11 Subtle Toxic Behaviors You Might Not Even Realize You’re Guilty Of

You might not stick the “toxic” label on yourself, but if you’re guilty of any of these behaviors, you just might be. While having one or more toxic behaviors doesn’t mean you’re a toxic person, it just means that you need to work on a few things.

  1. You give them the silent treatment. In the middle of an argument with your partner, you ice them out. You totally become silent and don’t want to talk about your feelings anymore. This is very toxic because it’s like a concrete wall in your relationship that your partner can never break down. The result? The situation becomes more stressful and things don’t get resolved.
  2. You walk out of the room. Another toxic behavior during a fight with your partner is if you storm out of the room. This literally puts an end to the discussion and can also be exhausting for your partner to deal with because it’s like they always have to chase after you.
  3. You turn things into a joke. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this, you know how toxic it can feel. If you can’t help but turn to humor when your partner’s expressing their thoughts or feelings, the result isn’t light — it can brew heavy resentment. As a disclaimer, making fun of your partner can strengthen your relationship, but there’s a time and place for it.
  4. You find ways to hint that you’re upset. Instead of just saying that your partner upset you, you act like everything’s fine. How long can you keep that up before you find ways to piss them off to get back at them for what they did but don’t realize they did? Yikes. What a tangled web!
  5. You pile expectations on them. We all have relationship expectations, but it’s unfair to expect your partner to do what you want without first seeing who they are and what they’re keen on giving to the relationship. For example, if you expect that if you drive your partner to the airport they should do the same thing for you, this relationship rule can actually be harmful if, say, your partner has driving anxiety.
  6. You talk to your friends about them. While there are benefits of confiding in our friends about our relationship — because it can do us a world of good to get objective input on a situation — if you’re giving your friends TMI about your partner, this is toxic. Even if your partner never finds out about it, you’re essentially gossiping about him/her to your friends. It’s lousy and disrespectful.
  7. You’re glued to each other. While having lots in common and enjoying each other’s company are obviously healthy relationship habits, making your partner your entire life is toxic. You’re basically becoming the same person, and that’s not a sign of real commitment. That’s a sign you’re co-dependent.
  8. You try to make them jealous. You might see this as a bit of innocent fun, or as a way to see evidence of how much your partner loves you, but it’s childish and immature to play games. It also shows that you’re insecure and dumping your issues onto your partner.
  9. You don’t ever apologize. Maybe your partner’s always the one who apologizes first after an argument so you just go along with that, but it’s not fair to them if you never step up and say sorry. Over time, this can make your partner feel taken for granted or not valued enough.
  10. You turn to them for everything. In a healthy relationship, partners should feel that they support each other. But, that doesn’t mean your partner has to rescue you from all your drama or fix every problem in your life. Saving yourself is an important trait that keeps you independent. And FYI, forget your savior complex — it’s not your responsibility to fix your partner!
  11. You bring up their previous mistakes. When you get into an argument with your partner, do you tend to remind them of previous mistakes they’ve made? Sometimes this strategy is used to deflect from your partner accusing or confronting you about something. However, it’s a terrible way to behave because it means you and your partner are stuck in the past. It’s a quick way to build resentment and block your relationship progress.


Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.