These are important questions for anybody in a relationship.
A healthy relationship can be a beautiful addition to your life, bringing joy, companionship, love, warmth, and the sweet knowledge that you and your partner are always there for each other.
A toxic relationship on the other hand often brings with it drama, upset, and the uncanny ability to suck out your energy and leave you feeling like a wrung out a dish towel.
Here are 9 questions you can ask to help you determine whether you are in a healthy relationship vs. toxic relationship. Which one defines yours?
1 Can You Be Yourself Around Them?
In a healthy relationship, you can be yourself at all times, knowing that your partner loves and respects you for who you are. You don’t have to hide anything about who you are, what you like, or what interests you because you know you are accepted and there is no fear of ridicule.
In a toxic relationship, on the other hand, being yourself feels like a dangerous occupation. Your partner is always waiting to a snipe at you or make you feel like you’re just not good enough. You might find yourself hiding things from them, or avoiding mentioning things because you know they’ll be mean to you about it.
2 Are You Free To Pursue Your Interests?
A healthy relationship is one that is an important part of your life, but not the only part of your life. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you know you’re free to have your friends, pursue your interests, and do what matters to you in your career, without worrying about your partner’s reaction.
On the other hand, if you’re in a toxic relationship you’ll have to worry about your partner as well. Will they be ok with you seeing friends or staying late at work? Will they get jealous or blame you for putting work before them? Just be aware of their attitude to your life outside of them is very telling.
3 Can You Have Hard Conversations?
A couple in a healthy relationship can have hard conversations when necessary. No relationship is perfect, and there are going to be times when you need to sit down for an uneasy talk. Whether it’s about something in your relationship that hurts you or makes you uncomfortable, or about an impending financial disaster, you need to know you can have that talk when you need to.
In a toxic relationship, hard conversations get put off because you know how they will go. You know you can’t talk about this stuff without a huge fight, and so, you don’t. Or you try, and it feels like world war three just started.
4 Do You Celebrate Your Differences?
It’s great to have things in common with your partner. Shared interests can lead to wonderful conversations, fun nights out and time spent on your favorite hobbies, shows or movies, together. But it’s also ok to have differences! Every couple is going to have different interests, attitudes, values, and thoughts, and that’s ok. In a healthy relationship, you can embrace and celebrate your differences.
In a toxic relationship, however, you feel like being different is bad. If you don’t agree with your partner’s ideas and values, they put you down. Your interests and differences become a reason to make you feel bad, and that’s not healthy.
5 Can You Trust Them?
Trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. Without trust, you don’t have what you need to build a healthy life and future together. In a healthy relationship you know you can trust your partner with your thoughts, your fears, and your dreams. You also know you can trust them in practical ways – they’ll turn up when they say they will, they’ll do what they say they’ll do, and they’ll always respect your privacy.
In a toxic relationship, trust is out the window. You never know if they’ll keep their promises, or keep your confidences. You wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving your phone unlocked when they’re alone with it. If you don’t feel safe and at ease with them, it’s a toxic relationship.
6 Do You Fight Clean?
In a healthy relationship, you can fight without acting like your combatants in a cage match. You don’t go all in trying to hurt each other as much as you can. You know how to air your views and hear theirs, in a mature, respectful way, and you know that this can be resolved, and your love for each other is steadfast.
In a toxic relationship, on the other hand, fighting is a dirty business. The past gets dragged up, and old wounds get re-opened – sometimes on purpose. Fighting isn’t fun, but it shouldn’t leave you feeling emotionally beaten, and you should never doubt that your partner loves you as much even if you are fighting.
7 Are You Able To Set Boundaries?
Setting boundaries are the key to any healthy relationship, romantic or otherwise. Good boundaries mean that you have a strong sense of where you end, and they begin. You can care deeply about them while still honoring your own needs and your sovereignty.
In a toxic relationship, the boundaries get blurred. Your needs get superseded by their needs. Time alone or time to explore your dreams and desires is out of the question. If you try to set boundaries around your time, emotional energy, or even your possessions, they react badly.
8 Do They Encourage You?
A healthy relationship is one in which both partners encourage each other and act as one another’s chief supporter. If something matters to you, your partner cares about it and encourages you in it, even if it’s not something they are personally interested in.
If your partner looks down on your ambitions or aims, chances are you’re in a toxic relationship, if they sneer at your attempts to learn something new or move forward in your career or even a hobby, take that as a warning sign.
9 How Do They Talk To You?
People in healthy relationships talk to each other with respect and kindness. Sure, you might get a little short tempered at times, and so might they. That’s only human. But in general, they talk to you like they value you, and use words of kindness, encouragement, and love. If your partner puts you down, makes sarcastic comments, or constantly criticizes or belittles your behavior, personality, or looks, take heed. Talking down to your partner is not part of a healthy relationship.
Knowing whether your relationship is healthy or toxic is vitally important. A relationship takes up a lot of mental and emotional resources, so be sure you’re giving your energy to a relationship that nourishes you both and brings something valuable to your life.
:- Guest Writer
Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support, and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.