Being in a toxic relationship can be unhealthy and harmful. If you suspect that your relationship with someone you’re dating is toxic—maybe friends and family have warned you or you are experiencing patterns of fights and gaslighting—you might consider how to proceed.
Read on to find out how to leave a toxic relationship, how to recognize one, and—depending on your situation—how to fix a toxic relationship.
How to know if I’m in a toxic relationship?
If you suspect that you are in a toxic relationship, you might consider either leaving the relationship or trying to fix it. Here are some of the signs that can help you identify a toxic relationship.
While it can be normal to experience periods of conflict in a relationship, in healthy relationships, people are able to communicate during or after a conflict and resolve it.
Constant fighting can be a sign of a toxic relationship. If these conflicts continue to escalate, rather than improve, chances are you might be in a toxic relationship.
Stress and anxiety
Even in difficult periods, it is still possible to have a sense of peace and hope for change. If your relationship has constant stress and anxiety and you have more confusion than you do peace then it is toxic.
A couple that stagnates or goes around in circles is a couple that lacks the fundamentals to make that relationship healthy and fulfilling.
If you are fearing for your safety and well-being because of the person you are with, then your relationship is toxic, and reaching out for help can be a good idea.
Abuse of any kind
Abusive behaviour should never be tolerated or justified and is a clear sign of toxic behaviour. Whether it is verbal, emotional, physical, mental, or sexual abuse it should be addressed immediately. More subtle signs of abuse include gaslighting, controlling behaviour, or shaming.
How to leave a toxic relationship
In most cases, toxic relationships should not be continued. If you are in a toxic relationship and wish to end it, here are some steps you can take.
Try to form a plan for leaving: think about how and when you want to cut ties, and if you’re living with a toxic partner try to make sure you have a safe space to stay and some funds for after you leave. Focus on how you can rebuild your life afterwards.
Find support from friends and family, or seek professional help during and after the process, even if you think you do not need it. Having a supportive community means you can have someone to check in on you or give you advice, which can help with leaving, as well as with healing.
Whether this is a no contact rule, blocking your toxic ex-partner’s number or social media accounts, or having a mediator, setting strong boundaries can be important for protecting yourself and healing.
Focus on healing
Breakups can be difficult, even when you know it was the right thing to do, and especially when dealing with the emotional residue of a toxic relationship. Allow yourself to grieve the toxic relationship, but try to balance out that pain by focusing on healing and moving forward.
Set yourself some new goals, build up your self-worth, and take time for yourself.
How to fix a toxic relationship?
Depending on a relationship’s toxicity level, some can be healed and saved. In order to decide if you want to try and fix a toxic relationship rather than learn how to leave a toxic relationship, you might want to consider whether the relationship can likely be fixed, and how you can do so.
Toxic relationships that can be fixed
It might be possible to heal a toxic relationship if
- your partner is actively willing and trying to improve: they are consistent with the effort needed in order to change the toxic behaviour and dynamics, and you see real change.
- you can access professional help: you and your partner are able to see a trained professional either separately or together.
- there is no abuse: if you are being abused in any capacity it might be better to end the relationship and seek help immediately.
Advice on how to fix a toxic relationship
If you’ve determined that you want to attempt fixing your toxic relationship, the key to the process is breaking the toxic cycle. Here are some ways you can try to do so.
Seek professional help
When trying to fix a toxic relationship, seeking professional help can be beneficial. Although having supportive family and friends is important, a trained professional can help set a strategy in place, give guidance, and keep both partners accountable and honest in the process.
For instance, a couples therapist can help you identify toxic behaviours and patterns.
Healthy communication that is effective can be important in helping you fix your relationship. This means being patient during conversations—knowing how to give and receive constructive criticism without getting defensive— to avoid fighting. If it’s challenging to keep conversations calm on your own, a therapist or counsellor can help mediate.
Without boundaries, you might not be able to sustain a healthy standard of accountability and progress. Setting boundaries can help you communicate in a healthy way, express your expectations, and present consequences to certain behaviours.
Give it time
Toxic relationships will take patience and forgiveness. You cannot repair a toxic relationship overnight; this process takes patience and forgiveness. There might be relapses and moments that make you question your progress.
If you feel like giving up on the relationship, try to understand if it’s because of overwhelming emotions or a real need. Keep in mind that even if you initially wanted to fix the relationship, you can always change your mind in the process if it’s the better decision for you.
Ever heard of love addiction? It can also cause a relationship to be toxic. Read on to find out more about what it is.
Reasons people find themselves in toxic relationships
When you’ve ended or repaired your toxic relationship, it might be time to reflect and start healing. During the reflection process, you might be wondering why you found yourself in a toxic relationship. Keep in mind that being in a toxic relationship is not your fault, and focus on how you can learn from the experience.
Fear of missing out on love, being lonely, or being abandoned can cause people to enter a relationship that is negative, just so they can have someone by their side. When we permit fear to control our actions and attachments it manifests as toxic relationships and behaviours.
Remember that our fears are as powerful as we allow them to be, and being aware of your fears can help you control and overcome them.
Need for validation
Entering a relationship and loving someone out of lack—a need for validation or love that you hope would help you love yourself—can result in toxic relationships in which you might be taken advantage of.
Ultimately, fears and lacks and your subconscious responses to them can stem from childhood experiences. How you experienced relationships and love from a young age might influence how your brain perceives and seeks attachments.
For example, if you’ve never felt loved or accepted you may lack boundaries with others to try to earn love and avoid rejection. If you had parents who had a broken marriage, you may find that you tend to try and fix broken people.
How to leave a toxic relationship and how to fix a toxic relationship FAQs
Can you fix a very toxic relationship?
You can fix a toxic relationship if both partners are willing to participate in the process and if it’s the healthy choice for you. While some very toxic relationships have successfully been turned around, it is not always the case, and setting unrealistic expectations can cause more pain. If you want to repair your toxic relationship, seeking professional help can be a good idea.
Can a toxic person change?
Yes, it is possible for people to change. However, waiting for a toxic partner to change whilst sacrificing your own happiness may be unhealthy. The toxic person needs to want to change as well, and show their intentions by reflecting on their actions and consistently working towards bettering themselves.
Is fixing a toxic relationship worth it?
If a relationship can be saved for the right reasons, it may be worth giving it a try. However, this depends on what the toxic traits are and what both people are doing to try and fix the toxic relationship and make their (non-toxic) partner feel valued again.
Do toxic relationships ever last?
Toxic relationships can last for as long as you let them last. You can have the power to continue or end them, and you can choose what is the healthiest choice for you in the relationship.
How to leave a toxic relationship and how to fix a toxic relationship: our final thoughts
While learning how to fix a toxic relationship can be difficult, it is possible—especially when seeking professional help. However, sometimes the healthy choice may be to leave that relationship behind, and although figuring out how to leave a toxic relationship requires some planning and strength, it can be done in a healthy way with the right support system.
Whether you choose to end a toxic relationship or try to fix it, keep in mind that finding yourself in a toxic relationship is not your fault.
- Over 13 million active users on the site
- Intelligent matchmaking based on background and interests
- 85% of members have a professional background
- Matches based on questionnaire for attitude, opinions, desires, and expectations
- Get your questionnaire, personality assessment, and matches all completely free
- Aimed at the educated crowd and focused on helping you meet your special someone
- Best for: Authentic 50+ matchmaking
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 60,000
- #1 trusted dating app in the UK
- For serious, long-term relationships
- Free registration
- Perfect for: People looking to flirt and starts things off in a fun way
- Find someone in your neighbourhood
- Chat with like-minded singles straight away
- Fun chat function that lets you send texts, voice notes, pictures, gifts and more
- Great search function
- The place to find like-minded people who are looking for meaningful relationships
- Immediate support from professional team
- 1000s of profiles
Personality assessment for enhanced screening
Global reach. Match with like-minded singles all over the world
Meet your equal in values, lifestyle, and career ambition
- Ignite romance right in your vicinity
- Enjoy exact matching thanks to accurate filters;
- And explore many more benefits that will help you find love!
- Offers unlimited messages and great value with a Welcome Offer for the new members
- More than a dating site. Gives access to engaging and unique VIP Content for its premium members
- Secure. Supports a variety of safe and convenient payment options, like Google Pay and Apple Pay
- Easy and convenient interface
- Perfect for casual dating & hookups
- Plenty of members for you to have fun with
- Best for: Anonymous and discreet encounters
- Free membership: Free registration
- Users: Chat with thousands of attractive singles
Engage in romantic conversations of an exciting nature with REBLL Network’s premium British dating community. If you are looking for teasingly playful connections, meaningful deeper interactions, or anything in between, you have arrived at your destination! Let us create memorable experiences for you that leave you both satisfied and wanting more. Check out our perks:
Flirty Conversations: Engage in playful banter, exchange virtual surprises, and enjoy interactive charm with potential matches that make your heart race.
Captivating Profiles: Create a profile that dazzles! Share your most alluring photos, fun videos, and witty bio snippets to showcase your unique charm.
Exciting Encounters: Join us at local events, where sparks fly, connections sizzle, and you'll find yourself wrapped up in thrilling moments with other singles in the UK.
Personalized Connections: Immerse yourself in Exclusive Matches, where cutting-edge algorithms work their magic, connecting you with individuals who ignite your interests and desires.
Safety with a Spark: Your safety is our top priority, wrapped in an air of mystery and excitement. Exclusive Matches ensures a secure yet exhilarating dating experience, where you can let your guard down and embrace the adventure.
- Large database of Asian and European singles in the UK
- Full control of your profile to set your desired privacy settings
- Attend virtual events to meet even more members
- Best for: Open-minded looking for "no strings attached" fun
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 54 million
- Meet attractive Asian, European, & Latino singles
- Quick and free signup
- Casual or serious online dating