Sexologist Isiah McKimmie reveals the tell-tale signs you are in a toxic relationship
Toxic relationships are like any other – one day it’s good but the next you bring the absolute worst out of each other.
If your feelings are consistently being diminished and you often find yourself hurt by your partner’s bad behaviour, chances are you are stuck in a toxic relationship.
And once you start noticing the red flags, you need to leave the relationship immediately, before it leads to heartbreak.
With cheating scandals and marriage breakdowns rocking relationships on this season’s Married At First Sight, FEMAIL looks at the signs that are in front of you.
But how do you decide when enough is enough?
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, sexologist Isiah McKimmie reveals the tell-tale signs to look out for – and how you can walk away from your manipulative partner.
If your feelings are consistently being diminished and you often find yourself hurt by your partner’s bad behaviour, chances are you are stuck in a toxic relationship (stock image)
With cheating scandals and marriage breakdowns rocking relationships on this season’s Married At First Sight, FEMAIL looks at the signs that are in front of you
‘Toxic relationships can be with lovers, friends, family or co-workers. We often learn patterns and behaviours for toxic relationships early in our life. Like any skill, healthy, loving, balanced relationships can also be learnt,’ she said.
‘If you have made an effort to change the relationship and you find yourself continuing the same patterns, it’s probably time to leave.
‘Relationships are meant to enhance and enrich our lives. If you find that your relationship is impacting on your happiness, depleting your self-esteem or draining your energy – or if you feel like there are more down times than good, it might be time to move on.
‘If you ever find yourself doubting your own sanity because of your relationship, it’s also time to leave.
‘If a relationship is abusive, I recommend that you seek the support of domestic violence services in your area and leave as soon as you can.
‘There are many factors that contribute to a toxic relationship though these are tell-tale signs in my experience.’
On Sunday night, Married At First Sight groom Dean shocked viewers when he decided to stay with ‘wife’ Tracey despite enjoying two secret steamy meetings with fellow contestant Davina
‘This is one characteristic that is extremely dangerous, a master manipulator is very clever and selective, they detect your weakness and prey on it,’ she explained.
‘You will find a manipulator who will always claim to be the victim even in a situation such as infidelity on their part.
‘Manipulation can affect confidence, self-worth, and in serve situations can even lead to victim believing they are”crazy”.’
‘When there is a problem, your partner will not talk to you about the issue nor come to any agreements,’ she said.
‘When you express or try to talk about your feelings he or she refuses to understand your wants, needs and most importantly your feelings.’
You can’t be yourself
‘This is a big one as with not just a romantic relationship its important that you are able to be yourself whether at work, with friends or your partner,’ she said.
‘A toxic relationship can make you feel like you need to trot on egg shells because you are afraid of what they will say or react to certain things.
‘Over time you learn to live with the fact you need to hide certain parts which results in you becoming extremely unhappy.’
Toxic relationships are like any other – one day it’s good but the next you bring the absolute worst out of each other (stock image)
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE IN A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP?
Isiah said awareness is always the first step to making change.
If you think you’re in a toxic relationship, or a number of them, look closely at these relationships.
Ask yourself if being in relationships like this is really the best thing for you and then look at how you can make change.
Either by changing yourself to create and attract healthier relationships, or by leaving the relationships.
Constant drama, anger and arguments
‘Someone belittling you or constantly criticising you,’ she explained.
‘Every relationship has its ups and downs, but in a toxic relationship, this is more pronounced – and the drama seems almost constant.
‘There is an imbalance in giving in the relationship, where you feel like you’re always over-giving or that your needs aren’t important.
‘You’ll often feel that your energy is drained by being with this person.’
Yelling, name-calling or low blows
‘Every couple will have arguments and heated discussions from time to time,’ she said.
‘In healthy relationships, we learn to ‘argue well’, where there is still a willingness to hear the other person’s opinion and to take responsibility for our emotions.
‘In toxic relationships, discussions regularly lead to yelling, name-calling, “low blows”.’
The relationship expert reveals how you can walk away from your manipulative partner
When enough is enough
‘Although it can be easy to blame the other person for the toxic relationship you’re in, there are always two people in a relationship,’ she said.
‘It’s important that we take responsibility for our role in the dynamic – or we’ll usually find ourselves repeating it in a future relationship.
‘It can be difficult to acknowledge because it’s so easy to see the ways our partner isn’t getting it right but there is a role both partners have to play in relationship challenges.
‘Ask yourself what role you are playing in this relationship? Are you not stating or valuing your needs clearly enough? Are you not setting boundaries? Do you find yourself sinking to the same levels of poor communication, blame or dishonesty as the other person?
‘One person changing the way they are behaving in a relationship can make an incredible difference to the overall dynamic.
‘When we put our attention on helping our partner feel loved, valued and supported, they usually reciprocate by making an effort to improve the relationship in return.’
Dean and Davina had a secret meeting at the group dinner party and their partners had no idea
How to end a toxic relationship
‘Accepting the fact that you may still love them but letting go is something you have to do,’ she said.
‘Letting go of anyone is hard but accepting and understanding that you and your self worth are more important. Once you come to terms with the fact that you absolutely and utterly deserve better will be your turning point.
‘Taking the time out to feel and accept that it will really hurt, will help your process to move on.
‘Half the time, we find men and women stuck in toxic relationships won’t leave because they are too scared to be alone or how will they fend for themselves.
‘But it’s actually the toxic relationship that is doing the damage to your emotions than you realise.’
‘Seeking the support of your friends and family is really important when doing this – it will help give you the strength to make the change you need,’ she said.
‘Surround yourself with positive people, people who will love and care about you no matter what.
‘I recommend getting the support of a trained therapist (either by yourself or with your partner if they are willing) to help you see your role in what is happening.
‘They can give you advice and practical tools to help you find better ways of communicating and reacting.’