Ideally, marriage is the time in your life when you and your partner have officially become one. You can still be yourselves, but you’re also a team who communicates and relies on one another. That’s the ideal marriage, but many marriages struggle to meet that mark, and many others go in the opposite direction, with partners not supporting one another, creating a toxic marriage. There are ways to recognize that you’re in a toxic marriage, but on top of recognizing these signs, you must find a way to fix the marriage or move on to something better for yourself.
Lack of Communication
One way to recognize that your marriage is toxic is by evaluating how you and your partner communicate. The volume of communication is important, but the quality of that communication can often be even more impactful. A healthy relationship is one where communication is easy, comprehensive, and you feel like you can go to your partner for almost anything.
For example, if you and your spouse talk a lot but don’t touch on important issues or feel like you’re walking on eggshells, there might be an issue. Why do you think you need to tiptoe around each other? Are you worried about how they’ll react to something, or are you embarrassed when discussing sensitive topics? It’s important to recognize these communication issues when they happen, and then you and your partner can find your way toward healthy communication.
There’s a Power Imbalance
Another way to recognize a toxic marriage is by stepping back and evaluating who holds power in a relationship. You are not marrying a clone of yourself, so you and your spouse will have different responsibilities and things you each manage in the relationship. However, are those responsibilities equal, or does one person do more of the sowing while the other reaps more benefits? You must share responsibilities so one partner doesn’t take over the relationship.
In addition to responsibilities, who makes the most decisions? Do you always do what one spouse wants, or is decision-making equal? If there’s a power imbalance and you do everything your partner wants and nothing you want, you could be in a toxic relationship.
Domestic abuse is one of the most severe and glaring signs that you’re in a toxic marriage. That abuse can come in many forms, such as physical, emotional, and financial, and while there is the potential to remediate this behavior, you shouldn’t feel forced to stick it out. If there are attempts at correcting the behavior and they aren’t effective, it’s important you get out of that marriage. A family law attorney can help you navigate the complexities of divorce, and if needed, they can also help you obtain a protective order.
If you take these tips and begin to recognize that you’re in a toxic marriage, it’s time to do something. For some couples, all they need is a harsh wake-up call. That can come through counseling or you and your partner discussing the marriage and creating actionable steps forward. In some other situations, the toxic marriage may not be fixable, and at that point, it’s time for you to find your way forward and out of the marriage.