge no-no. When someone doesn’t respect personal decisions, they’re invading comfort levels and are often trying to pressure others into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do. This classic behavior is popular among bullies, and no one wants to date a big bully. This behavior is also selfish and childish, neither of which are characteristics of a healthy relationship.
Don’t let someone push you around. If you’re involved with someone who often pushes boundaries and applies a ton of pressure, you’re in a toxic relationship.
9Toxic: They Expect Their Partners To Change
It would be one thing if your romantic partner wanted you to change for the better – they want you to respect yourself more, understand what you really want or to speak up for yourself more often – but it’s another beast entirely if they’re hoping to change your personality and mannerisms.
Romantic partners should be encouraging each other to improve their lives, not change them entirely. If one person is always trying to get the other to change, then why are they even dating? You can’t mold another human being into the perfect partner. You’ve got to find someone who already encompasses your preferred traits and habits. Whenever a person tries to inherently change their boy/girlfriend, it’s guaranteed the relationship is toxic.
8Healthy: They Want To Learn More About Each Other
When two people are romantically interested in each other, they often go on dates with the intention of getting to know one another. They want to get a feel for the other person’s interests, values, goals and ambitions. Healthy relationships are those in which both parties are compatible and share at least a few values and interests. They want to live their lives in a certain way and their partners agree.
If you and your boy/girlfriend have similar lines of thought and share a few major goals, such as where to live or to uphold certain values, then your relationship is pretty steady and healthy.
7Toxic: They Only Want To Do Things If It Was Their Idea
It’s one thing to be stubborn, it’s another thing to be a jerk. If your partner only wants to do things because they suggested it, then there’s something wrong. They don’t want to consider what you want or your interests. They’d rather selfishly decide for you both. If they’re not willing to meet halfway on smaller things, like where to go for dinner or what movie to watch on date night, then it’s guaranteed they’re only going to get worse over time.
Eventually, they’ll want to make all of the decisions for both of you and they’ll give you ultimatums – their way or the highway. That kind of relationship is all kinds of toxic.
6Healthy: They Introduce Each Other To Their Friends And Family
Healthy relationships progress. A guaranteed sign to indicate the relationship is progressing is when your partner introduces you to their friends and family. By asking you to enter their social circle and, later, into their family circle, they’re telling you they want you to stick around for the long run. They’re seriously considering making you a permanent part of their lives and they can’t wait to show you off to everyone.
They want you to feel comfortable around the people they’re comfortable with, and they want to be able to interact with those they love as well as the one person they may love for the rest of their lives.
5Toxic: They Demand Things
Sometimes our romantic partners go through some really serious stuff. They struggle with finances, lose a beloved pet or have to handle some really stressful things outside the romantic relationship. When they’re going through these tough times, they may ask for a little help, whether it’s in form of a small loan, some of your time or just for you to listen while they get some things off their chest.
This is fine, and may even be expected, but what isn’t fine or expected is for a romantic partner to constantly demand things from you, as if they’re owed your unfailing support. If your partner acts like an entitled jerk, then that’s exactly what they are and the relationship is super toxic.
4Healthy: They’re Willing To Compromise
When your partner loves and respects you, they’ll compromise. Sometimes they’ll let you decide where to go for lunch and sometimes they’ll insist they get to choose. In more important matters, they’re willing to sit down and discuss the pros and cons, as well as collect all the facts, before making a decision.
They’ll be more open to your feelings on a subject but they’ll also expect you to listen and consider theirs. This is what makes a healthy relationship – the ability to work together like a team, come up with options and consider what would be best for both parties.
3Toxic: They’ve Been Untrue At Least Once Already
When a partner goes behind your back, it’s really hard to forgive them. There’s too much hurt to get through! To top it off, it takes a really strong person to try to make the relationship work after discovering their partner’s been disloyal.
If your partner has broken your heart once, guaranteed any attempt at a relationship afterward will be a long and painful journey. Every time your partner looks at their phone or is gone for an unusual amount of time, you’re left stressing over where they really are and what they’re really doing. If your relationship is stress-inducing, it’s definitely toxic.
2Healthy: They’re Willing To Forgive And Forget
A healthy relationship includes two people who are willing to forgive and forget small transgressions. It’s pretty easy to forgive someone for backing out of plans at the last minute or for habitually putting off household chores. People in healthy relationships don’t hold onto each other’s little flaws and mannerisms just so they can throw them around whenever an argument arises. Instead, they choose to rise above them and deal with what’s happening right here and right now.
They might discuss problem areas every now and then, but they focus more on encouraging each other to change for the better than taking each other down for past issues.
1Toxic: They Bring Up Their Partner’s Mistakes Over And Over
If your partner is constantly berating you for making the same mistakes over and over again, the relationship is toxic. It doesn’t matter if you’re just a really clumsy person or if you’re always rushing because you’re late for work – your partner doesn’t have the right to harp on your flaws and make you feel like a loser because of them.
Even if your partner is trying to help you by pointing out how often you do something negative, ultimately no healthy relationship can thrive beneath a constant black cloud of harsh words and pestering.