Relationships are hard and nobody is perfect. Men and women have all been guilty of being unkind to their partners at one point or another. That’s just life.
But sometimes, occasional insults or constant mean comments are more than just a bad moment and are actually signs you are dealing with a toxic partner and could be in a toxic relationship.
There are behaviours that some men and women exhibit that are destructive to their relationships. Some men and women spoke to Heart Congress about how they knew they were in relationships with toxic people and what they did about it.
Esther: My boyfriend never accepts blame for his mistakes
I find myself struggling time and time again with my boyfriend because he doesn’t accept responsibility for his negative actions against me. He tells me that a man never apologizes to a woman and that he treats me the way I deserve. He blames me for the way he talks to me with disrespect. It hurts being in a relationship with a man who never accepts blame for his actions. He blames all our relationship woes on me and overlooks his role in the problem we are having in our relationship. I just broke up with him because I couldn’t cope with his pride and arrogance anymore. Accepting blame is vital to accepting responsibility in relationships and he is not ready to do that.
Daniel: My woman doesn’t let me be myself
I have been dating this beautiful girl for almost six months now. We love each other and plan to get married in the future but she is very toxic. She doesn’t let me be myself. She wants me to live my life differently from what I am used to.
She tries to control my life’s choices thinking that she knows what is best for them. She undermines my ability to make good decisions. She doesn’t trust my judgments. She makes me begin to question myself. She is limiting me from being the best person I can be.
Being in this kind of relationship is both complicated and emotionally exhausting. I have tried many times to make her see reasons but she doesn’t understand that I have to be myself.
Henrietta: My boyfriend says hurtful things to me
Words spoken in anger can’t really be taken back. My boyfriend is fond of telling me hurtful words. He uses these negative statements to avoid having a conversation with me.
Whenever there’s an issue, he starts calling me unprintable names instead of tackling the issue on ground. We have been dating for six months. We fight all the time. We fight more than we enjoy each other’s company.
His toxicity is affecting me. I have tried to keep our relationship going but he is not making efforts to make things work between us.
Ogechukwu: It’s ‘his way or the highway’
My fiancé always wants to have his way even if he is wrong. He tells me that for a relationship to work, a woman should be submissive and not question her man’s decisions.
Refusing to accept influence from your partner is a common behaviour that can wear out a relationship. More than simple stubbornness, this can be harmful because my fiancé doesn’t think my opinions are valued.
My fiancé believes that he is always right and it is his way or the highway. He doesn’t listen to my suggestions or listen to my concerns. He feels that a man is superior to a woman and this breaks my heart.
Obinna: She suggests a break up whenever things don’t go her way
I have been with my girl for a while. She is beautiful, brilliant and a very good cook but most of the time, she threatens me with a break up whenever we have a misunderstanding.
I know she doesn’t mean the things she says but hearing her threaten me all the time is wearing me out. I have appealed to her to stop threatening me with a breakup or her wish will come true one day but she thinks I am joking.
Sometimes, I feel that she does this just to feel assured that she is still loved. At other times, I fell like she does this to bring her confidence back. These are all selfish reasons and if she genuinely loves me, she would stop torturing me with threats of breakup.
Yvonne: He deliberately punishes me whenever he’s angry
As innocuous as it may seem, giving the silent treatment or withholding sex over small transgressions are signs of manipulation. My boyfriend of over a year does these things just to teach me a lesson.
I know he might feel like he is just trying to send a message, but I believe that there are better ways to express one’s frustrations.
I have talked to him about this but he is not ready to change. I have told him that if I offend him, he can calmly explain how he is feeling to me instead of giving me the silent treatment and withholding things from me.
I don’t like him scolding, yelling and punishing me like he is dealing with an erring child. It is not even effective with children, so he needs to skip it in our relationship too. He makes mistakes too and I don’t punish him for that.
Titilayo: My husband is physically abusive during arguments
Physical violence are slapping, pushing or shoving. My husband of three years doesn’t have a problem with slapping me during arguments. He hits me and kicks me whenever he is angry.
I have lost two pregnancies because of physical violence. My family members say I should keep praying for him because his behaviour is not ordinary but I am suffering and I don’t know how long I can take the abuse.
With such a thin line between the kind of slapping that doesn’t leave a mark and something much more dangerous, I am always afraid of my husband’s bad moods and walk on egg shells whenever he is home.
I know that slapping is my husband’s inability to appropriately express his feelings. He speaks with his fists and this has made me a very sad woman. I hide from my friends and family members because I don’t want to keep answering questions about my black eyes.
Olufunmi: My husband is controlling
I have read that toxic relationships stem out of one person’s desire to control the other person. Controlling behaviours are exhibited in many different ways.
My husband exerts this control over me by being emotionally, physically, and financially abusive. He refuses to drop feeding money at home whenever we fight. He doesn’t care about his children’s wellbeing.
There’s an unequal balance of power in my marriage. It has been going on for years and I am almost going crazy. I know I am not in a healthy marriage but my hands are tied. I am a housewife and my husband uses my condition to his advantage to hurt me the more.
Godwin: My wife tries to alienate me from family and friends
My wife is always complaining about my family and friends. She doesn’t want me around the people I love. She prohibits me from seeing my family and friends.
This is a sign of toxic behaviour. I know some of my family members can be annoying and I have friends that I have known forever and adore, but my spouse doesn’t understand this.
What is not normal is when my wife tries to restrict me from speaking to or seeing my family and friends. We fight almost all the time because of this and she says she is doing this because she wants me all to herself. Her behaviour is not normal.