We’ve all been forewarned about romantic vampires—predators that suck the life out of us. And yet, no matter how hard we try, sometimes they come along unexpectedly and we need to find a way to rid ourselves of the negative energy.

So, how exactly can we identify and remove a toxic lover from our lives?

A partner is ‘toxic’ if he is any or all of the following:

1. Obsessive:

It’s great to feel loved, needed, adored by another. But, there is a fine line between being loved and being obsessed over. Partners who feel the need to obsessively cling to their mates likely have very little self-esteem. These are individuals who need the affection of others in order to feel complete. Sometimes they’re referred to as ‘codependent’.

It’s flattering that your significant other wants to spend time with you, but this need for constant attention can quickly become overbearing. We all need our personal space, too, and if you feel as if you can’t sneeze without your partner grabbing a tissue and dabbing your nose, you may begin to feel suffocated by the relationship.

2. Controlling:

We all need to feel as if we can trust our partner, that we don’t need to worry about where he’s going or who he’s hanging out with. And it’s perfectly normal for our mate to reciprocate these feelings. However, it is abnormal for a partner to have the final say in who we’re with, where we’re going, what we’re wearing.

A healthy partnership doesn’t involve hacking into our email account or reading our texts. It doesn’t involve taking away every bit of independence, insisting on having total control over our physical, mental, emotional or financial well-being.

If you find your significant other has very quickly moved you into his home, taken over all of your bills, and insisted you combine your finances into one joint account—beware! While it may feel nice to be taken care of, these are very common tactics of narcissistic abusers.

3. Manipulative:

If you’re pretty sure you can’t trust a thing your partner says, you’re probably right. Having a hunch, or an intuitive feeling, that he is lying about anything at all—big or small—should be a red flag. Being sneaky around your birthday or anniversary is one thing, but being sneaky all the time likely means your partner is up to no good. Once you catch him in a lie or two, it becomes difficult to trust anything he says or does.

4. Overly Jealous:

Probably the most annoying trait of a toxic partnership! Again, it’s natural for your mate to become suspicious or feel uneasy if you insist on maintaining a close friendship with your ex; a certain level of healthy insecurity exists in every relationship. It’s quite another if you are unable to hang out with anyone at all.

If your partner doesn’t want you engaging with anyone of the opposite sex, is jealous of your male boss, teacher, cashier, or waiter, this is a very bad sign. Too much insecurity is a symptom of deep-seated emotional trauma.

Individuals who harbor a high level of jealousy or insecurity have likely been burned in the past and haven’t taken the necessary steps to heal. While it is possible to work through these insecurities with your partner and develop a healthy level of trust, it’s far more common for the relationship to stagnate in a state of distrust and for the two of you to drift apart unless your partner addresses this issue internally first.

So, he’s toxic—now what?

There is very little you can do to salvage a relationship if you are the only one putting in the work, trying to ‘fix’ someone who won’t even acknowledge the need for change. These types of issues need to be addressed at their core first, and the best way to resolve toxicity in a relationship is to simply let it go.

For a relationship to last, there needs to be trust, honesty, empathy, and compromise. If your love is truly meant to be, you two will lay a healthy foundation and engage in open communication to work through any issues as they arise. You will look out for your partner’s best interests as well as your own and you won’t be afraid to establish personal boundaries while ensuring you remain flexible and receptive to each other’s needs. This is love.

by Sara E. Teller

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