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No one envisions themselves entering into a toxic relationship, but of course, it happens. Oftentimes, it happens right underneath our noses, and it can take some time to realize what is going on.

If you’ve never been in a toxic relationship, then you might be shaking your head, but you don’t even know half of it. For the most part, when you are in a toxic relationship, it takes time for it to become toxic, and when it does, our first instinct is to go into denial about it. We want to fight for what we love, but is all love worth fighting for? Well, in the case of a toxic relationship, not always.

The first step towards finding freedom from a toxic relationship is recognizing it for what it is. Here are 9 signs of a toxic relationship.

1. It feels like a constant tug of war.

A toxic relationship feels like a game of tug of war that no one can win. Each partner pulls the other in a direction they are uncomfortable in, and there is no middle ground. Oftentimes, in a toxic relationship, one or both partners are working to change the other, and neither of them wants to change. And things can get ugly.

2. You can’t argue with this person.

It’s normal to argue in a relationship because two different people aren’t always going to see eye to eye, that’s just life. However, when arguments turn into drop-down drag-outs, there is a major problem. Conversely, if you can’t argue, because one or both of you resorts to passive aggression, or gives the silent treatment, this is also a problem.

3. There is no healthy communication.

Healthy communication is EVERYTHING when it comes to relationships, and not just romantic relationships, but pretty much all social interaction. Without healthy communication, misunderstandings grow into a major divide. Arguments and conflict are passed over and never discussed, and the longer that things are avoided and go undiscussed, the deeper the divide grows.

4. Controlling behaviors are present.

Control is not normal. It is not normal to keep tabs on your partner and tell them how to lead their life. Yes, it’s good to have standards and to have boundaries, but when you are hoarding over your partner like you are their parent, you are in the wrong relationship. And if your partner is treating you that way, you are in the wrong relationship. There is no room for control in a healthy relationship.

5. One or both of you are obsessive.

I’ve noticed a really weird trend lately on Facebook where people will jokingly post about their ‘crazy’ girlfriends who get upset after they don’t text them back for 45 seconds. While the posts are a joke, what alarms me is the comments below the image, where everyone is commenting “haha that’s so me!”

Guys, this is NOT healthy. Regardless of whether it’s your girlfriend or your boyfriend, or your husband or wife, or whatever, it’s not normal to be obsessive over your partner. This is called an unhealthy attachment and it’s something you should be working on in therapy.

6. Abuse is present.

Regardless of whether we are talking about emotional or physical abuse, if abuse is present in a relationship, the relationship is toxic. And 9 times out of 10, if your partner is abusing you they are not going to change.

7. Substance abuse is present.

This might be a hot-button topic, but hear me out. When one or both partners have a substance addiction, things can get toxic real fast. This is even more so when the person or people experiencing the addiction refuse to get help.

8. Everything is one-sided.

When one partner is doing all the leg work in a relationship, eventually they are going to become drained. Yes, there will be times when one person is going through something and the other has to pull more weight, but, when one person pulls all of the weight for an extended amount of time, it can destroy the relationship.

9. One or both of you are keeping score.

Relationships are supposed to be about two people working together, helping each other, and growing as a team. But, when one or both partners start to keep score on who is doing what for the other, it’s not healthy. Not only is it unhealthy, but it’s also flat-out toxic.