If These 7 Things Are Part Of Your Nighttime Routine, Your Relationship Might Be Toxic
The moments before you fall asleep can often be a time of stress. As you're brushing your teeth or lying in the dark, you finally have time to think about everything you're juggling in your busy schedule, and your brain starts going a million miles an hour trying solve all of your problems. If you're in a toxic relationship, you might have even more reason to be anxious before bed. People often have trouble falling asleep because of things they're doing right before bed, Michael Grandner, PhD, a psychiatry instructor and member of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania explained to Health, and you and your partner's evening routine could reveal a few things about your relationship.
By nature, healthy relationships make you feel good: supported, happy, loved, etc. A toxic relationship, on the other hand, is “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness," Dr. Lillian Glass explained in her book Toxic People, Time magazine reported. People in unhealthy relationships are likely to feel depressed, unwanted, or consistently unhappy, psychologist Asa Don Brown Ph.D, wrote in Psychology Today.
Being in a negative relationship can especially affect bedtime because people in toxic relationships are usually stressed out, which makes falling asleep quite a challenge, according to Bustle. The amorphous nature of toxic relationships makes it hard to spot the signs, but there are a few common sleepy-time indicators that could mean your partner isn't right for you.
1. They're More Interested In Their Phone Than You
I'm as guilty as the next person of having some quality "phone-time" before I fall asleep, but your partner's inability to put the phone away before getting their shut eye might be a sign they have a "desire for other people to validate" them because they aren't being fulfilled by the relationship, psychologist Dr. Leder-Elder explained to Reader's Digest. This could lead to jealousy and a lack of trust.
A partner who obsessively looks at other people's posts or frequently messages people you don't know in private could even be committing emotional infidelity, according to Bustle.
2. You Fight Over The Covers (And Everything Else)
One of the most common signs of a toxic relationship is constant fighting, over anything and everything, according to Bustle. Fights in unhealthy relationships will turn ugly, with name calling and personal attacks, and they leave both parties feeling drained. If you can't go to sleep without one of you getting mad that the other person forgot to turn the light off or anything else equally mundane, you might want to reevaluate your situation.
3. They Don't Ask About Your Day
Relationships involve give and take, and obviously there are going to be days when people are more focused on work than their significant others. But if your partner doesn't pay attention to your life and shows no interest in finding out about what you did each day, it could be a sign that the relationship is toxic, Rebecca Hendrix, L.M.F.T, psychotherapist, explained to Women's Health.
4. You're Never Intimate
A healthy sex life depends on communication, as AHSA board of directors member Dr. J. Dennis Fortenberry told ATTN:, and that communication won't be there in a toxic relationship. You and your partner might have stopped having sex because your partner didn't listen to your desires or because you just don't feel like being intimate with them anymore; either way, you should feel comfortable talking to your partner about what you want out of your sex life if your relationship is in a good place.
5. Or You're Always Intimate
It's up to you and your partner to decide how much sex is right for you, but if you're having sex for the wrong reasons, it could be a sign the relationship has become toxic. Having sex to avoid conflict or as placeholder for any other kind of intimacy isn't normal, and you shouldn't feel like your relationship would be in trouble if you said you weren't in the mood one night.
6. You Sleep As Far Away From Each Other As Possible
People often describe feeling drained by a partner in a toxic relationship, according psychologist and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes to Bustle, and it leads them to not want to be around their S.O. That bleeds into physical proximity, so if you notice that you and your partner are avoiding touching each other at bedtime, it could be a sign that things have turned poisonous. Granted, some couples just sleep better when they're not sharing physical contact, so this one mostly matters if you used to be big cuddlers and suddenly aren't.
7. You Can't Fall Asleep While They're There
Do you find yourself unable to sleep next to your partner? It could be because they snore or their frequent trips to the bathroom are disrupting your slumber, or you may be lying awake because you don't feel safe or comfortable with your significant other. Studies show toxic relationships actually do lead to interrupted sleep, so the person sharing your bed might be the reason for your insomnia, Jessica Yaffa, director of community education at Practical Recovery in La Jolla, explained to the San Diego Union Tribune.
There's no surefire way to know if your bedtime routine with your partner is normal or masking toxicity in your relationship, but try to trust your own judgement. You're the only person who knows what's right for you, and if you're feeling unhappy or dissatisfied, there's probably a reason for feeling that way, so it's never a bad idea to reevaluate your relationship and your role in it.