Relationships are difficult to navigate and judge at the best of times, and every one of us has wished at some point there were a handbook.
This isn’t it. However, it does provide a few telltale signs that what you have currently may not be as special as you think it is.
Some frequent habits endemic of toxic relationships were recently discussed on Quora, and while one-off out of character actions should rarely make you consider your relationship, if you think these actions are recurrent traits of your partnership, it may be time to have a cold hard look at things.
A few of the more frequently mentioned habits were as follows:
1) Keeping score
Quora user Howie Reith suggested that noting down past mistakes or arguments and then bringing them up again to be used as ammunition is "bad for several reasons". "It is manipulative… it fosters bitterness, and it deflects discussion of whatever issue has caused the present fight," he wrote.
2) Holding the relationship hostage
Does every minor hiccup and effort to communicate seem to lead to the threat of an end to the relationship? Writer Mark Manson said such "emotional blackmail" created unnecessary drama and forced people to suppress their true feelings, which in turn leads to distrust and manipulation.
3) Being passive aggressive
Rather than saying exactly what is bothering them, a partner finds petty ways to imply their significant other that they don’t understand or are being deliberately slow on the uptake. If both parties are communicating properly, there is no need for that kind of behaviour.
4) Buying "solutions"
Using material goods as a way to “make up” for past mistakes gives the recipient subconscious incentive to cause further problems, and again discourages proper communication and resolution. Howie Reith writes that one partner will then feel like a cash machine, while the other will well as though their problems are not being heard properly.
When your partner expects to be told where you are and who with at all times, as though you are not to be trusted.
It’s worth taking a look at Refuge’s list of signs that point to an abusive relationship, which can be found on their website.
6) No clear plan with money
It makes sense that if you're sharing the financial load, it gets easier to overspend without realising, or to become worried about what you bring to the table.
Puja A. Sachdev, a divorce attorney in San Diego, California, told the Huffington Post that frustrations can arise when a relationship is one-sided when it comes to finances:
A couple can keep separate or joint bank accounts, but when there is no transparency on how money is being spent and saved, it’s nearly impossible to set and reach financial goals like buying a home or planning for retirement. It becomes a growing frustration.
7) Showing a mild disdain for another
This has previously been touted as the number one sign that a relationship will not last by a University of Washington Psychology professor - those eye-rolls or snaps at each other could entrench hostility.
Karen Covy, an attorney and divorce coach in Chicago, Illinois, told the Huffington Post:
While spouses don’t have to always see eye-to-eye to have a happy marriage, they do have to respect each other and appreciate their differences, rather than viewing those differences as being signs that the other spouse is stupid or wrong.