How to spot the signs you’re in a toxic relationship | Sandra Ten Hoope

Abuse, gender based violence, sad woman crying

Sandra Ten Hoope is a successful Corporate Lawyer and after her experience in three emotionally, physically, and financially abusive relationships, is also now a Toxic Relationship Recovery Expert.

Her new book Do Not Try HIM At Home is out on 18th September, providing a brave message to any woman in a damaging relationship. Here she outlines the signs, you need to spot:

You remember it so well, the moment you first saw him. One look and you felt your knees weakening. This was HIM. The one.  Your soulmate. He swept you off your feet. Your friends were envious, what a great catch. You had a great time. Felt loved and appreciated. Yet now, his once sweet kisses are starting to taste sour. You find yourself fighting with him a lot and you are thinking: Is he truly the one?  It should be good, would be good, could be good. Right? Wrong! What are the red flags that you choose to ignore? How can you tell that you are in a toxic relationship?


A toxic guy moves fast. Too fast for you to think straight. He instantly refers to you as his girlfriend. Suggests moving in with you. He may even propose marriage. YES is all you can say…


A toxic guy usually has only one means of income: you! If he has a job, he will lose it. But hey, now he can spend more time with you. More time? All the time! For he makes sure that you hardly see your family and friends anymore. It is all about him.


A toxic guy will lie about anything and everything. Even the colour of his socks. He is so good at lying, it is hard to call him out. He makes you question your sanity – are you imagining things?

Exes and “Next-es”

There are always many women in his life. Ex-girlfriends that require his help. Many interested ladies, who he claims to ignore out of love for you. His mobile phone resembles an emergency call center – beeping and bleeping 24/7

Control and Force

Disguising control as love, a toxic guy will check on your every move. Literally. Smart phones are dangerous weapons – not only can he track your every move; he will also demand access to your phone and laptop.

As time goes by, every conversation turns into a fight. He blames you for everything. Calls you names. He may even start to hit you.  Shame kicks in: how could this be happening to you?

Do not blame yourself. A toxic guy is like an illusionist. Painting the perfect picture. Knowing exactly how to woo a woman. If you had been on stage at a magic show, would you have blamed yourself afterwards for not having figured out how he tricked you? Of course not. So do not blame yourself here either.  Seek support. Talk to a friend who truly listens. Without judgement.  Make an appointment with a counsellor specialized in toxic relationships Join a group with kindred spirits (online or offline).

You are not the only woman that has (had) a relationship with a toxic guy.  You will get yourself back on track.  Being with a toxic guy requires a lot of strength. Strength that you will use to build yourself up again!

Sandra’s book Do Not Try HIM At Home is out on 18th September

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