Is Your Marriage Toxic? Understanding Signs that Seem Totally Normal


Often when women are married off, they are not given a book of instructions on keeping the marriage intact. Instead, they jump into a situation they have not experienced before and expect to know everything about living happily ever after.

Therefore, many a time, when a marriage turns sour, women find themselves standing at a crossroad, wondering if they are living in an emotionally abusive marriage.

However, if women were to look carefully, they would notice several signs which indicate the presence of several problems in the marriage.

1) Contempt

This is defined as a feeling in which you consider an individual to be beneath you, worthless, and deserving of scorn. If your partner displays signs such as eye-rolling, sarcasm, unkind words, and an attitude of dismissal; he is displaying contempt.

Although contempt could be the hardest to recognize, it can easily be explained. Excuses that women use to justify contempt from their husbands include ‘Oh, I think I deserved that’ or ‘He is having a bad day today, it is ok,’ or ‘He was perhaps just showing off in front of his friends.

Therefore, the women reading this should analyze the interactions they have with their husbands and ask themselves whether there is contempt in the relationship. Does your husband speak to you sarcastically? Does he talk behind your back? Does he roll his eyes when you try to make a point?

If your husband treats you with contempt for an extended period, it will eventually result in a loss of respect for the relationship, and without respect, little else would matter.

2) Fighting

Fights in marriages are completely normal. Two people can’t live together for years without having issues once in a while that lead to quarreling.

Several women are of the viewpoint that if no physical assault has been carried out by their husbands, any other kind of fighting is not a problem.

However, that is not entirely true. Persistent fighting, regardless of physical violence, is not normal. It is a sign that your marriage is becoming toxic.

Women reading this should assess if they and their partner fight regularly. Do they fight about nearly everything from the sky’s color to how long the dinner takes to cook? Do their fights escalate pretty quickly? Does your husband attack you personally?

After all your fights, has there been a solution given by your husband, or does he just retreat to his respective corner to sulk?

If the signs listed above describe how the fights between you and your husband evolve, then chances are that the marriage you are holding onto is extremely toxic. In the case that you and your husband cannot agree about almost anything and he treats you horribly in fights even if the issue is not that grave, these are signs that your marriage is toxic.

3) Secret Keeping

Some men like to keep to themselves; they believe communication is crucial but never act upon that notion. Other men, however, often have things to hide. They do not talk to you about how they feel about you, about their plans and whereabouts, about why they are heading somewhere. You will find out that your husband keeps telling his friends about the things he did not tell you.

He would never share what about you bothers him or why he is unhappy but would do that with his friends, substituting his friends for you in several ways.

If your husband avoids conversation whenever you bring this up, this is a sign of him believing that it is ok, that somehow none of the secrets he keeps are a big deal, and that his life is his, and not for you to know everything about it, also that in hindsight he was avoiding a fight.

However, remember that marriage is a partnership, and secrets in a partnership will destroy it. If you and your husband choose to build a life together, it most definitely includes being able to share things with one other, the little and the big; if not, it is an indication that your marriage is turning sour. There is no such thing as lying to protect your partner; your husband is still betraying you with their silence.

4) Distance

If you walk in through the door, what would your husband’s first instinct be? Would it be to hug you? If they could pick an individual to attend the movies with, would they choose you? Are you the first among people whom they tell the good news?

As relationships evolve, couples often become so comfortable in the presence of one another that they begin to take the other person for granted. Hugs and free time are luxuries that often do not become part of marriages in their long run, which is why these marriages turn toxic.

With that said, if your husband continually creates distance between you and himself, if he never touches you, never spends any free time with you, and would rather die than think of sharing anything personal, then chances are, your marriage is toxic.

In a healthy marriage, your partner will choose to spend at least some of his free time with you and confide in you about all their wins and losses.

While reading this, women should think about the distance that exists between themselves and their husbands. If Grand Canyon is the word that comes to mind, then chances are these women have been living in an increasingly toxic marriage.

5) Silence

One of the most prominent red flags in a toxic marriage is excessive silence. If you find that there is a lot of silence between you and your husband in terms of discussing matters important to your life and relationship, this can be termed as a lack of communication.

Silence also means that you and your partner are holding grudges and leaving things unsaid. Therefore, connecting in any meaningful way is impossible.

The greatest indicator of a healthy relationship is how well two people can communicate with each other. Whether it is about something as small as dinner or as important as matters of money, communication helps keep you both connected.

However, on the contrary, the silence growing between you and your husband is a petri dish in which disconnection, resentment, and anger grow quite rapidly; the more words are left unsaid, the more they stew frustrations.

The women reading this should ponder, what is the last time that your husband spoke to you in a meaningful way? When he spends time with you, does he communicate at all, or is it just you sharing that space in complete silence? The chances are that if that silence is mind-numbing and your husband is doing nothing to evade it, you are living in a toxic marriage.

6)   You have a bad feeling all the time.

While sleeping, you sleep with a hollow feeling inside you and wake up with that very feeling again. When you catch other couples living happily, you feel a certain sting. You ask yourself why that type of love could not be there in your life.

The truth is it can be in your life; you just have to clear the way for it to find you. Leaving a toxic relationship is hardly ever easy, but if you stay for too long in that relationship, you will be robbed of any strength, confidence, or courage you had, and when that happens, you will be stuck.

7)   You continuously prepare for the ‘Gotcha’ moment

Sometimes women expect it. Other times they would not see it coming, even if it was in a stadium with floodlights. However, women do know when questions turn into traps. “Would you much rather have lunch with your colleagues or stay at home with me? You were enjoying conversing with your boss that day”.

Therefore, you constantly feel like your husband is preparing you for that big ‘gotcha’ moment, where there will be no understanding, just the excitement that they have ‘caught you red-handed.’ It is impossible that women ever survive in these relationships.

Everyone makes minor mistakes, but if a woman’s mistakes are always used as proof that they are not so invested, too incorrect, too dumb, it will kill their self-esteem and then the marriage.

8)   You avoid expressing your needs because there is just no point

Everyone, including women, has some important needs in their relationships. To name a few, they desire connection, appreciation, validation, love, affection, and sex. When any of these needs are mocked and ignored, the emptiness emanating from these unmet needs tends to clamor just like an ancient church bell. If you attempt to talk to your husband about what your needs are and end up in a fight, another empty promise, them accusing you of being too needy, airing your insecurities, or jealousy, you will either bury that need or, in most cases resent that it is being continually overlooked.

9)   All the work, love, and compromise comes from you

Women cannot hold relationships together for long if the only work that is being put in is from their side. It gets lonely and exhausting. If women find themselves unable to leave this relationship, then they should be careful to give what their spouse needs but not give anything more than that.

Women should also discard the fantasy to make everything better if they keep trying harder than they already are.

Women believe that if only they say the right things and do the right things; maybe they can save their marriage. However, women need to know that they are enough already, and if their partner thinks otherwise, the problem lies with him.

10) When ‘No’ Becomes a Dirty Word

‘No’ is a word that is important for any relationship. Even if you love your husband dearly, you should not strike it from your dictionary – especially because of love. Healthy relationships require some compromise, however, that is done while respecting the needs as well as wants which both partners have.

Communicating in a relationship regarding what you desire is just as important as communicating the things you do not want. Women need to find their strength to say ‘no,’ give the word importance, and understand where and when they can release the button.