The 6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal 

Most of us have toxic relationship habits that we're unaware of and end up hurting our partners. Find out more about them and their solutions.

A relationship with the right person can be beautiful. From childhood, most of us have envisioned the kind of relationship we want. But the actual implementation becomes a problem. 

While high school taught us useful concepts and skills, there needed to be a class on building successful relationships. There was no crash course in working your way to a happy relationship or “How to Stop Being a Shitty Boyfriend or Girlfriend.”

Without apt guidance from adults, we’re left to learn through trial and error. Unfortunately, most people usually end up with the latter.

Enter: A chain of toxic affairs while groping through the already murky world of courtship.   

What Is a Toxic Relationship?

A toxic relationship makes you feel attacked, demeaned, misunderstood, and unsupported. If the relationship makes you glum instead of better, it can progress to toxicity over time.

Toxic relationships exist in any context, from the bedroom to the staff room to the basketball court. You may even deal with toxic family members.

Sometimes, we become too accustomed to these habits that we think they’re normal, but they’re not.

Photo of unhappy African couple having an argument at home.

Only you can tell whether the negative side of your relationship outweighs the positive. But if it involves constant threats and verbal or physical abuse, it’s likely toxic.

Other subtle signs include:

  • Feeling devalued and depleted because you’re giving more than you’re getting
  • You feel like the relationship is hurting your self-esteem
  • You’re continually disrespected
  • You feel angry, depressed, or tired after spending
  • You think that your needs are deliberately ignored
  • The relationship brings out the worst in both of you
  • You’re not your best self around them
  • It feels like you’re walking on eggshells around them to avoid their venom
  • You’re never right
  • You spend lots of emotional strength and time cheering them up

The ugly truth is that society not only normalizes toxic relationship habits but also worships them.

The film industry has created blockbuster hits from passionate love stories, and the idea of love has become an all-or-nothing, all-consuming, happily-ever-after affair.

All this has made it harder to distinguish love from toxic behavior; hence we end up confusing frogs with Prince (or Princess) Charmings.

If this is your current situation, or you simply want to avoid being the toxic partner, hop on to the next section.

Toxic Habits That Could Be Hurting Your Relationships

Beware of the following toxic relationship habits and work your way against them:

The Relationship Scorecard

Keeping a scorecard is a phenomenon where your partner constantly blames you for mistakes you made in the past or before the relationship.

When both partners begin to keep score, the situation can devolve into a relationship scorecard. This is a battle to prove who has erred the most and, thus, who owes the other more.

This unnoticeably toxic behavior happens over time when one or both partners keep bringing up their loved ones’ past mistakes as justification for their current actions.

But you’ll be avoiding the issue at hand and creating appalling emotions to make your partner feel guilty or wrong in the present.   

What to Do 

The solution to the relationship scorecard is sorting individual issues separately unless they connect. If something pissed you off six months ago, you should have brought it up then.

Being with someone means accepting them for all they’ve done in the past. But if you don’t, you haven’t accepted them.

Passive Aggression and Dropping Clues

The next toxic habit is a communication problem. Instead of opening up and saying what they feel, your partner might try wheedling you into imagining it.

Man and woman, married couple arguing at home.

Instead of telling your partner what’s troubling you, you look for minimal and petty ways to distress and complain to them to feel better.

What to Do

The toxicity arises from your inability to communicate openly, comfortably, and clearly. You can overcome the issue by speaking clearly to your partner and discussing ideas and feelings openly.

Holding The Relationship Hostage

You can conclude that someone is holding their partner emotionally hostage when their actions limit another person’s power or autonomy.

So if one partner in your relationship criticizes, complains, and blackmails the other by threatening the relationship, it could be a sign of toxicity.

For instance, if your partner feels like you’re not talking to them more often, they will say, “I can’t be in a relationship with someone who’s always cold to me,” instead of “I feel like we don’t talk as often as we used to.” Such emotional extortion can create a lot of superfluous drama.

What to Do

It’s okay to be displeased with your partner sometimes and not be on the same page on particular issues or actions they take. But being committed to a person isn’t the same as being constantly happy.

The best thing to do is communicate your challenge openly. But if the situation is unsalvageable, you don’t deserve to be with them.   

Blaming Your Loved One for Your Own Emotions

It’s been a long day at work, you just got home, and you expect your partner to magically know that your day has been rough and do everything to make you feel better.

Of course, they won’t know if you don’t tell them how your day was. But you haul them over coals for that.

When it reaches a level where you expect your partner always to know your feelings, it could be a sign of co-dependent tendencies. This is highly toxic.

What to Do

The easiest way to stop the blame game is to take ownership of your feelings and expect your partner to do the same for theirs. Your lover should be supportive whenever you’re feeling low, not obligated.

Displays of ‘Loving’ Jealousy

Loving jealousy is being upset when your partner calls, touches, texts, or interacts with another person.

This negative emotion stems from insecurity and desire, but not love. On the other hand, if you enjoy someone’s possessiveness about you, you could have a debilitating need for love and care, even if it means sacrificing your freedom.

Possessiveness and jealousy are not safe cocoons. They’re manipulative and possessive–a complete trust deficiency.

What to Do

It’s a crazy solution, but you must trust your partner. While a little jealousy is normal, extreme controlling jealousy isn’t. Doing the latter only means pushing your partner away. 

Buying Solutions to Relationship Issues

This is the situation where whenever you have a major conflict with your partner, you buy them something nice, covering the issue with the excitement of a gift.

As genuine as this might seem, the move does your relationship more harm than good. You’ll avoid the problem at hand, which eventually resurfaces later, but this time louder.

What to Do

Refrain from buying solutions to the issues that come up in your relationship. Instead, deal with them there and then. Buying your partner something nice after a conflict is good, but you must first discuss the issue and iron out your differences.

Final Thoughts

These toxic traits mostly seem normal, and those in such relationships mostly assume that it’s part and parcel of dating. But they’re not, and dealing with such a partner could drain you of your joy and energy.

Fortunately, you now know how to handle the situation with the above tips.

If nothing seems to work out, and you’re still going through physical and emotional abuse, it could be time to get help right away or even leave the abusive partner. Whatever you do, focus on your well-being and health.