9 Warning Signs You’re About To Start a Toxic Relationship

walt and skyler sitting at a table
As I look back and reminisce about my previous relationships, it’s a genuine wonder why I haven’t been declared clinically insane.

Dear God, I have dated some weird and wonderful people in my time.

There is the girl who, after just 1 date, decided to go home and fill in her online profile with a blow by blow account of our day. Updating her relationship status and telling the world what a thoroughly nice chap I am.

She was also a pathological liar who confessed her love for me two weeks later.

Or how about the Lovely European lady who (unbeknownst to me) flew 1000 miles for a month long stay in my hometown just so she could meet up. Oh sure, she originally claimed it was to improve her English but after a few weeks of dating the truth finally came out.

During our brief stay in Belgium, she gleefully informed me that my English was terrible, I will never amount to anything and she wanted to go home…

Before inviting me to come back with her… I declined.

Finally there was girl who, after revealing her feelings towards me, began to repeatedly slap her forehead muttering the words “stupid, stupid, stupid”.

Yes, well done love. Have a lollipop.

Of course I have had some great relationships too. Some short, some long and some that were utterly dysfunctional but left me with some awesome memories. My most recent relationship in particular was, for me, the highlight of 2013. My second visit to Belgium with this girl being one of the happiest moments of the year.

But dammit, this is an article about those crazy people that we all find ourselves with from time to time.

So let’s get to it.

The following warning signs can be thought of as a collection of insights gained through years of experience and torment.

I go through this so you don’t have to.

But you really should… you know, because it’s funny.

Here it is boys and girls – run away screaming if…

1. The first date feels like a counselling session

We’ve all been there.

You walk into the bar, fresh with hope and wonder. Your eyes meet across the crowded room and you breathe a sigh of relief when you discover that they do indeed look better than their online picture/than how you remember from your drunken haze.

The sofa is comfy and the drink tastes like love. This will be a good date – you can just feel it in your bones.

Then it begins…

“My ex treated me like crap”

“I don’t know if I can ever love again”

“I hate liars, so please don’t lie to me… EVER”

You glance towards the exit… but then you remind yourself how cute they are. Oh, what to do…

2. You’re reliably informed that all of their exes are ‘psychos’ or ‘crazy’

Following on from this unsolicited counselling session – intrigued, you start asking questions. If you’re being treated like a therapist, you may as well act the part.

Your perverse curiosity turns into horror as the outpouring of emotions continues in ways which you could never have expected.

Apparently, and this is quite a revelation – all of their exes seem to be borderline psychopaths. Flummoxed, you’re not sure what this says about you… but you go with it anyway.

Nodding your head with a mixture of agreement and fear, you sneak a cheeky glance towards the exit one final time.

It’s only social pressure that keeps you in your seat… that and the fact they are really cute.

3. You’re worried about accidentally pissing them off

It almost becomes a game that you like to play. How far can you go before the volcano erupts and your budding relationship resembles the aftermath of Pompeii?

Unleashing your usual witty comments becomes a form of Russian roulette – which one will hit the target and ruin the evening? Which one will send this person into an overreaction of epic proportions?

You know you shouldn’t do it… but the adrenaline rush is like an addiction.

Must. Not. Say. Anything…


4. The feeling creeps up on you that they are just like your ex

At first, you barely notice anything. You’re too distracted by a combination of their beauty and the drama of your day to day existence. But hey, high maintenance never felt so good, right?

You can’t put your finger on it, but something feels a little off.

Freud would often warn against guys dating women who resemble their mother but where are the books about dating your ex, again and again? Thank you Sigmund, you bearded berk.

There it is. It suddenly makes sense. The horror dawns on you that you subconsciously chose to date this person because you have unresolved issues regarding your previous relationship.

The horror continues when you realise how ironic this is.

5. There is a constant need for attention

It’s a lovely sunny day and you’re both casually strolling around town when you notice a squeezing sensation. You look down to see their hand firmly grasp yours. It’s ok… don’t panic, this is normal.

Several minutes later, whilst waiting patiently in Starbucks for those strange people to call out your name… your thoughts are interrupted by a rogue tongue attempting to find its way into your mouth.

Waaa… overwhelming PDA (public display of affection to you and I).

It’s ok… I can roll with it.

Finally, you arrive home after a long day. Your futile attempts at sneaking a little nap before dinner are crushed by the sound of your phone.

You look at the screen and your heart sinks as you realise you’re officially dating a barnacle.

“Hey, I know we only said goodbye 30 minutes ago, but I miss you already… haha… Oh, what am I like eh? Do you want to do something later? I can come over and we can snuggle up all night.”

You don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

…you start crying.

6. You’ve met their family and it scared the crap out of you

Do you remember that scene in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre when the family sit around the dinner table? Well the first time you meet your future in-laws is nothing like that…

It’s far, far worse.

Firstly, there is the torment of meeting the parents and getting an exclusive preview as to how your partner will look 20 years from now. Every wrinkle and rogue nose hair is on full display for your viewing pleasure.

Genetics, gotta love ‘em.

Not just that, but it’s like the first date all over again. Hearing childhood stories that, while intended to be nothing more than funny anecdotes, turn out to be horrific tales of terror and a unique insight into how your kids will turn out.

So, darling… you ran away from home because you didn’t get your own way?

You start hatching a plan…

7. You realise that you’re not in this for the right reasons

We all have different reasons for wanting to be in a relationship, but one thing that is universal is the need to feel complete, the knowledge that there is someone to share your life with – a partner in crime in your quest to take on the world.

But you’re not Bonnie or Clyde. For that you should be thankful.

There is something missing. On the face of it, everything seems to be fine. You’re well into the honeymoon phase. The sex is great and things are still exciting… to an extent. Bickering and random occurrences of drama aside, things seem normal. So what’s wrong?

Are you using this person to fill the empty void in your life? Are you starting a relationship because you’re the last single person in your social circle? Are they just a remarkably lifelike sex doll?

Or maybe you’re just a masochist and you thrive on the insanity…

8. The situation becomes a series of funny anecdotes that you like to share

Phew. You finally have some time to yourself and you start thinking about how to spend your evening. Your thoughts are interrupted yet again by the sound of your phone – awesome; you have been invited out for a few drinks.


It’s a great night. However, while you’re gossiping with your best friends, you notice something a little strange. They seem to be hanging on your every word.

Either you’ve suddenly become the most charismatic person in the room or they find your stories hilariously fascinating.

An air of resignation hits you as you realise it’s the latter…

Yes, these stories are hilarious – because they are about how dysfunctional and weird your dating life is. Every crazy tale is met with bellowing laughter and astonishment as to why you haven’t run for the hills.

You have no idea why either…

But then it wouldn’t make for an interesting story, would it?

9. You’re still thinking about dating other people

You’re looking into their eyes – the conversation is stimulating and the food is awesome. But there is something in the distance that grabs your attention…

You sneak a quick look. Nice.

Again you listen. You nod with genuine agreement, but you’re now behaving like a cat with ADD. You sneak another look.


In fact, you can’t stop looking. You’re captivated by sheer beauty and you curse your bad luck as you realise you can’t do anything about it.


You know, there’s nothing wrong with casting admiring glances at members of the opposite sex. If you’re human, and I sincerely hope that you are, you will have done this at least once today already.

If not, go and do it. It’s fun.

Even when you’re in a loving relationship, whatever that is – you are still allowed to do this. It’s completely normal. What you shouldn’t be doing however, is thinking about other people when you’re in the company of the person you’re supposed to be dating.

What’s that? That’s the sound of ALARM BELLS, doofus.



Question – Have you ever dated a crazy person or been involved in an utterly dysfunctional relationship? If so please reveal all in the comments below. It’s therapeutic! 🙂

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About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!


  1. I met a Russian girl at a penpal site and she was totally crazy over me. Changed her status on Facebook to get my attention that I was the most interesting person and blahblah.. Don’t judge me for getting together with her, haha. She left me 3 months later.
    Jeremy recently posted..What If I Told You Networking Starts With Love?My Profile

  2. I am not sure if I’ve been in the situations above, but I definitely had a good laugh reading your post. LOL.

    God bless those who’re going through it!

    Pooja recently posted..Episode 1: The First Principle of Success: Know Your OutcomeMy Profile

  3. “all of their exes seem to be borderline psychopaths. Flummoxed, you’re not sure what this says about you”


    This all reminds me of my last relationship. That turned out bad.
    SEBASTIAN recently posted..Madly In LoveMy Profile

  4. I had a good laugh reading through this post too! Some of the laughs at your expense, sorry about that man.. haha

    I’m lucky to say that none of the items on the list are true for the relationship I’ in now.. whew! Might have to send this post to a few friends of mine, though..
    Chris Bailey recently posted..Why the light from your smartphone is keeping you up at night, and what to do about itMy Profile

    • I’m honoured that I’m a source of amusement! Haha

      It sounds like you’ve found a keeper there!

      Thanks for your comment Chris!

  5. Great points here! Before getting married I learned the importance of liking and getting along with the parents of the person you are dating. I’ve been in situations (before marriage) when I liked the girl but not enough to have a long term relationship because of her crazy parents.

    I can say I like my in-laws:)

    • Hey Dan, that’s a great piece of advice. Think of all the awkward family gatherings if you didn’t like the in-laws… :p

  6. Yes, so funny!
    Thanks for the post. Really enjoy reading it especially after what I have been through 😉
    Lol, no, i am not that psychopaths

  7. Spinion says:

    Sheesh – I said “yes” to everything on this list.


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