If you really want to improve your relationships, say goodbye to these 9 toxic behaviors

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Relationships are hard even for the most emotionally stable of people. 

But there are certain toxic behaviors and habits that make them so much worse. 

Here are the most damaging habits to cut out in order to vastly improve your relationships. 

1) Possessiveness 

Possessiveness is the belief and habit of acting like you own your partner

This is very common and it usually comes out of love, or at least what we think is love. 

The problem with possessiveness is that it leaves no room for love to grow. 

The other problem with it is that this behavior comes out of insecurity and fear. 

If you truly trust and love your partner and have faith in your relationship and in yourself, there’s no need to be controlling or possessive. 

Trying to control and monitor what your partner does is a sign of problems in the relationship or at least in your perception of the relationship. 

2) Jealousy 

Next we come to jealousy, also known as the green monster. 

The truth is that jealousy is always a toxic behavior, but it’s often misunderstood. 

If you are uncomfortable or upset because your partner has been flirting with someone, sexting someone or giving you no attention, that’s not jealousy. 

That’s a healthy and reasonable boundary you have and that you want resolved. 

Jealousy is when you have unreasonable suspicion, fear and sadness about the actions of your partner that aren’t actually justified. 

In other words, jealousy is more or less a form of possessiveness combined with paranoia. 

It’s toxic and always backfires. 

If you find yourself becoming jealous of your partner you need to deal with these emotions. 

3) Railroading

Next up we come to railroading.

This is when you pressure or force your partner into choosing to do what you want without fairly looking at other options. 

Railroading is using pressure and egotism in your relationship to only think about what you want. 

There’s a place for being assertive and confident, but railroading is deeply toxic, especially when it hides in customary gender roles or other seeming justifications. 

As Cambridge University dictionary explains, railroading is “to force something to happen or force someone to do something, especially quickly or unfairly.” 

4) Temperature checking

On a related note to possessiveness is temperature checking. 

This is basically demanding constant reassurance and validation. 

What makes temperature checking even worse is that it’s very passive-aggressive

This is because it’s usually disguised as checking if your partner is doing OK. 

“You OK?”

This can be a perfectly fine question, but when it actually means “are you mad at me or upset in any way?” it becomes very passive-aggressive and over-sensitive. 

Avoid constant temperature checking!

5) Selfishness

Selfishness is a toxic trait that we all know to avoid, especially in relationships. 

But it still happens all the time. 

The antidote is empathy and also taking a pause. 

Before railroading your partner or just doing what you want and leaving them in the dust to pick up the pieces, consider their feelings and perspective. 

This is a habit that can take some time to pick up, but it’s well worth the trouble. 

6) Passivity 

The next toxic behavior that can kill almost any relationship is passivity. 

This is an increasingly common trait among many people and I’m not going to lie: it’s deeply unattractive. 

Being relaxed and taking life as it comes is great. Being happy is great

But being a shoulder shrugging, “meh,” “whatever” type of guy or girl is very cringe. 

If you or your partner are very passive it’s a toxic trait to do your best to eliminate. 

7) Clinginess 

The opposite of being too passive or detached is being clingy. 

Clinginess is different than possessiveness, in that it’s frankly even worse. 

When you are clingy you basically attach a blinking neon sign to your back that says “I don’t value myself.”

This is the perfect way to lower your value in your own eyes and the eyes of your partner. 

When you feel a strong desire to be with your partner or feel sad or insufficient alone, it’s important to sit with this feeling for a while. 

Giving into it too many times will literally end your relationship.

8) Public humiliation 

The next toxic behavior that needs to be cut out of any healthy relationship is public humiliation. 

It’s unfortunately all too common for people to humiliate their partner in public. 

Common examples:

  • Having a shouting match or fight in public
  • Making crude sexual gestures and jokes to their partner in public
  • Insulting their partner to friends and family in public

When this kind of thing is going on it’s often the end of the line for a relationship. 

9) The savior and victim paradigm

Two of the most toxic behaviors that crop up in relationships are playing the victim and playing the savior. 

These sound easy to avoid, but they’re not. 

It’s all too easy to fall into the role of seeing yourself as needing to be “fixed,” “saved” or helped in some way. 

It’s all too tempting to fall into the role of “saving” somebody you love or being the one person who finally single-handedly turns their life around. 

The instinct to want to change the life of the one you love is a healthy instinct, but when you fall into this it leads to a codependent relationship. 

The result is that you play roles which have nothing to do with love and everything to do with unhealthy attachment styles and inner insecurity. 

There are some things your significant other just has to work through on their own. 

Every day is a new day

Changing behaviors is hard as an individual and even harder in a relationship. 

But with clear communication, trust and commitment it is absolutely possible. 

Remember that every day is a new day and that the perfect is the enemy of the good. 

None of us are going to have perfect relationships, but we can have better and more fulfilling relationships where we are more conscious and more connected.

14 signs you have a unique personality that everybody secretly admires

People with high emotional IQ don’t make these 15 relationship mistakes