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Sex + Relationships

When Love Starts To Hurt: Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Relationships are always changing and evolving. This could be a good thing or a bad thing—sometimes couples grow together, learn from their mistakes, and turn into what they’ve always wanted to achieve. But more often that not, especially in a relationship where one partner wants control over the other, they tend to crash and burn, with both of them just barely managing to get out of the wreckage. Navigating my way through college, I have definitely had my share of toxic relationships, which I am thankful for, along with the good ones, because they’ve shown me what I’ve grown out of and how to cope with the aftermath of one. Thinking you’re in a toxic relationship? Here are some signs that it might be time to climb out of the wreckage

Toxic Communication 

The conversations go nowhere. You’re in the midst of a fight but neither one of you wants to resolve it. Fights become more about an ego contest rather than fixing things and getting back to normal. You’re not communicating about anything and worst of all—you don’t really want to. You just don’t see a point. 

“No” Has No Meaning 

No means no. If your partner violates your laws of consent, ignores all your boundaries, and consistently puts his or her needs before yours, it’s one of the biggest signs of toxicity. Especially if they’re doing or saying things that make you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to either have a very serious talk with them and make sure they change, or say no to the relationship itself. 

Keepin’ Score 

If your partner is keeping a secret score card of all the things you’ve done wrong as a way to get back at you, this is a sure fire sign to call for a stop to the relationship. Your partner should be working with you and forgiving you for little mistakes made in the relationship, as you should too, and not keeping a list of things you’ve gone wrong to berate you for it later. 

What’s Yours Is Mine

If your partner is invading your rules of privacy—checking your room, interrogating your friends about you, demanding to check your phone or read your messages—it should be an alarm going off. Of course there should be transparency and honesty in any relationship, but not to the point where your partner should have access to your private belongings and violate your rules. 

The Ultimate Kicker 

Physical and verbal abuse…you already know this is wrong. I know it can be scary to walk away, but please reach out for help if you need it. You don’t need to put up with it, you don’t deserve it, you deserve so much more


At the end of the day, you are the main character in your own story, and if you have to save yourself, do it. You deserve more than a relationship that makes you feel exhausted all the time. The point of a relationship is to bring joy and fulfillment to your life, not to make you feel like there is no world outside your controlling partner. Everything you need to make yourself happy exists right there within you if you’re willing to just take the reins and climb out of the wreckage. You’ll be able to see the sun and finally breathe again.

Rachel Prince

Amherst '22

Rachel Prince is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is part of the Honors College, majoring in Neuroscience with the hope of becoming a doctor later in life. She loves playing the piano, creative writing, singing, and riding her bike at sunset. When she is not busy hanging out with her friends, she is planning out her next roadtrip, creating smoothie recipes, or trying to a find a new book to read.
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