1. The Relationship Scorecard

What’s the habit: If the person you’re dating continues to bring up errors you’ve made in the past, they’re keeping score. When both people are doing this it’s called the ‘relationship scorecard.’ It becomes a competition to point out who has messed up more over the duration of the relationship, and which partner owes the other more.

Why it’s toxic: It happens over time when either one or both people in the relationship continue to bring up mistakes committed in the past by the other to justify their current wrongdoings. You’re avoiding the problem at hand and bringing up terrible feelings to make the other person feel wrong/guilty in the present.

What you should be doing:  Sort out problems separately, unless they are actually connected. If something upset you a year ago, you should have brought it up in the moment a year ago. When you’re with someone, you choose to be with them for everything that they’ve done in the past; if you don’t, then you’re not accepting them.

2. Dropping ‘clues’ and other passive-aggression

What’s the habit: Instead of telling you their feelings, your partner tries to coax you into the right direction to figure it out yourself. Instead of stating what’s bothering you, you find petty and minimal ways to upset you partner so you’ll feel better complaining to them.

Why it’s toxic: It means that the two of you can’t communicate comfortably, openly, and clearly with one another.

What you should be doing: Speak clearly and tell one another your feelings and ideas openly.

3. Holding the relationship hostage

What’s the habit: When one person has a singular disapproval or objection and blackmails the other person by threatening the relationship altogether.

Why it’s toxic: It’s emotional extortion and creates lots of drama that isn’t needed.

What you should be doing instead: It’s okay to be unhappy with your partner at times and not be a fan of a particular thing about them. It’s all part of being human. But realize that being committed to someone and always being happy with someone isn’t the same thing. You can be totally committed to someone and be annoyed with them sometimes.

4. Blaming the other person in the relationship for your own emotions

What’s the habit: You’re not having a great day, you come home and expect your partner to know that you’re having a bad day and make you feel better. But because they didn’t, you lash out at them for it.

Why it’s toxic: When it becomes expected that a partner must know how you feel all the time (and vice versa), you’ll start to develop co-dependent tendencies.

What you should be doing instead: Take ownership of your emotions and expect that your partner will for theirs. There’s a difference between being obligated and being supportive of your partner.

5. Displays of ‘loving’ jealousy

What’s the habit: Becoming upset when your partner talks, touches, calls, texts, or has any other normal human interaction with another person, causing you to act jealous and try to control their actions. This often leads to crossing boundaries like hacking your partner’s email or looking through their text messages while they’re in the shower.

Why it’s toxic: It’s controlling and manipulative. It’s a complete lack of trust.

What you should be doing instead: Crazy idea – trust your partner. Know that some jealousy is normal, but extreme amounts of controlling jealousy are not. If you do the latter, you’re only going to push your partner away.

6. Buying solutions to relationship issues

What’s the habit: Instead of dealing with problems when they come up, a person covers it up with the excitement of buying something cool or going on a vacation somewhere.

Why it’s toxic: It’s very unhealthy for any relationship. You’re avoiding the issue at hand, which will eventually resurface later and, more than likely, be louder than the last time.

What you should be doing instead: Deal with the issue then and there. There isn’t anything wrong with buying the other person something nice after an argument, but only if the issue was dealt with first.