Many of us see our romantic partners as someone to lean on during difficult times in our life. However, they can sometimes be the opposite of helpful. The sad reality is that toxic relationships are not uncommon. You may not realize it, but your date could exhibit behavior that’s detrimental to our mental wellness.

Let’s take a look at some practices that warn you to get out while it’s early.

Controlling Behavior


While some people notice some signs of controlling behavior, many tend to shrug it off. What they don’t understand is that this tends to get worse as the relationship progresses. “Early in a relationship, it’s that one thing that’s right in front of you that may be a sign of something deeper,” says Bethany Marshall, Ph.D., PsyD.

It could start with something as simple as them asking you to keep them updated on your activities throughout the day. Seems pretty innocent, right? After all, they’re just interested in you, and they want to know what you’re up to.

But this can get worse. Soon enough, your partner might ask you to stop seeing some of your friends and family. They might want you to stop wearing certain types of clothing. They want you to play by their rules.

These signs can’t be anything but harmful to your well-being. They are also forms of mental and psychological abuse. Such behavior means that your partner is stripping you of your free will and identity. It can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Stick with a partner who respects your space and freedom.


Being Secretive

When you’re in a relationship, you expect to get to know them as nobody else does. Admittedly, that’s not to say that they have to share every detail of their life with you. But it’s worrying when they seem to be very secretive.

This instance can be shown by them being protective of their phone and not wanting you to even touch it. Your partner may also refrain from giving you details about where they’ve been or what they did throughout the day.

When you’re with someone like this, you can’t help but feel like something is wrong. Being in this situation gradually manifests in paranoia. Is my partner cheating on me? Are they living a double life? You’ll want a partner in your life who can be open with you.

Taking Down To You

It’s not unusual to tease around with friends and romantic partners. Sometimes it’s about our height or a weird habit. However, you’ll know when the joke seems to be taking a different direction.


Some people talk down to their partners. Almost everything coming out of their mouth is some form of criticism. They make negative comments about your appearance, friends, family, hobbies, interests, life choices, and so on. While some criticism can help you grow, it certainly isn’t helpful if it’s the only thing you hear.

Being treated in this particular way can be a sharp blow to your confidence. All of us have insecurities, and your partner should be helping you overcome them instead of adding to it. Find someone who enables you to grow, not hinder you from such. “If you just started dating someone and are questioning his or her maturity, character, or sincerity, trust your gut, value yourself, and consider if the relationship is really worth continuing.” says  Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC

Lying And Gaslighting

They say that a little white lie never hurt anybody. While that’s true, constant lying is a huge red flag. It’s one thing to lie about going to bed when you’re playing video games. It’s another thing for you to say you’re with family when you’re out drinking with friends.


Gaslighting is an even bigger problem. It is a form of manipulation wherein a person makes you question your observations, reality, and even sanity. They can do this by feeding you wrong information, diverting your attention to a different topic, or trivializing your feelings and concerns.

For example, you confront your partner about forgetting to do an errand you asked them to do. They can counter by saying that you never requested them to do such in the first place. It is another technique people use to gaslight or manipulate you.

Manipulation can leave long-lasting emotional scars. It can make you distrustful of people, making it hard to connect with others. It makes you question your sanity and whether or not your feelings are valid. This can make you susceptible to mental health disorders.


It’s true about the saying love is blind. But those who are smart will keep their eyes peeled for red flags such as these. In all relationships, it isn’t wise to give the other person everything you have and can. Saving love for yourself is essential. Keep yourself and your mental well-being as your top priority. Because according to Megan MacCutcheon, LPC, “we tend to minimize, dismiss, or forget the negatives amid the excitement, lust, and yearning for love that may be present in a new relationship.”

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