When I had finally got out of my relationship, it was anti-climatic.

It felt like there was no break-up, just small break-ups leading to the actual one.

And none of it was ever easy. But not entirely terrible too.

It’s super hard to walk out of a relationship that is not outright wrong. You don’t know if you are making the right decision or if you are overthinking.

You especially don’t know these things when you have been constantly made to believe that you are dramatizing the issues. Maybe you are.

What if you aren’t?

Some early warning signs of a toxic relationship are glaringly red and others are on the sidelines — almost unnoticeable. Until you trip and you fall. Before you could even process the falling, you are yanked back up by your partner’s sweet nothings (or whichever they know your weak point is).

To make the subtle red flags less subtle, read on.

You are looking for a sign.

You are searching for something substantial to help you decide. The person you are probably thinking about while reading this or the person who made you Google for red flags — that’s the person. If you are looking for a red flag, that’s probably the simplest red flag.

Everything came together fast.

You skip a lot of the steps to a budding relationship. You two dove right in. They might have had a huge part to play in the “yes” to the relationship. Considerably less time was spent being friends or getting to know each other.

When it’s good, it’s good but when it’s bad, it’s horrible.

This is a line I’ve thought about a lot during the relationship. It wasn’t as if every single day was bad — a chunk of it was still there were plenty of good days. It’s easy to overlook the bad that way. But, no. Pay careful attention to the so-called good days, are there sprinkles of negative feelings, behaviours and/or thoughts?

The relationship relies heavily on one aspect.

Money? Sex? Security? Status? There’s usually a key element the relationship banks on. This element bleeds into all the other elements. It wouldn’t seem like such a serious thing because we all have preferences. But, you’ll notice that when you remove that aspect from the equation, most of the relationship is void.

You are trying to change each other.

Not grow, change. There are foundational incompatibilities that you two try to fix by changing yourselves to fit into each other. Sounds rather romantic? Not really. Change comes from within; it can be facilitated by those we value but don’t parent your partner.

Listen to your body.

There could be subtle yet distinct physiological reactions of discomfort. For me, it was a slightly raised heartbeat and quivering hands. This is not normal. Don’t dismiss it as a reaction. It could be your body’s mental expression.

You lie, consistently and in small ways.

You lie to the person because you feel scared to speak the truth. You lie to the others because you want to protect their impression of the person. Either way, you lie. You lie until the lies pile on and put a strain on you and the relationship you are lying for.

You are confused.

There would be these moments: you don’t feel understood, you don’t understand them, you don’t understand what just happened or you don’t understand what you agreed to. It makes you feel small and as if things are spiralling out.

They take the blame with conditions.

They apologize. They do. “But… if you hadn’t….then I wouldn’t have.” They wriggle their way out of fully acknowledging situations and mistakes. And the worst part? You buy into it. You make excuses for their behavior and think that you are the core of every fight!

They are talkers.

When you start believing you cause all the problems, you may actually start acting that way. They tend to bring out the worst in you. They do all this using: their words. They are expressive, careful in their choice of words and do a whole lot of talking. On some occasions, you find it interesting and others, droning — there’s rarely an in-between.

They create an “us vs. them” setting.

Throughout their persuasive talks, they would’ve sowed the idea that the two of you are one. Us against the world. Add an endearment. Us against the world, baby! Perfect. It would feel that way too because they would’ve strategically isolated you in a way that it’s literally you two.

Early warning signs of a toxic relationship are there but it’s not easy to leave

It’s not exactly a “between a rock and a hard place” kind of situation. Because leaving them is the best option for you. But, anything is easier said than done. So, yes. It’s going to be a difficult choice where both paths seem unpleasant. I suppose it’s better to take the path that allows you to remain. Relationships that show red flags will take you away from yourself in the long run. Nobody wants that — not for themselves or for others.

Here are three unaffiliated links that could be of use: