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25 Seemingly Normal Things Couples Do (That Are Actually So Toxic)


Relationships are hard work to maintain, which is why sometimes the people in them forget that relationships are supposed to be fun! If the relationship isn’t fun to be in and one half is not having fun being around the other person, then it’s not a relationship, it’s a job.

That’s something definitely worth remembering as people navigate their dating lives, by the way. Regardless, it’s easy to get into things with someone and fall into certain habits with them. Some of those habits make a relationship easier and more of a joy to be a part of, while others tend to gum up the works of the relationship machine, so to speak. To make a long story short, some of the habits people fall into during their relationships are actually extremely toxic and worth calling out.

Unfortunately, a lot of these toxic behaviors couples fall into are often seen as normal to the rest of society, so they internalize that and think that they’re in a healthy relationship when they really aren’t. Some things have to do with behaviors and doing too much or too little of something. Other things have to do with a person’s mindset and how well they cope with problems in the relationship.

Here are 25 things that are often seen as normal in a relationship but that are actually so toxic.

25Making Every Social Media Post A Couple Photo

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Social media is kind of a complicated thing because we’re often not showing our real selves on social media. We’re either showing an airbrushed version of ourselves that looks like we’re perfect, or we’re just using it to share memes.

It’s normal to show off your significant other on social media, but it’s not normal to only show your relationship on social media.

One, it implies that your relationship is the only thing you care about, which really isn’t a vibe you want to put out there. Secondly, it makes you seem really insecure about the relationship. Lastly and probably most importantly, it makes scrubbing your social media clean of a breakup that much more difficult.

24Spending Literally Every Second Together

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Lots of unhealthy couples like to replace emotional closeness with physical proximity, which is a huge indicator that the relationship isn’t right for either party. In a situation like that, the more you spend time together, the more you suffocate each other.

Weirdly, it’s seen as normal to try and spend as much time with your significant other as you can, even if it would benefit everyone to take some time apart and do something without each other for once.

If you’re basically spending time together to try and avoid opening up emotionally to that person, that’s a red flag.

23Trying To “Fix” The Other Person

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First, let’s get something out of the way: people are not projects and you cannot fix a person.

This is something everyone should learn before they start a relationship, but too often people have this idea that when they fall in love, they’re doing that with someone’s future self, not the person that the person is now.

You have to understand that if they’re telling you who they are, believe them at that moment and don’t expect to be the thing that makes them become the person you want to be. That’s a red flag on both ends and frankly, it’s a little toxic.

22Talking About Kids And Marriage Right Away

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When we’re in a relationship, it’s fun to think about the future. If anything a lot of us have spent our childhoods planning our weddings and thinking about the perfect person to marry at that perfect party. However, if you’re actively planning your wedding and children and your whole life with someone and you haven’t really been dating them all that long, that’s a major red flag. That’s because you’re pinning your whole future on a new relationship, which is never smart and a good indicator that you just want to be in that place and don’t care too much about who you do that with.


21Only Doing Holidays With One Person’s Family Over The Other’s

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Okay, this isn’t to say that every relationship is going to balance the in-laws perfectly. You might just gravitate to one set of parents or one family more than the other, and that’s okay.

However, if your partner is saying that you absolutely have to do all the holidays with their family, that’s a red flag and possibly a little weird.

That’s because that could be a sign that your partner is trying to isolate you so that you only maintain close connections with people they know or approve of rather than trying to get to know your people as well.

20Engaging In Constant PDA


Let’s be real, guys: we are often very annoyed at the couples who go out of their way engage in the kind of PDA that should be kept behind closed doors. Sure, some public displays of affection are cute and should be encouraged, but to be honest, if you’re going overboard, it just looks like you’re not as confident in your relationship as you’d like to be and you think that being super public about your affection is going to make you seem like you’re more in love to the people around you. Show affection for yourself, not for other people.


19Trying To Avoid Each Other To Minimize The Time Spent Together

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On the other hand, trying to spend as little time together as possible in order to show everyone that you have a healthy emotional connection and you don’t need to physically be together to be close on other levels, that’s a red flag, too. Healthy relationships are about spending time together and taking time for yourself and forcing the scale to tip too much to one side does the whole relationship a disservice. What you really want is to be with someone who respects your time and what you choose to give your energy to from moment to moment.

18Refusing To Claim The Other Person On Social Media

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On the other hand, not showing your significant other on social media at all is indicative of a whole lot of other things. For one, it makes you seem like you don’t care about the relationship. To add to that, it makes it seem like you’re embarrassed of the relationship or are hiding it for whatever reason. While there are a lot of reasons to keep a relationship private or just more low-key, that’s something that both parties in a relationship have to be okay with. If the secrecy is just on one side, that’s a red flag.


17Fighting In Public

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Another major red flag that your relationship could be really toxic is if you and your partner are fighting in public. Yeah, fights and disagreements happen, but part of being in a relationship is communicating well enough so the situation doesn’t devolve into a big mess, especially not in public.

If you and your partner can’t keep it together in public to the point where disagreements turn into fights that the people around you notice, it’s a good indicator that the two of you aren’t really on the same page.

It’s also a good indicator that the two of you might be feeding off of each other’s drama.

16Only Socializing With Them Even When It Would Be Better To Hang Out Separately

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When you go to hang out with your friends outside of your relationship, is your partner always there? If they are, that could be a red flag. Whether you’re neglecting your other relationships to spend time with your significant other, or you’re constantly going out of your way to bring your significant other to events that were supposed to be you, by yourself, hanging out with your friends, this behavior tends to indicate that you’re dealing in codependency and you can’t bear to be without them for even a minute. In theory, that’s romantic, but in practice, it’s more than a little toxic.


15Keeping A Scoreboard And Holding Grudges

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One huge sign of a toxic relationship is if the two of you are constantly holding grudges and treating each other badly because of slights committed against each other long after the event is over.

Keeping a scoreboard of things the other person has to make for is one of the major signs that things just aren’t working, to be honest.

Doing this just says that you don’t want to forgive them for things and you feel like you can get away with things because the other person owes you or something. It’s seriously one of those things that eats away at a relationship the quickest.

14Dropping Hints Instead Of Being Direct

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If you’re a person who is generally direct and you’re dropping hints instead of just coming out and saying what you need, that’s a good sign that the relationship isn’t that good for you. Weirdly enough, this is one of those behaviors people excuse the most because we love to idealize having a special language only your significant other knows how to speak with you. While this is a real thing for some people, there’s a difference between communicating in this way and not communicating at all and it can be hard to know the difference until the relationship falls apart due to a lack of communication.


13Refusing To Forgive, Let Alone Forget

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Forgiveness is essential to any and every kind of relationship: if there’s no forgiveness you can’t move forward and begin to regain trust once it’s been lost.

If you can’t bring yourself to let go of those things, you’ll start resenting your partner and it ends up leading to grudge-holding and scoreboard keeping, both of which will destroy any relationship.

We often think this kind of thing is normal, or we’re so used to doing this to people we’re not involved with romantically that it just boils over. If you can’t forgive them for things, even small things, the relationship is either becoming toxic or it is already.

12Dealing In Lots Of Drama


For some of us, our dating lives have been full of drama. Whether it’s dramatic, cataclysmic breakups that disrupt your whole life or a steady string of significant others who all know each other, or relationships defined by lots of messy behavior, most of us have been there. That’s honestly pretty normal. What isn’t normal is not learning from those experiences and seeking out a relationship that’s not as dramatic. Many of us are so quick to say that drama follows us and refuse to acknowledge that you’re chasing the drama, not the other way around.


11Looking Too Far Into The Other Person’s Social Media

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Stalking someone on social media that you’re interested in romantically is quickly becoming the crazy person romantic rite of passage at this point.

While looking someone up on social media is one thing, keeping tabs on your significant other is toxic behavior and a lot of times we’re told that it’s normal or even justifiable.

Stalking your significant other on social media is just your way of proclaiming to the world that your relationship has absolutely no trust, and unfortunately most relationships don’t last long after that.

10Outright Spying On The Other Person

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Social media stalking is one thing, but if you’re taking that behavior offline, that’s even worse. Not only are you showing that your relationship has no trust, but you’re also actively eroding the trust in your relationship, and you’re showing yourself to not be relationship material on top of that. If you’re uneasy in your relationship and have a reason to distrust the other person, there are many more steps to take to salvage things before you resort to something that could potentially be a crime.


9Comparing The Other Person With An Ex

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Our exes tell a story: of the people we were before we got to the points, we’re at now, of the values we hold in the past and present, and much more. Speaking for myself here, you can probably learn a lot ab0ut me from just knowing my exes, and I know others feel the same way.

That being said, comparing your current person with your ex, while it can be healthy on occasion, really shows the potential toxicity of your relationship.

Either you’re doing it to bring your current significant other down or you actually have lingering feelings for that ex, but either way, it’s bad for what you’ve got going on now.

8Letting Themselves Go – To The Point Of Unhealthiness

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When you’re in a relationship, you often end up getting what I’ve always lovingly called “relationship gut.” There’s nothing wrong with that: as a person who’s been dating an amateur chef for almost four years, I feel this more than most. However, if you’re letting yourself go to the point where you’re starting to not like the person you’re becoming, that could be a real problem. Thankfully, this is one of those things that can be easily fixed by you and your partner taking initiative and taking charge of your health by eating healthier food together and getting active.


7Making The Other Person Responsible For Things They Don’t Need To Be Responsible For

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We’re often told that we should rely on our romantic partners for all of our emotional needs, to the point where they should be the main source of our happiness.

This is an incredibly toxic thing and can really mess with your relationship because it puts way too much responsibility on your significant other.

This attitude makes it so if you’re not happy, it’s your significant other’s fault and vice versa. In reality, we are all responsible for our own happiness and if we forget that, we often lose sight of the things that are really important.

6Telling Lots Of White Lies To Save Face With The Other Person

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Occasional white lies are socially acceptable for a lot of things, but one place a white lie has no place in is your relationship. If you can’t be honest with your partner about serious things, to the point where you use lies and half-truths to hide what’s really going on, that’s a sign that your relationship is potentially really toxic. That’s because lying to your significant other not only illustrates that there isn’t any trust, it actively erodes the trust that is there to begin with. This is just a bad habit to get into for any reason.


5Telling White Lies To Save Face Ourselves

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The worst and most insidious lies are the ones we tell ourselves to keep functioning in our current state.

In the context of relationships, we can end up lying to ourselves that we’re happy in our relationship, that we need to leave our relationship or anything else in between.


We do this to serve our own ideas of what our lives should be instead of owning up to the people we really are. Once we stop being honest with ourselves, being honest with our significant others is that much more difficult and that just dooms the relationship until the issues are resolved.

4Taking The Other Person For Granted

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The last thing we ever want to do besides erode trust in our relationships is to take people for granted. Weirdly enough, taking people we date for granted is extremely pervasive in our culture right now. We drop people and break hearts like it’s nothing and then we’re surprised when we realize how emotionally numb we are as people. A relationship can only take so much of this before it breaks. That being said, we need to also make sure we’re actively contributing to our relationships and putting in as much effort as the other person is and that will go a long way towards showing people appreciation.


3Refusing To Admit Other People Can Be Attractive Outside Of The Relationship

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We’re often treated like we don’t appreciate the relationship if we admit we find someone attractive outside our relationship. This is actually toxic behavior, believe it or not.

First off, we are all human and have eyes and sometimes our eyes will like what we see, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love our partners.

Secondly, if your partner gets irrationally jealous because of this, that’s a whole other can of worms showing how toxic the relationship has the potential to be. Lastly, not acknowledging when we find someone attractive outside the relationship actually robs you of the opportunity to learn more about yourself.

2Forgetting Why The Relationship Exists And Why It’s Worth Preserving

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All too often, we find ourselves in relationships where we don’t know why we’re there. Maybe we pursued them or allowed them to pursue us and things came together for you a long time down the road, but you can’t think of any reason to stay or even why you got together in the first place. Maybe you fell into a relationship with someone you don’t think you have a lot of chemistry with and you’re feeling restless. This is toxic, but we’re often told to stay in relationships like this because of the sunk-cost fallacy. Bottom line: if you’re unhappy in a relationship, you can leave it without guilt, but if you want to work it out, you should do that too, as long as you do those things with intention.


1Not Acknowledging That Both People Have Flaws

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We’re often told by society that we should idealize our significant others, waving their flaws away like they’re nothing.

However, not acknowledging that we are flawed people with issues is toxic because it puts people on pedestals and then resentment happens when they do something that makes them fall off that pedestal.

It’s hard to really internalize, but the people we love will mess up and hurt us and we’ll mess up and hurt them. The important thing is that we treat each other and ourselves with kindness and understanding. That alone will go a long way towards making our relationships healthy.


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