Finding mutual love is one of the great joys in life. When you can love someone in spite of all of their quirks and shortcomings, you have a truly special relationship.

However, there are times when what seems like love is really an unhealthy obsession or codependence. If you or your partner engages in any of the following behavior, that’s a warning sign that your relationship is not as healthy as it seems.

1. Your partner insists on looking through your phone.

This is a bit of a tricky one. On the one hand, in a healthy relationship, neither one of you would care if the other saw emails or texts between you and someone else. 

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On the other hand, the situation gets out of control when your partner is actively searching for signals and clues that they’re you’re being unfaithful or out of line. They might see that you referred to them in a less than enthusiastic way or signed an email to someone else “XOXO” and get mad. This is a problem.

Everyone needs a bit of privacy and independence. In a healthy relationship, people should not have to alter their communication with others just to satisfy the needs of their partner.

2. They discourage you from hanging out with friends.

Some people thrive on codependence. They go from one relationship to the next without having any other friends but their significant other. This is not a healthy way to exist.

These same people may urge you to ditch your friends so that you’re in the same boat that they are. Remember that if you treat them right, your friends will be there after you break up with someone. If you cut all ties to be with a new partner, you may end up all alone when you break up.

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To avoid this, communicate clearly with your partner that your friends are important and dear to you. You will not compromise on the issue of hanging out with your friends because that is simply unreasonable. If they can’t accept this, then you truly are in a toxic relationship.

3. They flip out when you don’t return texts or phone calls.

Obviously, returning texts and phone calls is a two-way street. Partners will fall into habits and routines in regards to returning messages. The key to avoiding fights or misunderstandings is communication.

If it takes you a long time to return a call or text, it’s reasonable for the other person to become antsy. Demanding an explanation or bombarding you with texts or calls is not reasonable, however.

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Part of surviving in the modern world requires unplugging from devices every once in a while. That might mean that a call or text is not returned in the usual prompt way. If your partner can’t handle that, that’s a major red flag.

4. They try to change the way you act.

Sometimes, it takes someone who loves us to tell us that we’re bring annoying or obnoxious. There is a loving way to tell someone that a certain behavior of theirs is not very becoming.

There are also times when a controlling partner will try to change you into another version of them. This is not okay. People have idiosyncrasies and deficiencies, and that’s what makes them unique.

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If your partner insists on “correcting” you all of the time, that’s not okay. They may consciously be trying to dominate you or they may simply be domineering without knowing it. Either way, it’s an unacceptable behavior and a major sign that your relationship is toxic.

5. Your friends tell you that the person is bad news.

If more than one friend has stepped in and voiced concern, listen to them! They have your best interests in mind.

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Sometimes, people who are at a distance can see something that you can’t. When you are blinded by the excitement of finding love, you may accept things that should be unacceptable. Relationships that start off on the wrong foot rarely get better. If more than one friends thinks that your significant other is no good, they are probably right.