Whether you have been dating someone for a while or are in a committed serious relationship, you might have experienced a conflict or two. While conflict is natural in a relationship, you might want to know when it becomes unhealthy or toxic.
Read on to learn what is the definition of a toxic relationship, and—if you find yourself in one—how to move on from a toxic relationship.
What is the definition of a toxic relationship?
The first step to knowing if you are in a toxic relationship is to understand what it is.
A toxic relationship can be defined as a connection between two people (romantic or otherwise) where there is no peace or progress and is often detrimental to one person more than to the other. Toxic relationships can often be volatile, have repetitive cycles of destructive behaviour, and do not nurture the fundamentals of what makes a relationship healthy and joyful.
Signs of a toxic relationship
While toxic relationships can be recognised easily from the outside, it can be difficult to recognise if you’re in one, especially because different people perceive the experience differently.
Some people who have an anxious attachment style may label a relationship toxic or engage in toxic behaviour to justify ending it when the relationship had been quite normal. People who have experienced trauma may not recognise a toxic relationship and may stay in one for a while. Here’s where you can learn more about the signs of a toxic relationship.
Why do people find themselves in toxic relationships?
There are several reasons why you may find yourself in a toxic relationship, which can range from childhood trauma to love addiction. Here are a few reasons:
Whether you are the abused or the abuser in a toxic relationship, the reason might be unrecognised or unhealed trauma.
Trauma is stored in the RAS (Reticulating Active System), a part of the brain that works like a GPS, which seeks familiarity. Therefore, if you are only familiar with abusive love and toxic behaviour, your brain might automatically gravitate towards that.
A need for validation
If you are struggling with self-love or low self-esteem, you might try to look for acceptance or validation from other people, which can cause you to find yourself in a toxic relationship where you want to be validated at any cost.
Being preoccupied with social media can make you prone to enter or cultivate a toxic relationship. Social media encourages you to seek attention and validation in likes and numbers which can cause narcissistic behaviour that may translate into toxic behaviour.
A desire to rescue or be rescued
“Cinderella” syndrome is the desire to have someone rescue you from learning to love yourself and can put you at risk of entering a toxic relationship. You may instead enjoy helping or saving people who are struggling, which might cause you to be taken advantage of or cultivate toxic and controlling behaviour.
Toxic habits that seem normal
Some qualities of a toxic relationship might seem normal, but it can be important to learn what habits are normal and what are actually toxic to prevent yourself from staying in a toxic relationship. Here are some examples:
Lack of intimacy
While intimacy can ebb and flow in a healthy relationship, in a toxic relationship cycles of intimacy and lack-there-of may be used as a manipulative tool. If you are in a toxic relationship, you may experience cheating to cause emotional distress to a partner, or being forced into intimacy against your will.
Great communication takes time and practice between a couple and may need constant improvement even in a healthy relationship. When communication never improves, or a breakdown in communication often leads to conflict, indifference, or abuse, the relationship might be toxic.
It can be normal to feel infatuated with someone when you first start dating, and this feeling often evolves into stable, healthy love. In a toxic relationship, this transition might not occur since they tend to focus on lust that is fed by insecure attachment. This may produce a toxic cycle of breaking up and reuniting.
Conflict can often be healthy and normal in a relationship. However, constant conflict with no resolution may be a sign of a toxic relationship. You might experience avoiding conflict to please someone else or conflict that leads to verbal or physical abuse.
If you are experiencing abuse in any form, please seek professional help.
How to move on from a toxic relationship
Now that you’ve learned what is the definition of a toxic relationship and how to recognise it, you might want to either try to fix it or end it and move on.
Learning how to move on from a toxic relationship can help you avoid entering another one. There are several steps you can take to try and move on:
- Grieve the relationship: even though the relationship might have been toxic, it is normal to take time to grieve it.
- Reflect on the reasons you entered the relationship: try to think about why you found yourself in the relationship, what it allowed you to have, and what it took away from you and learn from it. Talking to a professional can help with this process.
- Educate yourself on healthy relationships: you can read about how to handle conflict in a healthy way or how to recognise gaslighting. This can help you handle toxic behaviour when you recognize it.
What is the definition of a toxic relationship (and how to move on from a toxic relationship): FAQs
How to avoid a toxic relationship before it starts?
Knowing the signs of a toxic relationship can help you prevent yourself from entering one. It is difficult to notice toxic behaviours at first, so pacing yourself in a relationship can give you time to learn someone’s character before becoming attached.
You may also ask friends, family, or a professional for an outsider’s perspective.
Can you fix a toxic relationship?
Although many toxic relationships might need to end, if both partners are willing to work, some toxic relationships can be turned around.
What are some resources for help?
There is a lot of support for people who have been in toxic relationships. You can reach out to a mental health professional, do some research online to find support groups, or talk to family and friends. Try to be open about your experience, and tell someone if you are in danger.
What is the definition of a toxic relationship (and how to move on from a toxic relationship): our final thoughts
While a toxic relationship can be difficult to recognise when you’re in it, learning what is the definition of a toxic relationship can help. If you realise that you are in a toxic relationship, try reaching out for help to end it and learn how to move on from a toxic relationship.
- 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