Top 17 Proven Ways to Fix A Toxic Relationship

By David Small •  Updated: 04/22/21 •  11 min read

At the beginning of a relationship, couples are in love and experience no problems.  As the two keep seeing each other, toxicity creeps into the relationship, affecting their quality of life.

What was once a thriving relationship is now defined by lack of support, jealousy, toxic communication, resentment, dishonesty, and disrespect. Instead of getting solace from your spouse, you feel ignored, stressed, and unloved.

Despite the pain and suffering, you want your relationship to work. You realized that its success depends solely on you since your partner is either withdrawn or uninvolved.

How do you fix a toxic relationship? We have a few suggestions below:

  1. Identify the Root Cause of the Problem.

Toxicity in a relationship is a disease that needs diagnosis before treatment. Diagnosis involves identifying the toxin harming the relationship between the two of you.

It could be jealousy, dishonesty, disrespect, resentment, or lack of support. So, where do you start? In her book: How to Change Toxic Relationships, Savana Smoke says you should look back to where things started going wrong.

Find out when the jealousy cropped into the relationship. Also, you should ask yourself where trust issues emanated. Is it because of what you did? Or, is your partner naturally a toxic person? According to Savanah, you can only solve a problem when you know its root cause.

  1. Talk About It.

Now that you have identified the root cause of the problem, you need to talk about it. However, you should avoid talking when you are mad with your partner, which will only lead to hasty decisions. Wait until both of you are calm and composed and talk.

In a clear low tone, express your grievances so that your partner knows how you feel. Talk about issues that make the relationship toxic and get solutions.

Strive to be transparent but not condescending and sarcastic. But it is not enough to talk. If what defines the connection is resentment, find out why and change.

  1. Learn to Compromise with Each Other.

In a toxic relationship, the partners are likely to have adopted irreconcilable positions. So, it is essential to make your partner understand your situation.

As Steve Keller says in his book: Communication in Relationships, you should also strive to understand his/her position. After that, you can talk about the things you can do without compromising with each other.

For instance, your partner could be jealous of you talking to members of the opposite. However, you neither have an affair nor intend to have one. The only problem is that you are a social person who quickly strikes conversations with strangers.

In that case, you can reassure your partner of your faithfulness by letting them join your social group.

  1. Get Help from an Impartial Person.

The two of you can seek help from a professional counselor. Because of their training and experience, the counselor can give you great strategies and insights. You will not only know the problems with your relationship but also how to fix them.

Alternatively, you can get help from an accountability partner. Couples Therapy Workbook author Kathleen Mates defines an accountability partner as someone who ensures accountability while helping you improve your relationship.

It can be a good friend, sibling, or parent who is open-minded, mature, and trustworthy. If you lack the willpower to fight for the relationship, accountability will push you to try.

  1. Show Affection to Your Partner.

You can fix a toxic relationship by maintaining sweetness towards your partner. It is a better strategy than trying to change each other or expecting your partner to change.

As Devin Walters writes in the book: Toxic Relationships, you should focus on what you can do on your part. Shift your strategy and approach from pushing your partner to change to showing affection towards him or her.

Retrace your steps and bring back the fire that once existed in the relationship. Take the role of a change agent by trying new things. Perhaps it has been a while since you went on a date. Invite your partner on an evening out to rekindle your love for each other.

Also Related: 21 Warning Signs Of A Toxic Relationship.

  1. Cherish Your “Me” Time.

In a toxic relationship, taking time to be alone is very important. It can help you overcome emotional dependence and toxicity. Apart from helping you contemplate your relationship issues, it also clears your mind.

In The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, Leslie Vernick says you should take time to think about the things that make you happy. Ponder on what you want from the relationship. Organize your thoughts and get ready to face your problems.

Establish boundaries and create a healthy balance. With time, you will be able to transform the toxic relationship into a better one.

  1. Avoid Stoking the Toxicity Fire.

Is your relationship actually “toxic”? It is the behavior from both of you and the reactions to that behavior that create toxic or harmful patterns.

Once you realize that, start identifying and recognizing harmful and toxic patterns with the view of breaking them. Whenever you see your partner behave negatively, avoid a reaction that only stokes toxicity.

That’s because a negative response to bad behavior only strengthens misbehavior. You can avoid adverse reactions by being conscious of the moment and taking control of your actions. It’s only then that you will be able to take everything calmly and with wisdom.

  1. Establish Boundaries to Maintain Love and Respect.

It may sound funny, but too much closeness usually contributes to relationship toxicity. We are talking about the proximity that involves crossing each other’s boundaries, becoming overly possessive and clingy.

As much as you want to stay close, you should give each other some space. Remember, you don’t own your partner, and they don’t hold you. The two of you are separate human beings with freedom of choice.

In his book: Boundaries and Relationships, Charles Whitfield suggests letting each other do the things they like. According to Whitfield, having too much of each other will only breed resentment, leading to toxicity.

  1. Build Emotional Independence.

Emotional independence is an important life skill that indicates the ability to take charge of your emotional state.

It is diametrically different from emotional dependence, which means you derive your confidence, sense of fulfillment, and happiness from another person. When the other person has no alignment with your expectations, you can only remain miserable.

The other person can do anything to control your mood and behavior, resulting in a toxic relationship. Luckily, you can become emotionally independent by taking charge of your life. Instead of blaming your partner for your feelings, learn to recognize and deal with them internally.

  1. Quit Passive Aggression.

Toxicity in a relationship is fueled as much with passive aggression as any other factor. Passive aggression, just like sarcasm, is one of the relationships’ silent killers.

Even though it isn’t direct and doesn’t cause a full-blown fight, it gradually introduces toxicity into the relationship. It is a sign that the relationship has little or no healthy communication.

Yet, you can overcome passive aggression by communicating your reservations with respect, calmness, and civility. In her book: Anxiety and Communication in Relationship, Felicity Moore advises you to pick the right time to voice your concerns.

That means you should avoid shouting or expressing anger. Instead, speak calmly, clearly, and with composure.


Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

  1. Get over Insecurity and Unhealthy Competition.

It is difficult to understand why some people feel insecure about their partner’s growth. Others even try to get ahead of their partners or even bring them down.

As Dave Carnegie says in his book: Insecurity in Relationships, the relationship can only become toxic. Such individuals should realize that insecurity results from their feelings of inadequacy rather than their partner’s actions.

So, you could be unhappy about your partner’s progress because you don’t like your own. Even though you know you can do well, you are afraid to take the same action as your spouse. By learning to be genuinely happy with your partner’s progress, you will be able to fix a toxic relationship.

  1. Assume Your Office Mien at Home.

Most individuals are more polite, flexible, open-minded, productive, and willing to learn in the office. When they come home, all of these desirable attributes disappear in thin air.

They become insecure, rude, complaining, impatient, traditional, non-cooperative, and narrow-minded. Such people are unwilling to listen to their partners and get their points of view.

When you think of it, your family needs to see you in your best behavior than strangers in the office. Try to win over your family the same way you do with clients at the office. Adopt a more open-minded, ready-to-learn attitude, and you will detoxify your relationship.

  1. Take Deliberate Steps to Bond.

One of the reasons the original spark wanes in relationships is complacency. Many couples forget about the things they did to bond with each other.

This means adopting bonding behaviors like hugging, kissing, holding hands, smiling, and locking eyes can help fix a toxic relationship. You can also try giving small mindful gifts, spend quality time together, indulge in mutual creative activities, and laugh together.

As John Boucher says in Mending Broken Relationships, Building Strong Ones can restore the spark into the relationship. All you need is to make a conscious effort to make it happen.

  1. Build and Strengthen Other Relations.

Just because you are in a romantic relationship does not mean you should neglect all other relations. If anything, your current relationship should only be one of the many you have.

That means working to strengthen the bonds between you and your parents, children, siblings, friends, and mentors. These people are often an integral part of the support system on which you will rely when things go wrong.

Whenever possible, spend time with them, take care of them, and appreciate everything they do for you. Having meaningful conversations with them, ask about their lives, and cherish their roles in your life. It is the right way of maintaining a sense of balance and developing inner happiness.

Also Related: 17 Subtle Signs You’re In A Bad Relationship.

  1. Stay Motivated and Driven Towards Fixing the Relationship.

You cannot fix a toxic relationship without the requisite drive and motivation.

However, to stay motivated, you need to develop daily rituals that you do no matter the situation. For example, you may adopt prayer, mindfulness, exercise, morning walks, meditation, healthy eating, and waking up early.

Consistency with these habits will keep you on track even when the going gets tough. You may also develop practices that promote learning, like reading books, articles, and guides.

You may love the book: “Toxic Relationships: How to Identify an Unhealthy Relationship and Take Action to Repair It” by Devin Walters. Besides, you could join online courses and other personal development programs.

  1. Live for a Higher Purpose.

Do you often get fixated on your needs? Being self-centered is one of the causes of toxicity in relationships. That’s because you are always looking for approval, respect, and award or rights.

All you care about is that your spouse can meet your emotional, physical, and material needs. A slight violation of your expectations leads to great disappointment, resulting in bitterness and resentment in that state.

So, why don’t you take the time to discover your life’s higher purpose? Explore your unique talents, work towards a greater good, and build a legacy for yourself. That way, you will refocus your life and forget about the toxicity in your relationship.

  1. Maintain Flexibility and Perseverance.

If you want to fix a toxic relationship, you should avoid giving up at the slightest sign of defeat. Instead, be flexible and ready to cover the entire journey towards strengthening your relationship.

If something you tried doesn’t work, switch to a better idea. That’s because fixing a relationship involves a lot of learning. Whatever you do, avoid making premature conclusions.

If you do, then you might end up limiting your possibilities. In all of that, you should never give up until you fix the relationship.


With the top 17 proven ways to fix a toxic relationship, it should be easier for you to resolve your differences.

After identifying the root cause of the problem, talk about it, and learn to compromise. Ask for help, show affection to each other, have lots of “me” time, avoid stoking the fire, and establish reasonable boundaries.

You also need to build emotional independence, quit passive aggression, avoid insecurity, take a business-like approach, and maintain other relations. Apart from staying motivated, learn to live for a higher purpose while remaining flexible and perseverant.

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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