5 Big Warning Signs Of A Toxic Partner


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These red flags help to answer the question: “Should I stay or should I go?”

One of the biggest causes I see of toxic relationships spiraling over time, is ignoring or not recognizing red flags early on.

Naturally, if we’re excited about seeing someone new, we can give them a little slack with weird behaviors or completely miss them altogether because we’re so caught up in our feelings.

But — oftentimes the small things you ignored in the beginning of a relationship end up being the things that cause its demise in the end.

Here are five (big) warning signs that you should never ignore:

1: They make arguments personal.

Everyone (everyone) has disagreements or arguments from time to time, it’s only natural when two different people from different upbringings are building a life together.

But, part of being in a relationship is accepting and embracing those differences between you. Ideally, even learning from them.

When you do face a crossroads about an issue, though, it is the issue itself that should be the focus of the disagreement.

Healthy relationships are “you and me against the issue,” not “you against me because of the issue.”

Toxic partners will use these disagreements as an opportunity to tear you down on a personal level. They’ll insult your character, bring up your insecurities, or bring up completely unrelated grievances simply for the purpose of hurting your feelings.

“Winning” the argument shouldn’t be the priority. Finding a solution should be.

2: They never apologize.

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and we can all be considered “at fault” at times, whether or not we like to admit it.

Admitting it, though, is a sign of character.

Holding yourself accountable for your own actions or the way you make other people feel is something that can quite literally make or break a relationship.

And, particularly when your actions affect the person you say that you love, apologies can carry a lot of weight.

Saying the words “I’m sorry” send the message that you value your partner’s feelings over the bruise on your ego from admitting you’ve done something wrong.

Additionally, it shows that you care enough to actually say the words to ease your partner’s pain caused by your actions.

If someone never thinks that they’re wrong, how can they ever open themselves up enough to learn, grow, or build a sustainable relationship with you?

The answer is: They can’t.

3: They’re TOO possessive of your time.

Of course your partner is going to want to spend a lot of time with you (hopefully!), but there’s also the reality of your life outside of the relationship.

You’ve got friends, colleagues, hobbies — some of which may not include your partner, and that’s okay.

But, when they try to whittle down your social activities to only things that include them, it’s a sign of controlling, possessive levels of jealousy.

When they get mad if you talk to the server, or barista, or bartender, it’s a sign of controlling and possessive levels of jealousy.

If they get mad or upset when you want to do things that are completely normal, you may begin to stop doing these things just to avoid the arguments (see #1).

4: They’re never curious about your life.

Have you ever talked to someone (or…had them talk at you) while you patiently listened and responded…but then they showed no interest in hearing about you in return?

This can kill a first date right off the bat, but maybe they were just nervous, so you give them another chance…

And another…

And another…

Soon, you’re in a relationship and you’ve found that this really is just who they are.

They show virtually no interest in your passions, you feel like you’re facing all of your problems alone, you can’t trust or confide in them…

Being single and talking to the wall is far better than settling for someone who talks about nothing but themselves.

5: They’re threatened by your accomplishments.

Relationships are about leveling up together, and mutual support as your partner works to improve themselves.

Only people who are insecure in themselves will downplay your successes.

It makes them feel inadequate to see you putting in the work to succeed. It makes them have to question why they’re not willing to put forth the same effort.

So, as a reflex, they often try to minimize your accomplishments or tear you down.

They don’t celebrate you or cheer you on, as any good partner should.

Instead, they take small subtle jabs at your abilities or skills so you begin doubting yourself and “playing it safe.”

You start holding yourself back — taking fewer risks — having less confidence.

When you do this, they win, because they don’t have to worry about you outgrowing them.

The right partner will always be your biggest fan, rooting you on every step of the way.

What are some other traits of toxic partners that you’ve experienced or heard about? Let me know in the comments below.

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 38 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.

James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.

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