Cancel Valentine’s Day.

That’s of course if you’re casually dating, in a committed relationship and… there are legitimate signs that this relationship is toxic, abusive or beyond repair.

Too extreme? Why put yourself in a position where you not only dive emotionally deeper in an already bad situation? It’s like installing marble counters in a kitchen with mold behind the walls. It’s akin to co-signing for a luxury car with a person who has a gambling addiction.

Let’s be clear: If your romantic history with this person has a track record of being toxic, then a nice dinner, gift exchange and “dessert” will probably not wash this toxicity away.

Here are eight signs that may describe a romantically toxic situation:

#1 You’ve Confused Dangerous Aggression with Passion

Your significant other (man or woman) has a history of being verbally and/or physically violent with you. Even if this person has not actually struck you, intimidating body language, gestures and being verbally threatening may signal worse actions to come.

#2 – Your Love Interest Threatens to Harm Themself

This person has hinted, joked or outright made comments with suicidal ideations. This is really bad. Don’t lose sight of the unfortunate reality that some crimes of passion include homicide-suicides. You can’t assume that a person willing to harm themself won’t lump you into that act.

#3 – Their Past Relationships Sound Sanitized

Your courtship is relatively new, and although your love interest has not directed any abuse at you, they have glossed over details where there may have been moments of violence or verbal abuse in previous relationships. Watch for wording where this person may frame themselves as the innocent one. Abusers aren’t known for being accountable nor fully transparent of their actions.

#4 – He Or She Is Unkind To Others

Your love interest is charismatic and sweet with you, but are heavy-handed with animals, children, co-workers, and people in the service industry. This may be a telling sign in that these are situations where those on the receiving end are not in positions of power. You may be next in line.

#5 – Something In Your Gut Is Troubling You

If something in your gut tells you that something is not right about this person, follow your intuition now and make sense of it later. Think about how rotten we’ve all felt when we didn’t listen to that little voice in our heads and we ended up in a bad situation where we then kick ourselves for not following that doubt. Simply say, “You know, I’m attracted to you and I do like you, but something is telling me we should slow down.”

#6 – You’ve Reviewed the Game Tape and It Looks Bad

While your judgement may have been cloudy during the honeymoon stage of lust and infatuation, you’ve reflected on past interactions, and questionable moments stand out. Maybe there were a couple of moments where their reactions (i.e. dirty look, shouting, door slamming, etc.) were disproportionate to something you may have said or done. It’s very easy to mistake these actions for acceptable passion. Sure, you may be flattered that this person you’re attracted to may “care,” but imagine what could happen if you get involved on a deeper level where the stakes may be higher.

#7 – Friends and Family Members Express Concern

If you’ve shared updates of your courtships with friends and family, and notice they are un-flattered by your love interest’s actions and/or they are politely expressing concern, it may be time to drill down on their concern, and ask them to share their candid observations.

Bonus Tip

It’s always good to place people and relationships on a spectrum of experiences. Is this relationship more on the loving and nurturing side of the spectrum, or do you see parts of your courtship on the extreme end where there could be intimidation, shouting matches, and at worst, violence?

Don’t get pulled back into a toxic situation for a short-lived, overly marketed holiday.

Cancel Valentine’s Day.


About Imani Kaliid

Imani Kaliid is the author of “There Was Violence,” President of the InVia Foundation and host of the “Misconnected Podcast.”

The InVia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity based in California that is focused on technological tools and services for victims of violent trauma. “There Was Violence” serves as a relatable testimony and unfortunately common experience for multitudes of victims who remain silent, struggling or healing, which is why Kaliid sought a more direct avenue to connect and contribute to the world by establishing the InVia Foundation to save victims in need.


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