Browse all topicsSee what's new

5 Signs You’re In a Toxic Marriage And What To Try Before Leaving

Being in a toxic marriage is not an easy thing to deal with…

Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on July 9, 2023

Woman Sad And Tired Of A Toxic Marriage

// We recommend helpful products in our articles. Read our full disclosure here.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful!

It's good to KNOW.

Subscribe to our newsletter for new, health-improving topics.

Woman Tired Of Living In A Toxic Marriage

You’ve heard about toxic parents, toxic relatives, and toxic relationships – but what about a toxic marriage in particular?

Being in a toxic marriage is not an easy thing to deal with, and the outcome of such a relationship is usually unpredictable.

Some couples manage to solve their toxicity problems, while others decide to split or divorce in order to get their inner peace back.

In this article, let’s talk about common signs of a toxic marriage, and what can you do to cope with this situation between you and your partner.


Toxic Marriage: Why and What Happens Between a Husband and Wife (or Partners)


What Is a Toxic Marriage?


Toxic marriage is a complicated relationship between partners that is defined by regular emotional, physical, and psychological problems and results in an unhappy marital life.

Unlike healthy marriages, where mutual trust, respect, and admiration take place, toxic marriages are poisoned by a lot of distrust, unpleasant feelings, arguments, and jealousy.

People who live in a toxic marriage usually take roles – they are either the ones who are toxic or the ones to who the toxicity is directed.

In some cases, both partners are toxic towards each other.


Common Signs Of a Toxic Marriage


There are so many people around us and at first sight, it can be almost impossible to tell which of them are living in a toxic marriage.

If you are in a toxic marriage yourself, you might find it surprising to notice that your marriage is toxic too – a lot of people are simply unaware of that.

Here are the most common signs of a toxic marriage.


1. Ongoing Physical, Emotional, or Psychological Abuse


One of the clearest signs that you and your partner are living in a toxic marriage is continuous abuse, which can be both open and concealed.

  • Open abuse involves direct and obvious toxic behavior like calling names, hurting someone physically or with words, restricting someone’s life against their will, and maintaining strict financial control.
  • Concealed abuse is harder to notice and can involve subtle negative remarks, relationship rule-breaking, bouts of toxic jealousy, and doing other things that are secretly damaging the toxic marriage further.


2. Depression


People who live in a toxic marriage, especially the ones who are regularly targeted by their abusive partner, tend to have mental health problems like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and fear.

Have you noticed that you, your partner, or both of you are often emotionally down, sad or exhausted (especially after talking to each other or spending time together)?

This might be a sign of open or concealed toxicity going on and damaging your marriage.


3. Constant Effort To Change Your Partner


If you are in a toxic marriage, you may notice that you’re constantly trying to either conceal the problem of your family or change your partner’s behavior.

Sometimes these efforts bear fruit and people manage to change this uncomfortable situation or make their partner change to their liking.

In other cases, this becomes a lifelong pattern of feeling unfulfilled in a relationship and desperately trying to do something about it.


4. Thoughts Of Divorce


It’s not unusual for people in a toxic marriage to think about divorcing their partner.

This stems from feeling alone, and loneliness is one of the most common reasons why people decide to indulge in out-of-marriage relationships.

Other reasons that may encourage people from toxic marriage to divorce are:

  • Feeling unsafe being together;
  • Lack of physical intimacy;
  • The unpredictability of marital life;
  • Feelings of too much control;
  • Hurt from always being “the guilty one”;
  • Disturbed productivity and health.


5. Feeling Scared To Do Something Wrong


In a toxic marriage, there’s also a constant fear of “making a mistake” or doing something that might provoke conflict or confrontation.

A wife can be scared to openly express her opinion in order to not upset her husband.

A husband might have times when he’s staying somewhere else but the house in order to avoid arguing, drama, etc.


4 Things To Try To Save a Toxic Marriage


Now that you know the most common signs of a toxic marriage, here are some things to try before making a decision.

Note: I am not a relationship expert.

This information is based on extensive research I did on the topics of a toxic marriage and toxic relationships.

Please consult your family, friends, and counselor when making any big decision in your life.


1. Talk


The first and most important way of dealing with toxic marriage is communication.

If one of the partners is being toxic to another without even understanding, it’s a missed opportunity to save the marriage if talking is never involved.

Try talking to your partner about how you’re feeling and that you’re noticing toxic marriage signs in your relationship.

Be honest and try to not fill your conversation with blame, as this does not help.

If your partner doesn’t want to talk about these problems, express your concern with care: “I understand that it might be unpleasant for you to talk about it.

But I really want our marriage to be healthy and happy.

It’s okay if now is not the right time – maybe we can find another moment for it?”.


2. Evaluate


There are no perfect people in this world and it’s very possible that either you or your partner aren’t perfect as well.

However, real love is based on accepting your partner with his/her flaws too.

Evaluate the problems you’re noticing in your marriage.

Are these problems so huge that they impact your life significantly?

Or are they a mere nuance that you simply don’t like?

If it’s hard for you to decide, try to look at your marriage from the point of understanding others.

Is there anything to be grateful for, even in this toxic marriage?

Did you or your partner experience any significant psychological or physical trauma that could have made you toxic?

Could you be healing from that?

Taking a step aside and looking at your toxic marriage with an unbiased look can help you to decide how much damage there is and whether it’s fixable.


3. Try Couple’s Therapy


Therapy can be extremely helpful for people whose happy marriage turned into a toxic marriage.

Sometimes people simply have a lot of trouble communicating their feelings and emotions properly.

Working together with a certified specialist can help you to identify the root causes of your toxic marriage and find ways to fix it, or get out of it without hurting each other more.


4. Focus On You


Whatever happens in a relationship, whether it would be a healthy or a toxic marriage, everything should always come down to being and feeling safe together.

If you don’t feel safe in a toxic marriage, consider talking to someone you love and trust.

Not all relationships can be saved, and a lot of them end too soon, but every situation is unique.

A person who loves you can help you to make the right decision.


Toxic Marriage Is Tricky…


But at the end of it all, the most important thing is to trust your gut.

It’s you who knows best how you feel in a toxic marriage.

Only you can decide which things are acceptable to you, what things can be dealt with, and which ones are definitely too much for you.

Base your decision on that.

Like these tips?

Scroll down for more!

Co-authors at

"We love to research problems, examine studies, analyze solutions, and share with you ideas that make life healthier. You can learn about us and our editorial standards here.

Have suggestions or feedback to share? Send us a message."