If there's one phrase that is totally cliche and overused, it's this one — marriage is hard. Everyone says it, everyone knows it, and everyone hears it, especially when complaining about a spat with their spouse. But while marriage takes a lot of work, there are some relationship challenges that are more than the everyday obstacles. When you can't pinpoint where things are going wrong and you're tired of chalking it up to the standby phrase, it's time to take notice of the signs that you have a toxic spouse.
The word toxic is defined by "acting as or having the effect of a poison; poisonous." It's a heavy word to use to describe the person you were planning on spending forever with, but when your spouse becomes detrimental to your well-being, your life, and, consequently, your marriage, it's the only word that fits. Just reading the definition can give you some leverage on whether or not you have a toxic spouse. If thinking of your partner as poisonous to your life sounds absolutely ludicrous, then maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. But if the definition resonates with you, it's time to take a look at the other signs that you have a toxic spouse.
When we are with someone, especially a spouse, it's easy to overlook their flaws and the little things they do that drive us crazy. That's where marriage is considered hard. Letting go of the irritation you have every time they lose their keys or working on communication so the little misunderstandings will stop piling up — that's hard. But dealing with a spouse that is poisonous to your life? That's not the same and it's not normal. These 13 signs that you have a toxic spouse may shed some light on your relationship and propel you to find an antidote for the poison.
1They Make You Feel Inferior
Eleanor Roosevelt meant it when she said that, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And that counts for spouses. You should never feel less than amazing with your spouse, no matter the circumstances. You should feel equal with them in all aspects of life and they should take you seriously.
2They Find Fault In Everything You Do
We all mess up. We all make mistakes. But constant criticism from your spouse is not OK, especially if there's never any positive talk.
3You're Always Walking On Egg Shells
I've been in relationships where my partner was always defensive and quick to anger, and that sh*t is absolutely exhausting. You should feel free to speak your mind and have a discussion without your spouse flipping out on you. This is totally manipulative behavior to keep you from talking to them about things that bother you and it is unacceptable.
4They Encourage You To Withdraw From Family And Friends
You tell your spouse that you and your BFF had a big fight and their first response is to tell you to cut her off completely. That's a huge red flag. It's another manipulation tactic to force you to withdraw from your friends and family and will leave you feeling miserable and alone.
5You Lie About Your Relationship
Remember that cliche? Marriage is hard. People know this, so when you're complaining about your spouse, they get it and, for the most part, understand the hard times. But when you're scared to be upfront and honest about how your marriage is going, you're proving to yourself that your toxic spouse is not OK and that you know you deserve better.
6They Are Controlling
Whether it's controlling how you spend your money, who you hang out with, or even little things like what to eat for dinner, a controlling spouse is no good for you.
7You Think About Their Happiness In Regards To Everything
Keeping your spouse in mind for big decisions? That's OK. What's not OK is constantly thinking about their happiness when it comes to little things. I've been in this relationship, too. You want to go out with your friends, but your immediate thought is how your spouse will feel about it. You settle for less than what you want to keep them happy because it's not worth the arguing or the way you'll feel afterwards. All this does is breed resentment.
8Their Negative Energy Drags You Down
Everyone has bad days, but it's awful when your spouse's negative energy drags you down all the time. They shouldn't be OK with seeing their bad moods and worse attitude affecting you. Misery loves company, but a healthy, solid marriage doesn't allow for a spouse who poisons your own happiness by making you feel like crap all day.
9They Expect You To Solve All The Problems
Even if the problems aren't marriage-related, a toxic spouse will expect you to solve them. They're irritated, so they expect you to make them happy. They're tired, so they want you to turn off the television so they can sleep. They're angry, so they want you to do what they're asking to keep them happy. It's exhausting having to cater to someone's every whim and it is not fair in the slightest. And when it comes to your marriage, a toxic spouse will expect you to fix all the problems, especially if you're the one bringing them up.
10They Don't Take Responsibility For Their Actions
"You chose to feel that way," is the most passive-aggressive comment you'll hear from a toxic spouse. If your spouse can't admit that they screwed up or refuse to take responsibility for their actions, you've got to do something. There is nothing worse than constantly being told it's your fault, especially when it's something you have zero control over.
11They Aren't Sorry For Making You Upset
When you're upset, especially as a result of something your spouse did, they should be the first ones there to comfort you, to try and fix it, and to offer their apologies. When your spouse refuses to get involved, it can mean a few things. One, they aren't taking responsibility for the fact that they made you cry and two, they just don't care that you are upset. And that may be the most heartbreaking part of it all.
12They Ignore You
And I don't just mean when a football game's on. Ignoring your conversations, ignoring your moves at intimacy, ignoring your feelings and communication efforts — all of them count. You may find that your spouse is actually avoiding you in your own home or not returning your text messages all day, and it can make you feel alienated and so alone. It's an awful feeling and is absolute poison.
13You Feel Miserable All The Time
The biggest sign of all that you have a toxic spouse? You are just miserable every time you are around them. You're supposed to be happy with your spouse, end of story. There will be days where you don't want to be around them or days when they are driving you crazy, but you should never feel straight up miserable and unhappy by being with your spouse. It can stem from the way they make you feel, their energy, or simply their toxic personality, but the specifics don't matter. Your spouse makes you feel miserable and that's all you really need to know about a toxic marriage.