Beware of People That Are Toxic to Your Marriage
There might be married couples out there that have never considered friends that are toxic to their marriage. Often times we hear about getting “toxic people” out of your life and things of that sort, but what happens when they start eating at your marriage? Toxic people can be a brick wall that stand between you and your spouse. You may not understand how serious this can be until you find your husband or yourself tangled with the wrong person.
What Is a Toxic Person?
To start with, a toxic person is someone who causes you unpleasant feelings every time you are around them. They may also be causing you emotional, psychological, or physical harm with a malicious intent. If you hang out with a person and afterwards you don’t feel that you had a good time hanging out with them, or you feel more depressed, it is possible they are toxic.
Characteristics of Toxic People
There are different types of toxic people ranging from toxic into the categories of personality disorders such as narcissism. Not every toxic person will exhibit the same behaviors. Here are some signs you are dealing with a toxic person:
The “Natural Born Pessimist”
Negativity follows in their wake. They make a room feel heavy and dark while shooting down any optimism with their negative fury.
All Eyes On Me
They crave attention, and it doesn’t matter if they need to be rude or an embarrassment to get the attention that they crave.
They Are Never Wrong
Often times, they are know-it-alls, because it gives them a sense of superiority over others. They always want to be right. Have you ever shared a new and exciting fact and been met with the dreaded statement, “Well, actually….” You don’t ever feel that you are right about anything around this type of person. Fact of their life, you are always wrong and they are always right.
Excuses and Lies
You often catch them making excuses and lies. Information they gives you doesn’t seem to add up. If you know this type of person long enough, you might feel like you don’t know them at all. It’s because you probably don’t after all the lies and excuses they have made, the information they have always given you doesn’t paint a clear picture.
Do you feel that around them you must look, think, feel, and act a certain way? It probably isn’t only you. They may be influencing you to be someone you aren’t for a reason unknown to you.
They Use You
There’s a difference between cooking dinner with your friend, and your friend asking you to fix dinner for them or their family every night (unless you are their nanny). They ask quite a lot of you and expect you to meet their standards. When you can’t keep up you may be talked down to or called “lazy”.
Gossiping Is Their Hobby
They get a kick out of talking negatively about others. This is another way they express superiority over others. If they constantly gossip about others, they probably gossip about you, too.
You Don’t Want To See Them
You may not want to see this friend, and you may even be happy when they leave. This is a big sign that they are toxic to you. If this is extreme enough, you may feel stressed, anxious, or depressed when you are around them.
Lack of Balance
There are times where you may make time for this friend and go out on a limb for them, but they will not do the same for you. In addition, your friendship may constantly go back and forth from being great to feeling like it’s about to come to an end.
They Harm You
If they invade your personal space, hit you, touch you inappropriately, or demand sexual acts from you, this is clearly a toxic person. Get out of these types of relationships right away! If you need help to get out of a relationship such as this, seek out someone you can trust.
How Do These People Affect a Marriage?
We’ve heard about how a toxic friend affects another single friend, but what toll does it bring upon a marriage? It can honestly be nasty and even incite a divorce among couples. The source can even be caused by family members. Husbands and wives need to be vigilant about the types of people they invite into their life and recognize the warning signs of when something is wrong. Unfortunately, either spouse may not see it until the relationship has done harm. Here are some types relationships with friends below to watch out for on top of toxic traits:
The Money Spender
Most people are aware that finances are a personal and heavy topic in a marriage. Perhaps most of us know how debt, low income, or emergency expenses feel on a marriage. It can be frustrating, extremely stressful, and arguments about money may seem inevitable. For example, let’s say that you and your husband are getting by paycheck to paycheck, but have a few friends that make quite a bit more than you do (or charge it all to a credit card). Your lifestyles already vary when it comes to finances, and that’s okay. The problem is when this friend invites you on all sorts of expensive outings, or perhaps outings that are reasonably priced, but many times a week. This other friend expects you to pay for yourself because surely you have the money to spend like they do. Sometimes these friends may not realize you don’t have a huge income or they haven’t ever been truly bound by a budget before. If one spouse ends up spending $200 over and the other spouse finds out, there will probably be an argument.
These friends may mean well, but do be honest. Mention that you only have a certain budget for outings, or allow yourself to two outings that require money a month. Try to suggest frugal ways you know how to have fun (I’ll make a post about this later). If your friends laugh at you, pressure you to spend over your budget, or don’t want to hang out with you anymore – they aren’t your friends. These people will only cause financial stress in your marriage and you must consider if it is best to let them go.
The Lazy Friend
Perhaps you or your spouse has that one friend that’s well past eighteen, but is still living with their mom and dad. Maybe they are unemployed, and their excuse for not getting a job is “no bills to pay” or “I’m still going to college”. In their downtime, which they seem to have a lot of, they may sit for hours in front of a television or computer screen. They have a hard time relating to a married friend that needs to work in some way to support the needs of their family. In turn, they may start to use your productivity to do their chores so they have more time to foster their laziness. They may like being around you because you have more money than they do and they use you for that. Before you know it, this becomes a pattern. You may feel that you are looking after a teenager, not a friend.
This friend more than likely doesn’t mean well for you or your marriage. After all, they consume your time, and treat you as their babysitter. If they are hungry, they want you to cook or make a food run. Did they forget to fold their clothes in the dryer? You might be left doing it for them. They have even more of an excuse not to do chores and not to get a job because they have you. You won’t get paid for it, and instead you will become exhausted. You are taking care of a friend on top of your family. A friend that can clearly do work themselves if they wanted to, but don’t. In this situation, all you are doing is being an enabler to their lazy behavior. This type of friendship is best to let go.
The Opposite Sex Hater
Perhaps you’re a guy with a guy friend, or a gal with another gal friend. When you are around this friend, they hate on the opposite sex. It could be for any reason they feel this way, and does not exactly rely on their sexual orientation. It’s possible they may openly bash your husband or wife.If you’re married, this should send up some warning signals that they probably don’t like your spouse, either. If anything, they may try to help push your spouse away for you. Doing this, they think they will be doing you a favor.
This friend clearly does not mean well for your marriage. It will be difficult to relate to them if you are a husband listening to a friend bashing women. Same goes if you are a wife and listening to your friend bashing men. It will be extremely difficult to relate, or share exciting news of things happening in your married life with this type of friend. Casual conversations probably won’t be easy. If you ever have a friend that openly bashes your husband/wife in front of you, immediately get out of the relationship. If they cannot cause you to feel badly towards your husband and wife they may try to set something up to make you feel that way. It spells bad news all around.
This one can be extremely frustrating for a marriage. It starts that you have a friend and your husband has been allowed to come over to their home and hang out before. After a time, your husband says something tiny that sets your friend off. Before you know it, your friend says, “Your husband is not welcome in my home.” This can go the other way around, too. They want to pull you and your spouse apart because they desire to spend time with you. You may find that if you invite them over to your home, they want to be gone before your husband gets home. Even if you ask, they won’t tell you the reason why or create an excuse. They may act as a third party, texting or sending online messages to your husband to threaten, harm, or create marital tension.
These people are more than likely out to destroy your marriage because they cannot have you around a lot. It’s an act out of jealousy. I noticed it is most common after being newly married and your old friends aren’t able to adjust to the change. You being married and them being single, they may end up pushing you away. If they linger around, it may be in the best interest of your marriage to end the relationship. Trying to talk and solve the situation is worth a try if they fear losing you to your spouse. Find a private place to talk with them in a neutral environment like a cafe. If you still value the friendship, let them know you still care and will make the effort to see them. Create boundaries if they keep place themselves between you and your husband/wife. If they give you excuses, become angry, can’t accept your priorities have changed, or are constantly wedging themselves in then do terminate the friendship.
The Attitude Changer
You go and hang out with this friend, but your spouse notices a complete change in your attitude after hanging out with that friend. Perhaps you go from optimistic to pessimistic within a matter of minutes with this friend. They try to be accepting of your marriage and have a hard time, but do take out their frustrations on you. At the same time, they do like your advice or input and to have a conversation with you. When you sit around this friend, you notice it goes from, “How has your day been?” or, “Beautiful weather today!” to complaining about everything and everyone.
These friends may mean well and either may be toxic, having a difficult time in their life, or don’t have many friends that will listen to them. First, try and concentrate on the optimistic things and stay away from finding a common ground in complaining while around them. If they force the complaints and negative behavior, perhaps ask them if they are okay. Ask if everything at home is okay or express how you feel when they take their frustration out on you. If this doesn’t change and the relationship continues to grow toxic and affect your marriage, it is best to step away for good
Keep In Mind Your Priorities
Remember, you married your best friend to be with for the rest of your life. Your marriage and family does take priority over your friendships. Friendships come a go, but you vowed to be with your spouse forever. Do not allow toxic friendships to stand in between your marriage. We must be alert to protect our marriages in this broken world. Remember, the enemy is sly and we are told in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I don’t think the devil has any qualms about sending in someone that seems like a good friend to rip apart your marriage. It doesn’t mean to be afraid of making friends, but to choose your friends wisely. Proverbs 12:26 states, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Being married, I know my priorities need to be:
- Family/Distant Relatives
- Church Family
Are there any other types of toxic friends you have come across you would add to this list? Post in the comments below!
[Image Credit: Ben White on unsplash.com]