Pop artist Andy Warhol states, “People should fall in love with their eyes closed.” In this quote, he’s referring to the magic people feel when they start to mean something to one another. It sounds ideal and spectacular, but what if the person we fall for isn’t who we think they are? That’s when it’s important to keep our eyes open and watch out for what can put us in danger. Here are seven early signs you may be in a toxic relationship.
- Your partner has heavy ex-baggage: Timing plays a major factor on relationships that can either make it or break it. If you find yourself constantly consoling your partner as they mourn over their ex, then it’s a sign they haven’t moved on yet. They need time to grieve and heal over the loss of their ex before they are ready to enter a relationship again. But when you’re in love, it’s easy to get hopeful and become blind to the fact that your partner isn’t emotionally invested in you when their heart still belongs elsewhere. Ultimately, you’ll end up being the one getting hurt. Recognize that your role isn’t solely to be a shoulder to cry on. You deserve love just like anyone else. But you can’t receive that if you’re busy being someone’s rebound.
- Your partner often lies to you about nearly everything: There’s no harm in telling an occasional white lie if it comes from a selfless place. But if you find your partner constantly telling you lies even over small matters, then it’s time to re-evaluate how much you can trust them. A healthy relationship is built on honesty, understanding and open communication, but your partner is only holding you back from going in that direction, but they choose not to tell you their true feelings and intentions.
- Your partner love bombs you: Love bombing is a technique emotional manipulators use to get what they want. It involves offering you intense attention and bombarding you with many compliments. When your partner tries to win your heart over, they will purposely put you on a pedestal to make you feel reliant on them. They do this so they can be your only source you go to that makes you feel good about yourself. But this dangerously develops into a co-dependent relationship. That makes it toxic for the both of you.
- Your partner frequently monitors you: Checking in is important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, but if your partner is constantly bugging you, then they are stepping over the line and invading your sense of privacy. Examples of frequent monitoring include asking to see your text messages, phone calls, and emails and constantly calling or texting you throughout the day to ask where you are or what you’re up to. This stems from insecurity and a need for them to feel in control, which leaves you very little room to breathe and have a life outside of your relationship, which is important to have in order to maintain your individuality.
- Your partner isolates you: If you always feel like you need to ask for permission before attending events with friends or to hang out with family, then your partner may be possessive. Although it’s sweet if your partner is protective of you, there’s the difference between being caring versus being cleaned. Abusers have a tendency to isolate their partner to prevent others from helping them escape. They may also try to stir up drama between you and your family and friends so you no longer feel as close to them. This only helps them maintain their power and control over you.
- Your partner blows hot and cold on you a lot: Abusers use the hot and cold technique in order to keep you on their leash. If your partner withdraws from you when you upset them but comes running back to you at full speed after you’ve done something to make them happy, then this is their way of getting what they want. The hot and cold treatment acts as reinforcement for you to behave by their own terms and regulations. This is how relationships turn into ownership instead of equal compromise.
- You constantly find yourself starting over with your partner: Fighting is normal and expected in any relationship, but if you have a common pattern of starting over with your partner frequently, then maybe it’s time to examine why keeping up often has a negative connotation associated to it, but sometimes it’s also the right choice. We usually hold on longer to something that’s not working because we’re afraid no one else will love us, but this is how your fears ruin your chances of finding something real. Love is always worth it if it means setting yourself free from the real people.
Are you experiencing these signs? We want you to know that you’re not alone and there are ways to seek help and safety.