All relationships 鈥 platonic, romantic and everything in between 鈥 are bound to have rough patches. Whether your friend struggles to overcome her jealousy of your promotion, you鈥檙e聽dealing with a frenemy聽at work or you and your S.O. just can鈥檛 seem to stop fighting, some human interactions are inevitably negative. But where鈥檚 the line between upsetting interactions and a toxic聽relationship?聽Harmful聽relationships are hard to diagnose and even harder to quit, so we asked a relationship expert for guidance. Read on for three ways to tell if you鈥檙e in a destructive聽relationship (we鈥檙e talking toxic friends too) and three ways to end it.


3 Signs Your Relationship Is Toxic

鈥淲hen we think about toxic relationships, we think about the stuff of TV where the other person is screaming, yelling and throwing things,鈥 relationship expert and author Ty Tashiro said. 鈥淏ut most people would never enter into those relationships in the first place. Most real toxic relationships are much more discrete,鈥澛燭y explained. Here鈥檚 what to look out for:

1. The other person throws a pity party. In this scenario, your聽friend or S.O.聽says things like, 鈥淵ou鈥檙e all I鈥檝e got,鈥 after a disagreement or if you don鈥檛 do what they want (AKA control you). They purposely make you feel like their problems are your fault. In more serious cases, the other person threatens to commit suicide if you leave the relationship.

2. Your friend or partner sends you on a guilt trip. When the other member of the relationship threatens to shame or blackmail you, they鈥檙e engaging in this toxic tactic. Tashiro says that in this case, they accuse you of being unfair and often ask, 鈥淲hy are you doing this to me?鈥

3. They go nuclear. This is a term used to describe explosive tantrums or lashing out, Tashiro says. This element of noxious relationships is arguably the most intense, because the other person attempts to use fear to keep you from leaving.聽These venomous acts can be as intense as domestic or sexual violence and as everyday as mean comments or jabs, Tashiro says.

In any case, they are signs of emotional (and, at times, physical) manipulation and are hard to walk away from. But聽there IS聽hope to those in any kind of toxic relationship.


3 Ways to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship

1. Bolster your social support. Once you鈥檝e decided to leave your friendship or relationship, your friends and family will play a key role in transitioning to life without the toxic person. 鈥淵our social support is a huge deal, because something that鈥檚 scary to think about for many people leaving toxic relationships is what they will do without the other person in their life,鈥 Tashiro said. Friends and family can help fill this void.

2. Write it all down and use a 4:1 formula. Sometimes, the most rational way to think it through is to put pen to paper. If you鈥檙e conflicted about the role that someone is playing in your life, perform an informal cost/benefit analysis. Tashiro recommends considering the ratio of positive to negative behaviors and actions that person exhibits. If it鈥檚 less than four positives to one negative, it might be time to move on.

3. Consider how you鈥檇 live your best life. If you鈥檙e worried about the void that might be left by that person, Tashiro believes in considering the opportunity cost of spending time with them. 鈥淚鈥檓 not a fan of zombie relationships,鈥 he said. 鈥淚f you鈥檙e busy, time is a limited asset. Spend time with people who aren鈥檛 sucking the life out of you.鈥 If you were free of the destructive relationship, you鈥檇 likely have more聽energy to put toward supportive friends and hobbies you love.

Have any more tips for getting out of toxic relationships? Let us know @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)