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This article is part of a partnership with the TCU Women’s Health Initiative. The purpose of the Women’s Health Initiative is to educate students at TCU and the general public about women’s health issues as well as advocate for women’s health issues on campus and in local communities. In addition, they support women who are struggling/have struggled with women’s health conditions, including but not limited to endometriosis, PCOS, fibromyalgia, and other autoimmune conditions. For more information on this organization, contact President Mackenzie Kahrhoff at [email protected].

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of a toxic relationship, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. For on-campus help, contact the TCU CARE Office.

Dating can be one of the happiest and most positive things in your life, but it can also become a source of toxicity. Toxic relationships can be hard to spot, especially when you are madly in love. While it’s normal for relationships to experience the usual ups and downs, toxic relationships are defined by consistent conflict that leaves you drained. There are countless stories on social media of people who finally saw the subtle red flags in their relationships and realized that it was time to move on from their toxic partner. What are those red flags?

Hostile Communication

Toxic relationships are marked by hostile communication. This can be shown through yelling, name-calling, interrupting, the use of silent treatment, and blame-shifting. This behavior is not excusable even if it’s done during a heated argument.

Lack of Trust/Dishonesty

A lack of trust and dishonesty are both big signs of a toxic relationship. When your partner lacks trust in you, they won’t trust you to stay faithful to them, nor will they trust you to make the right decisions for yourself or your relationship. When your partner is dishonest with you and constantly lies, it shows a lack of respect for you and your relationship.

Controlling Behavior

Toxic people love control, and this shows in their relationships. This can be shown through things like demanding that you give them access to your private social media accounts, attempting to stop you from doing activities without them, controlling your finances, and trying to tell you what they think is right. Another mark of controlling behavior is isolation.


A toxic partner will try to isolate you from everyone else you love to keep you to themselves. They will keep you from contacting your friends and family to maintain more control over your life. They may use hostile communication tactics to make you feel guilty about spending time with other people.

Ignoring your needs

Toxic people will always put their needs over yours. Relationships are meant to be 50/50, but in a toxic relationship, your partner will not think about what you may want or need from them. They won’t put in effort for day-to-day tasks such as messaging you back quickly or planning dates. They also won’t put in the effort to change any previous toxic habits they may have.

If you find yourself in a toxic situation, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. You are not alone. Trust yourself and your ability to walk away and make a better life for yourself because you are deserving of kind love.

Anela is a sophomore Strategic Communications major at Texas Christian University. In her free time, you can find her with her friends, in the gym, or curled up in bed scrolling through TikTok. A Fort Worth Texas native, she has a passion for traveling and one day hopes to travel all fifty states (she's been to 7/50 so far.)
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