Signs of a toxic boyfriend

This blog post is about a heavy and uncomfortable topic that is often avoided. As a single woman, you long for connection, and sometimes that desire influences you so much that you settle for a relationship that is unhealthy.

You get involved in a toxic relationship.

In the beginning, it might all seem fine and even appear normal. But after a while, things start to shift and you realize something is off in the relationship. 

Unfortunately, it takes many women too long to recognize dangerous relationships. This is why today I want to share the signs of a toxic boyfriend.

What’s a toxic relationship?

Verywellmind defines a toxic relationship as a relationship that makes you feel unsupported, misunderstood, demeaned, or attacked.

Rather than enriching your life and adding to it, a toxic relationship will oftentimes threaten your mental, emotional, and even physical health. Life starts to feel worse than when you were single. 

Contrary to a healthy relationship, a toxic relationship will make you feel worse about yourself than when you are single. You feel your mental, emotional, or physical health take a toll rather than being supported. 

What is a toxic boyfriend?

Of course, men and women can have toxic traits. Toxicity is not exclusively linked to only one gender. But for this blog, I will explain how you know if your boyfriend is toxic. In general, a toxic boyfriend is a guy that shows certain behaviors that impact your well-being. 

You know your boyfriend is toxic if his actions or non-actions negatively affect your self-esteem and happiness. If you find yourself tip-toeing around him, chances are high that he has toxic traits. Some of which I mention below. 

Signs of a toxic boyfriend

It is very important to understand that toxic traits can sometimes be hard to identify. They often look harmless at first, but over time become toxic to the relationship. Here are some common signs of a toxic boyfriend every girl needs to know.

1. He ignores you 

If you have been or are currently seeing an inconsistent man, then this one is for you.

I believe that if a guy ghosts you, it ultimately means that this man is not treating you the way you deserve to.

As women, we tend to give men that are inconsistent the benefit of the doubt in the beginning. We are mindful that he might be busy with work, going through challenges, or simply avoiding drama.

While all these things can play a role in his life, you also need to understand that these challenges will pop up over and over again. If his first reaction is to drop all his responsibilities towards you then this is a red flag.

It also means that he is clearly not treating you as a priority but an option. Which can easily turn into the type of option that he only uses when he is desperate.

2. He gives you the silent treatment

Do any of you ladies have kids around? Maybe your younger siblings, nieces, and nephews or own kids?

Well, one thing that always works as a punishment for kids is giving them silent treatment. The act of denying them attention or even worse, love, is one of the most heartbreaking things to do to them.

And while you might think it only works with children, you are mistaken. The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse, in which you are punished for doing something wrong.

In toxic relationships, one person will often use this form of abuse to induce thoughts and feelings of powerlessness and shame by stripping you off your psychological need for belonging and self-esteem.

Personally, I consider this one of the worse forms of abuse and pray that you are very cautious with the people you allow into your lives. Because the tendency to use the silent treatment as emotional abuse can be seen very early in a relationship and should not be ignored.

Disclaimer: The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse that is very often used by women! So, if you are reading this, I ask you to analyze your own behavior. Do you tend to make a face and say ‘nothing’ when you are mad at your boyfriend?

If you are, I want to let you know that that is NOT cute or a good way to solve a conflict. In a healthy relationship, you can voice what is wrong and communicate your needs to the other. Remember that the next time you use the silent treatment.

3. He constantly uses sarcasm

One thing I have learned over the years is that the friends of mine that always needed to make fun of me to be funny, were those that didn’t mean well.

While sarcasm can be very funny, it can also be very painful.

That’s why if a guy is repeatedly overly sarcastic and criticizes and teases you but masks it as a joke, you need to be cautious. It’s an indication that he is testing the waters to see how much negative talk you will accept.

And if you just laugh it off, without ever speaking your mind, you train him that you are okay with it. Which can become a problem in the future. You don’t want your man to low-key disrespect you as long as he masks it as a joke. That is neither nice nor funny.

If he says something that you don’t like, let him know and encourage him to speak uplifting things to you. Or show him a way to voice criticism that will build you up rather than make you feel stupid.

Remember, that sarcasm is often used as a passive-aggressive way to communicate in relationships. And passive-aggressiveness can turn into aggressiveness reeeeeal quick and turn your relationship toxic.

4. He is manipulative

Manipulation, I believe is one of the more obvious signs of a toxic relationship.

Some examples include someone that constantly blames you for things that go wrong. Someone that constantly shames you for being who you are.

The goal of manipulations is to break your spirit by making you doubt or dislike yourself and your behavior. You are made to believe that something is wrong with you or that you are not (good) enough for him.

The only thing I have to say to this is: THE DEVIL IS A LIAR!

Because you are wonderfully and fearfully made and the king of kings himself designed and created you.

Men who are controlling and manipulative, oftentimes try to validate their own insecurities by magnifying yours, so that they can feel better about themselves.

So, if the guy you are dating has a hard time owning his mistakes and deflects them to you, be aware he might try to manipulate you.

How to spot the early warning signs of a toxic relationship

Unfortunately, a lot of women recognize the signs of a toxic boyfriend, after they are already attached to the man. Which then makes it harder to leave. You are more inclined to find excuses for his behavior and stick it out.

While the toxic relationship examples that I mentioned might not show up on your first few dates, there are a few early warning signs of a toxic relationship that you will be able to spot while you are still casually dating. 

He only cares about himself

Selfishness is honestly a big red flag in any relationship because it shows that the other person is less likely to ensure that your needs are met in the relationship. But it can also be an indicator for toxic behavior – narcissism. Therefore, you want to listen and observe him, to see how he reacts when things don’t go his way. Are you made to feel bad, or is he willing to compromise and meet you halfway? 

He talks bad about his ex

Toxic men will often be oblivious to their own toxicity. They will find fault in their partners in an attempt to protect themselves. That behavior in itself is toxic because it shows a lack of self-awareness. That’s why when you first start dating him. Observe how he speaks of his past relationships and if he can take responsibility.

He is dismissive of people’s feelings

A lot of men do not know how to deal with their feelings, because they have been taught to suppress them their whole lives. However, a man that has empathy will try his best to understand yours. Therefore, if he is dismissive of your feelings and inconsiderate of your needs it could be a sign that he might be toxic.

He pushes your boundaries

If he doesn’t care about you being uncomfortable and only cares about fulfilling his own selfish needs then that’s an indication you are in a toxic relationship. So, if a guy is pushing your boundaries or making you feel bad because of your standards or values, then he is using guilt, shame, and manipulation to get you to do something that only satisfies and serves him.

How to heal from a toxic relationship

1. Don’t hide

Share what is going on with your close friends and family. Study shows that victims of physical abuse don’t share what is really going on in their relationship until it’s too late, because they are ashamed. Don’t hide, but entrust your relationship problems to people in your circle that can help and intervene.

2. Seek help

This one goes hand in hand with the first point. Once you talk to family and friends about your situation, seek help in the form of wise counsel, marriage counseling, or therapy. Don’t attempt to work through it alone and potentially endanger yourself more.

3. Accept the truth

A woman’s identity is not found in her relationship status or whether she was able to save her relationship or not. The truth is both individuals in a relationship are responsible for their own actions. And sometimes that means you can’t do anything about your partner’s dysfunctions. So, accept the truth about them and the relationship and remove yourself while it’s still safe to do so.

Ladies, this topic is very heavy and less cheerful than my usual posts, but very important. If any of my above signs or patterns sound familiar and you do not feel safe, you need to take action.

Contact your local pastor and get authorities involved if necessary. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

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8 Comments on Signs Of A Toxic Boyfriend Every Girl Needs To Know!

  1. I have read several of your posts this past week and I truly believe God directed me to them. Thank you for speaking to a difficult subject. The relationship between myself and my husband a toxic one and I am preparing to leave. We do have young children and this post in particular has reinforced to me how important it is that I consider what the negative impact of staying will have on them (not just on me). Thank you also for the hope in Jesus that you include in everything that you write. As difficult as the past several years have been for me, they have brought me so much closer to God and in that respect I feel richly blessed!

  2. Hey Katrina,
    I’m so sorry about what you have to go through. But I truly believe that your experiences will be used to save and minister to others one day. I pray that you stay safe in this time and that God may give you the strength and hope you need to get through it!

  3. Justine, Thank you so much for writing this! This brought me the peace I needed. You are a Godsend. I truly believe that this is another sign I needed to see and read that God would never want me to be treated badly and that his plans for me are greater than I can even imagine. 100% we need more conversations like this. even it it is heavy it’s real life and the truth and it helps validate me and gives me hope.
    For the moms out there who are considering leaving toxic or abusive relationships even if it’s not all bad all the time. trust in the Lord for all your strength because you will teach your kids by loving yourself and respecting yourself the healthy boundaries needed to be a Godly person and by staying you are teaching them they don’t deserve to feel safe or valued and truly loved and accepted like how God loves us. I say this because I was that child who saw my mom get verbally, emotionally and eventually physically abused. I was 8 and I knew at the time it was wrong and it hurt me so bad to see. Worst, it taught me that love was conditional and I confused abuse with love in my own relationships later on in life. In fact with my current toxic relationship that I am trying to leave right now. I know by reading more scripture and reminding myself about what true love is with the examples of unconditional loving ways Jesus lived, things will continue to get more clear and that God gives me the strength to leave.

  4. Amen Fiona! I’m glad that you are doing the mental work to gain strength. Please speak to your local pastor or seek counseling. It is important that you stay safe and oftentimes you will need support from a community if you want to get out. I will keep you in my prayers. Justine

  5. Thank you so much for this. Your message brought me to tears! I’ve been in a challenging relationship for too long, and my two biggest obstacles causing me to linger we’re my thought that God wanted me to be in this relationship and that I think I can change him.

    Your article was freeing and gave me permission to acknowledge things in my relationship that aren’t right.

    God needed me to see this. I’m so thankful! Bless you!

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