Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber are the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of our time.

The “Liz and Dick” 2.0 have had a long and complicated history with one another. Fashion Magazine and Billboard have dedicated articles to exploring and mapping out the timeline of their relationship. The on-again, off-again, on-again, then off-again couple have made many headlines with their break-ups and make-ups, shady Instagram posts, and songs that were supposedly written about their relationship.


Some highlights include:

In March of 2013, when Gomez appeared on Letterman, openly admitting that she made Bieber cry.

In November of 2014, when Gomez stunned us all in a beautiful pink gown, crooning a song she had just confirmed was about Bieber at the AMAs, "The Heart Wants What It Wants.”

In August of 2016, when the two had a mini Instagram war.

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But the two shocked us once again two weeks ago when pictures of them riding bikes together surfaced on the internet, along with creepily snapped paparazzi photos of them hanging at Gomez’s LA home, followed by pictures of the two at a hockey game, where Gomez had on Bieber’s jersey.

Safe to say, their fans remain divided about the possible romantic reunion between the two. While I’m personally advocating for them to have reunited as friends, there are many fans who recall the toxic nature between them and are worried that once again, they’re going to leave each other with a broken heart.

While we as the public may never know all of the details behind all the make-ups and the break-ups, we can talk a little about the signs of a toxic relationship and what to do if you find yourself in one. 


1. Your Self-Esteem Depends On How They View You

We all have those people in our lives we want to show the best versions of ourselves to. Whether it be a significant other, a best friend, a teacher, or a supervisor at work, we want them to see us in our best light. But it’s important to realize that we are not always the dream version of ourselves and that nobody has good days all the time.

When you start to feel like you always need to put out this ideal image of yourself so that the other person will like you, that’s not a stable relationship. Not to sound like a broken record, but if the other person can’t handle you at your worst, then they most certainly do not deserve you at your best. If you don’t feel good about yourself just because this person might not like the shirt you’re wearing or the way you styled your hair differently, take a step back and remember that you are more than how others see you. It’s more important to think about how you see yourself and how you, in turn, treat the people around you.


2. The Relationship is One-Sided

Do you notice that this person is constantly talking about him or herself, never asking how you are? Or that when they do, their attention is somewhere else when you’re talking? How about when you have a problem and you’re trying to explain it to them for guidance, they can only come up with one-word answers?

Their careless attitude towards you does not mean your problems are insignificant. It means that you’re investing more of your time and energy into the relationship than the other person is. If you can be there for that person at any time of day or any time of night, but they can’t show you the same respect, they’re not treating you how you should be treated.


3. You Find Yourself Changing Who You Are to Please Them

Cady Heron is the perfect example here. When Aaron Samuels first meets her, she’s a sweet girl from Africa who loans him a pencil in Calculus and stumbles over her words. Throughout the film, in an effort to win him over from the most toxic friend/love interest of all, Regina George, she changes drastically both appearance and attitude-wise.

It took losing all of her friends, losing her crush, and watching Regina George getting hit by a bus for Cady to realize the person she’d become. Changing yourself for someone else to like you won’t create a healthy or loving relationship; you’ll end up feeling like plastic instead.

It’s worth it to take a step back and reevaluate your relationship with your partner if you recognize some of these signs. And toxic relationships are not always romantic – best friends can be toxic, too.


It will be hard to let go of a relationship that you care deeply about, but you will find people who cherish you for who you are. It might take time, but they will come and appreciate you. And after many weeks, months, or maybe years, you might even come back to this formerly toxic person and realize you have both changed. You’ll both have matured since the last time you saw each other and you’ll understand why Justin and Selena have happily reunited.

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were.” – Richard Bach.