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6 Signs Of A Toxic Marriage

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Jan 04 2022

6 Signs of a Toxic Marriage

Several years ago, I watched an interview with a couple that had been married for over 50 years.  They were asked if they had any advice for other married couples.  The wife said that a marriage goes up and down and there will be periods of time where you are both in love with each other, other years when one is love and the other spouse is not and maybe even a few when neither are in love.  What was important was mutual respect and the desire to work through the hard times to get to the good times.  I have reflected often on what she said and related it to my own marriage.  There are harder times than others in marriages especially as changes in life happen along the way.  But what if those hard times continue without any real good times? 

People change and evolve over time and sometimes a married couple grow in different directions, and it leads to an unhappy marriage.  Then there are people in a toxic marriage that is physically, emotionally and mentally unhealthy.  Unfortunately for some, women especially, they do not realize that their needs are not being met and that the marriage is toxic.   Here we discuss 6 signs that you may be in a toxic marriage.

Emotional Warfare

In a toxic marriage one spouse is constantly emotionally bullying the other.  They tend to be hyper-critical and constantly criticize their partner’s actions, behaviors and appearance.  They will patronize, belittle and insult their partners to make them feel insecure and unimportant.  The bullied spouse feels unworthy, insecure and insignificant which can affect their physical and mental health.

Poor Communication

All married couples occasionally argue that is normal, healthy behavior.  When a relationship is volatile with frequent arguments there could be a bigger problem.  A toxic person gets upset over the smallest thing, argues with no sense of resolution, and often belittles their partner in an argument.  In disagreements they bring up past issues as if they are keeping score and use them to induce guilt and deflect responsibility.  In this environment the spouse on the receiving end is never heard and their feelings are dismissed as unimportant.

Spouse is Controlling

A controlling spouse is always a toxic spouse.  Control can manifest in many ways, limiting access to finances, monitoring phone and computer use, policing where their spouse is allowed to go and who they can interact with or how they dress or style their hair.  It can also be more subtle and manipulative by blocking their ability to work, go to school or develop a hobby.  By insults and lack of support they keep their spouse from evolving and becoming independent.


It is not uncommon for a couple’s social circle to change once they are married.  There is no longer the desire to go out to bars every weekend until 2 A.M. with single friends and this definitely changes when kids enter the picture.  There is a difference however in friendships evolving and changing to becoming isolated from friends and family members.  A toxic spouse will often limit who their partner can talk to or spend time with in an effort to isolate them.  It is a form of abuse that takes away a person’s individuality and autonomy and makes them completely dependent on their spouse for everything.  They become completely disengaged from family and friends where there was once a close relationship.

No Boundaries

 In a toxic relationship, one spouse will have no regard for boundaries put up by the other spouse.  For example, one spouse cannot have phone calls at work, yet their spouse repeatedly calls them at work.  By ignoring their spouses wishes and requests it shows a lack of respect and consideration for their partner.  What they want is more important than what their partner wants or needs.

Not Allowed to Express Feelings

 A toxic person is only interested in one person, themselves.  Their spouse will feel as if they aren’t allowed to have opinions or input on any decision or situation.  They are ignored and devalued.  The toxic person is easy to anger and demands all the attention.  The spouse is left feeling like they are walking on eggshells and their happiness is pushed aside to ensure the spouse is happy. The bullied spouse loses their own identity, and all their energy becomes focused on the toxic spouse.

If any of these seem familiar to you, you may be in a toxic marriage.  Can a toxic marriage be saved?  With therapy and willingness by both parties the marriage can change.  Sometimes it is beyond repair and it’s time to find your own happiness.

At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have the experience, resources and skills to help with a toxic marriage that is no longer healthy for you.  We are here to provide legal advice and the assistance you may need throughout your divorce.   We represent women just like you to help you get through this and onto a better and happier life.




Florida Women’s Law Group