Look, a toxic relationship is easy to spot. You’re fighting all the time, she sold your car to start an herb garden, you cheat on each other.
The toxic relationship has some pretty clear warning signs.
The subtly shitty relationship, however, can go unnoticed for years. In fact, you can end up staying with someone who is slowly but surely taking a silent shit on your soul.
Bro, don’t worry, that ain’t happening to you — because today we’re going to go over some of the subtle signs your relationship is bad.
You Feel Physically Uncomfortable When You Want To Do Your Own Thing
God damn it, sometimes you don’t want to hang out with her friends or go shopping for shit that doesn’t interest you. That’s life. When you go to break the news to her, pay attention to your body. Does your stomach knot up? Do you feel a weight on your chest?
Listen to that shit. It could be one of the subtle signs your relationship is bad.
Your body knows stuff that your brain takes years to figure out. If you’re physically uncomfortable to live the life you want, then there’s something deeper going on.
Maybe you’re feeling guilty because you never want to hang out with her. That’s a bad sign that you don’t like her all that much. Or, maybe she is making you feel guilty without actually saying anything obvious.
Either way, this sounds like shit.
You Feel Less Confident Than You Did Before The Relationship
Now, this one is highly conditional. If you got into this relationship and then got fired, well, the firing is probably the confidence-destroyer.
But, if your life stayed pretty much the same — or got better in some areas — and your confidence is going down the tubes, take a look at your relationship.
Don’t jump to any conclusions — this isn’t about just blaming your problems on somebody else — but ask yourself, is she:
1. Kinda undercutting any ideas you have?
2. Criticizing you about little things?
3. Not taking an active interest in your life?
If your relationship is absolutely terrible, it’ll be obvious — but the subtly shitty relationship makes this confidence undermining difficult to spot.
A great exercise is to look at your feelings of insecurity and keep asking yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” At first, you’ll get surface stuff, but eventually you’ll start to get to the answer behind the answer.
If it’s a relationship, then congrats, you’re in a subtly shitty one.
Do You Feel Like You Need To Change Things About Yourself?
The best relationships are not without change. If you let leftovers grow mold in the fridge, and this behavior happens over and over again, than any human being is within her rights to ask you to “change” that part of yourself.
If that’s you, then stop whining. She’s not trying to change you.
But, is she subtly trying to change big things about you? For example, let’s say you play in a band. You’re not going to tour the world, but you play a few shows a month, and it’s part of your identity.
Does she try to minimize that? Does she express overdramatic relief if your show gets canceled? Is she ever suggesting other hobbies that you should be doing?
Watch out for that stuff. You might barely notice it now, but that shit will grind you down over the long haul.
And it works both ways, too. If you’re obsessed with playing local shows, you have three kids, and both of you work full-time jobs, then it’s possible that you are the cause of the shittiness in your relationship if you’re prioritizing your band over helping out with the kids.
Remember, shitty relationships aren’t all because of her. Sometimes, it’s you. And most of the time, it’s a little bit of both of you.
Your Standards Are Totally Different
Is it all right if she does something, but you’re f*cking crucified if you do the same thing? Like, hanging out with friends, not texting to tell her where you are, or remembering to take the dog out for a walk?
If so, that’s a problem.
Equally so if the situation is reversed. Do you hold her to a stricter standard than you hold yourself? This happens frequently, and since it’s your own fault, it often goes unnoticed.
If you’re holding her to a higher standard than you hold yourself, she’s unlikely to clear it, and you’re bound to find yourself upset with her.
If you take a quick timeout, realize that she’s a human being, recalibrate your standards to something more reasonable, you might find that the problems with the relationship were all in your head.
Maybe not, but it’s worth a try, and at least you won’t bring that crazy shit to your next relationship.