Healthy vs. Toxic Relationships: The Differences

Are relationships hard work? Yes. It won’t be a 24/7 sunshine-and-rainbows type of setup, you know. Fights and arguments are inevitable. You two won’t always be on the same page all the time, and that’s okay! Accepting that fact will make things a lot less stressful between you two.

As much as that’s true, though, things become different when the fighting gets too frequent. If the arguments head towards the toxic territory, you may want to wave the red flag and look (and run) for the nearest exit. 

What Makes a Relationship Healthy?

Everyone deserves healthy romantic relationships. But as much we all want to think it’s the opposite, love alone isn’t enough to keep things steady.

Now, with that said, what constitutes a healthy relationship? Qualities like decision-making, conflict-solving, and teamwork are a given, so what are the other important things to consider?


One glaring element in the healthy vs. toxic relationships argument is the trust associated with the former. Trust in a healthy relationship means that the green-eyed monster doesn’t show itself when your partner’s hanging out with other people. Another great display of this element is the ease and comfort you feel with and around your partner. 


One other component of a healthy relationship is interdependence. In this context, being interdependent means maintaining your self-identity while getting your fill of mutual support from your partner. If you two give and respect each other’s spaces, trust us—you’re onto something great.


Element #3: curiosity. If you’ve wondered why long-term couples have stuck together for so long, it’s because they keep each other curious. And no, we’re not talking about guessing games! Curiosity in this sense means being interested in your partner’s growth as a person. What would you two be without character development, right?


What’s romance without fun? Grand gestures aren’t the only element in a love story. The best ones have a great mix of both.

Our point? The little lighthearted moments you two have matter just as much. Things like innocent inside jokes and laughs are bigger than they seem. Why? They help you both relax, especially when times don’t look too great. And these days, we need all the joy we can get!


Healthy intimacy isn’t always about getting physical. Sure, sex is a part of the equation, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. If you two are on the same boat about your needs, we promise you—it’ll be the least of your problems.

Having healthy intimacy also means observing and respecting reasonable sexual boundaries. In the healthy vs. toxic relationships debate, your union belongs to the former if your partner does the following:

  • They don’t push/pressure you into having sex or doing anything sexual when you don’t want to.
  • Rejection is a non-issue.
  • They give you a safe space regarding all things intimate and sexual.

What Makes a Relationship Toxic?

Now that we’ve covered what a healthy relationship looks like, we, unfortunately, have to move to the other side of the healthy vs. toxic relationships debate. What does the latter have?

Controlling tendencies

As much as we love being with and around our partners, we can’t be by their side 24/7. We all have our lives to live! Also, relationships aren’t the center of our universe. If they are, you may have a problem.

When one of you cut off your surroundings to solely focus on your relationship, that person eventually becomes controlling, especially of the other’s actions. That’s very different from simply voicing out concerns and opinions. And if one of you can’t accept the fact that you don’t own your partner, it’s best to pack your bags and head for Splitsville.

Frequent communication issues

If you two always have communication issues, you definitely have a problem. Toxic relationships thrive on miscommunication and misinterpretation. 

These are just some of the signs that you have problems in the communication department:

  • Inability to let go of grudges
  • Unreceptiveness, especially when called out for bad behavior
  • Fear of voicing out opinions, especially disagreements
  • Constant nitpicking and criticism of your partner

Lack of trust

Insecurities are normal. Sometimes, the green-eyed monster can’t help but come out, especially if our partners are away from us. But suppose you let that monster dominate you all too often. In that case, please check yourself before you wreck yourself (and your relationship)!

When that mistrust builds up, a wall starts to come between you and your partner. Please don’t be that person who obsesses over your partner’s every move.


Balances should exist in every relationship. It won’t do if only one person wears the pants all the time. Also, it’s not fair if there’s no give-and-take between you two. One of you’s bound to burn out and end up blaming yourself for everything wrong in the relationship.


Relationships are supposed to satisfy you. Your partner should be your best cheerleader and have your back, especially when you need all the support you can get. If either of you can’t give that and bring out your best selves, maybe it’s a sign telling you to end things.

How Do You Build a Healthy Relationship?

Building healthy relationships isn’t something we learn in school. Life’s the best teacher for that subject. There’s no set formula for a perfectly healthy love affair, so we all try to achieve that through different approaches. And while we don’t have the exact answers, we can give you some pointers.

Say what you want to mean and mean what you say

Some of you may be sick of hearing this, but we sure aren’t: communicate with your partner. And that doesn’t stop at talking.

Communication entails both speaking and listening. You two should be just as comfortable talking about issues as much as you are about the good things. Remember: you don’t have to agree about everything all the time. And another thing: there’s a difference between being honest and blunt.

Show your love

Grand gestures are great! However, you don’t need to do them all the time just to let your lover know how much you love them.

Showering your partner with a healthy dose of affection won’t hurt. Even something as simple as a back hug is enough to make your partner’s day. Never underestimate the power of physical touch!

Be spontaneous once in a while

A break from the typical can work wonders, especially for long-term couples. Keep the sparks flying by going on surprise dates on a random day. And because we all live in a fast-paced world, we could use a break once in a while. Why not spend some quality time with the love of your life?

Be appreciative

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No love is perfect. Nothing in this world is! However, there’s always room for sunshine. Let the light in by being an appreciative partner and seeing them for what they truly are. If you keep looking for what they don’t have, you’ll end up stressing yourself out.

Now that we’ve gone through both sides of the healthy vs. toxic relationships debate, there should be a clear winner at this point. And we all know what’s the best choice out of the two, yes? May we all have healthy romantic relationships that’ll last us a lifetime.

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