Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out as you plan. You might look back and laugh about how incompatible the two of you were. But there are a few signs that you’re a toxic partner that you might have missed, and they’re important to figure out if you want your love to improve. (And, if you want to grow as a person.) Yes, it’s hard to take criticism, but those who are self-aware can often form much better relationships.
Of course, there are many reasons why you might want to be less toxic in your relationship. Perhaps you’re emotionally hurting your partner without even realizing it. Or, maybe you’re unaware of how you’re coming off and realizing that relationships rarely last longer than a month or two. No matter the reason, it’s never too late to change.
Here are a few signs that it’s not them, it’s you.
1You’re always jealous of the people he or she works with.
In fact, you don’t even want to hear about the new person at the office, since there’s a chance that he or she is attractive, kind, and incredibly funny. Even if your partner has never cheated on you before, it’s your worst case scenario, so you can’t help but think of it.
Take a step back here — that’s not fair. In doing this, you’re punishing your significant other for no reason. Instead, remember that the two of you got together because he or she liked you for you. And perhaps if you got to know these coworkers, or at least learn more about them, that jealousy will disappear.
2You believe that the silent treatment is the best way to handle a fight.
Sometimes it helps to cool down and stay quiet, but if this lasts awhile — and you’re “punishing” your significant other with silence — you’re not effectively communicating at all. There’s a small chance that they’re not even sure what they did wrong in the first place, and keeping it all in and not handling it in a productive way will get you nowhere.
3You make threats.
Ever hear yourself uttering something like, “If you don’t do X, Y, and Z, I’m leaving”? Unless you’re totally serious — and comfortable with giving an ultimatum — don’t say that. That’s definitely a line used when a relationship is already broken. If you’re spouting it out yet still plan on getting married to this person at some point (or at least, a long-term relationship) it’s definitely a level of manipulation.
Oh — and never say something like “If you leave me, I’ll kill myself.” Since that puts your partner in a very rough situation. If you’re truly feeling suicidal, you absolutely need to talk to someone who can help. Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255, and they’ll provide what you need. If you don’t, and just know that a line like that will help you gain control in the situation, realize that that’s both toxic and abusive.
4You tend to guilt trip.
So, two years ago he or she did something kind of terrible. It could have been signing up for a dating site, or it could have been letting you worry all night when they were out and their phone battery died. It happens. And back then, the two of you dealt with it and decided — as a couple — to move forward.
That doesn’t mean these events need to keep popping up. If things were solved, but you still bring it up in the heat of a fight, you’re still not over it. And if that’s the case, you should break up. If that’s not the case, you’re pretty much storing the event as personal ammo, and that’s not cool.
5You depend on your partner to boost your self-esteem.
It’s always nice to hear some kind words from your partner. Hey, sometimes we dress up for others and want to be noticed. But if your self-esteem levels are totally based on what your partner thinks, you might be a little toxic.
Here’s why: In a good relationship, you need to love yourself to give him or her your best. While relationships should always boost you up, starting at an esteem level of zero might just make you a little clingy and demanding. Remember — your relationship should help to improve, not define, who you are.
6You’ve realized he or she isn’t “the one” months ago.
You haven’t been happy for awhile, but you’ve settled. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really is. Why? Well, since you’re wasting his or her time. Obviously the two of you aren’t on the same page — if your significant other proposes, saying “no” will be the absolute right decision, but it’ll also crush them. That’s simply not cool.
Holding out until someone better comes along is a selfish move. If you’re not into the relationship, end it now — it’s the best thing you can do for your partner.
7Everything is their fault.
You can’t look back and think of one false move you’ve made throughout the entire relationship. If you forgot to pay rent, it’s because he or she didn’t remind you. Your morning got off to a rough start since he or she took the last coffee pod you liked. The shower is disgusting since he or she should have known to clean it. You get the gist.
While your partner may have goofed up a few times, not being accountable for anything will make you a pretty toxic individual. It’s okay to say something like, “I should have cleaned the shower” or at the very least, “I should have asked for help with the shower.” But if you continue to act like your significant other is looking to destroy your life, the love will soon vanish.
8You monopolize every conversation.
Some people are talkers, and some are listeners. But in a good relationship, there’s a balance. If you notice yourself taking over the conversation — especially a conversation about a topic that he or she started — it’s possible that you’re tuning out to everything they’re trying to say.
When a partner feels like they’re not being listened to, they often cease conversation altogether. And a couple that doesn’t communicate is a couple that’s more or less doomed. Make sure to let them finish their sentences, and always ask them about their day. Even if it was uneventful, they’ll appreciate the brief spotlight.