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Signs You Might Be In A Toxic Marriage

Not every marriage is a fairy tale. Many marriages are functional but meh. Some marriages are fiery with passion. There is nothing wrong with an outside the norm marriage. What is concerning is a toxic marriage. This type of marriage can literally dim the light of its participants and bring constant heartache. Here are a few signs a marriage is toxic.

Lack of Control (or Controlling Behavior)

A marriage may be toxic when one spouse lacks the autonomy to make everyday decisions, or in the alternative, when one spouse has all the control power. Many spouses have specific roles in their household but when only one spouse is “allowed” to make certain decisions or have control over certain areas that is when relationship experts become concerned. Whether the contention of control is regarding how a spouse dresses or what social activities can be attended, it can become an unhealthy dynamic.


Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person manipulates another person in the hopes of acquiring power of them. This tactical manipulation may cause the victim to question their own reality rather than questioning the actions or motives of the person gaslighting them.

Gaslighting allows a spouse to deflect inquiries about their own actions. You often see cheating spouses accuse their spouse of cheating to deflect from their own actions. Gaslighting is a twisted form of manipulation as it literally causes a person to second-guess their own beliefs and reality.

Lack of Boundaries

Some say a marriage has no boundaries, spouses share everything. But life itself requires boundaries. For example, a teacher often cannot take calls during school. If a toxic spouse is constantly texting and calling, that is a violation of a boundary. If you agree with your spouse you won’t discuss marital spats with family or friends but they do anyway, that’s a violation of a boundary. These types of violations may seem innocuous at first but can snowball into your spouse disregarding any sort of autonomy you may have.


The culture of the United States is very social. We love gatherings with family and friends. We value relationships. When one spouse intentionally attempts to isolate another from their family or friends, that is a huge red flag. Sure, some people have questionable friends, but oftentimes the isolation is an intentional attempt to control a spouse rather than looking out for their best interests. Spouses in toxic marriages often look around one day and realize they no longer have the same friendships and social circle they once did. They may now only interact with their spouse’s friends or no friends at all. The result of such isolation is limiting where a spouse can go for help or hide the fact a spouse is being toxic or abusive.

Repeating Patterns

A hallmark of a toxic marriage is when the toxic behavior never ends. Whether it is domestic violence or a violation of boundaries, the repetition of unhealthy behaviors will continue to mire the marriage in a toxic sludge. These patterns of toxic behavior are not self-correcting. The patterns will continue unchecked (and usually with several partners or spouses) until the person takes a hard look at their history and takes steps to correct it. Otherwise history is doomed to repeat itself.

A toxic marriage does not necessarily mean a failed marriage that is destined for divorce. Toxic relationships can be changed once the parties acknowledge their part in the unhealthy behavior exhibited and work to correct it. If it is too little, too late to be fixed, then the experienced team at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC can help. Call us today at (713) 225-6200 to schedule a confidential consultation today.

Last Updated on May 3, 2021 by Ramos Law Group, PLLC

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