Relationships can be hard. Whether it’s distance or busy schedules that keep you apart, or a difference in personalities that leads to misunderstandings, you have to put in the effort to make it work, even if you’re already married to your significant other.
Sometimes, the power dynamic in a marriage can be skewed so much that you forget what’s normal. How do you know if your expectations are realistic? And how do you know if it’s just your partner’s quirk or a red flag? Here are five toxic traits to look out for — and if you spot them, it’s time to have a good talk or seek counselling.
He Doesn’t Put In Any Effort
It’s not good to keep score in a relationship, but being in a one-sided commitment should be a cause for concern.
If your man doesn’t bother to organise any dates or activities for the two of you, or make an effort for special occasions like your birthday and wedding anniversary, it’s a sign he’s taking you for granted.
Same goes for helping with household chores and the kids — if he expects you to do most of it and you’re also working a full-time job, it’s time to sit down and have a serious talk about the distribution of labour in the household. In this day and age, it’s definitely not fair to expect one partner to pick up the slack when both are working.
He Never Apologises
Admitting when you’re wrong is one of the most essential qualities of being a decent human being and this is certainly important when you’re in a relationship.
If he never ever says he’s sorry – whether he’s consistently late to pick the kids up or had to cancel at the last minute or said something to hurt your feelings – it shows he puts his ego above the relationship. He might not see it, but it’s harming your marriage.
He Tries To Change You And Makes You Feel Guilty
It’s all well and good wanting your partner to improve, but if he’s telling you to change your looks or live your life differently – such as getting new friends or stop doing the things you love – that’s a big red flag. Your man should encourage you to grow, not change. He should accept (and love) you for who you are and not try to turn you into a version of a partner he wants you to be.
A man who loves sending you on guilt trips has some serious self-esteem issues. So whether it’s because he thinks you’re spending too much time together or that you aren’t with him enough, it doesn’t matter; as long as he’s making you feel that way. If he’s making you feel guilty about doing ‘normal’ things in a relationship, you should hear the alarm bells loud and clear.
He Wants All Your Personal Info
We’re not talking about him wanting to know your favourite colour or your most memorable childhood memory. If he’s asking for your passwords or login details to your social media accounts or personal email, that’s a red flag.
Everyone needs some privacy even when they’re in a marriage, so him wanting to know these details shows he doesn’t trust you and needs to be in control, which is a big no-no.
He Constantly Makes Fun Of You
Laughing together is one of the best parts of being part of a couple so it’s great to be able to joke around.
But if he’s laughing at your expense, that isn’t a good sign.
Walk away if he’s always making fun of you, whether it’s the way you dress, the way you drive or the fact that you like a particular type of food or music. It shows he disrespects you and that’s definitely not on in any relationship. If he’s constantly making you feel small, it’s time to sit down and have a talk about how it’s impacting you and the marriage.
Text: Balvinder Sandhu and Cassandra Koh/Herworld. Updated by The Singapore Women’s Weekly on 10 Oct 2023.