Relationships have their ups and downs and, clearly, none are perfect. But there is a fine line between normal bumps and chronic dysfunction. An unhealthy relationship not only lacks staying power, but staying in one can have serious, damaging repercussions that range from stifling your potential and killing your sense of self to literally killing you. From control and domination to flat out pretending, these 7 warning signs of an unhealthy relationship are something every couple needs to know.
- There is no sense of security.
A healthy relationship between two mature adults is not conditional. That is, you should not feel as if your relationship is predicated on you meeting certain conditions or conforming to certain ideals. These conditions range from making a certain amount of money to looking a particular way. Rather, you should feel secure in the relationship and feel that you can not only be “yourself”, but that you do not need to worry about external factors influencing how your partner feels about you.
- You fight a lot…
- …and over the same things.
This is a tough one because all healthy relationships have conflict and fights, and sometimes those fights are big, dramatic, and relationship-altering. However, these fights are fair. They are also outweighed by good times and love. A relationship defined by conflict may be exciting and dramatic, but it isn’t healthy. Fights need to be about growth and bringing you closer, not blame and negativity. [Related: Research: How Mismatched Couples Get Their Happily-Ever-After in Each Other]
In addition to the amount of fighting you do, what you fight about is significant. If you are constantly fighting over the same things there is a lack of resolution and forgiveness in your argument. If you can’t work past your different opinions and attitudes the relationship is unlikely to work.
- You feel worse about yourself instead of better.
A healthy relationship makes you feel good. You should feel good about your looks, your sex appeal, and your life and future in general. And this sort of degradation of your self-esteem takes place through more than easy-to-spot criticism and verbal abuse. A partner who consistently pokes fun at a sensitive subject, such as a mole on your face, for example, and who doesn’t stop when asked, is being just as harmful. The point is that being together should make you feel good, not bad. [Related: Understanding When Divorce is Really the Best Option]
- One of you has more control than the other.
Healthy relationships are about compromise, growth, and support. Unhealthy relationships are about power and control. When one person makes all the decisions, whether directly or indirectly, and particularly when he or she is able to make you question your own decisions, the power balance of a relationship is unhealthy. No one should have more control over you than you have over yourself.
- The key to your happiness is change.
A healthy relationship is all about loving the other person for who they are now, not who they might become. Over time, change is inevitable and a healthy relationship must work through this. However, this is different than when you and/or your partner view happiness as contingent upon one or both of you changing. When this happens the focus of the relationship shifts to instigating that change, silently asserting that who you are now isn’t good enough. [Related: The 3 Things That All Successful Married Couples Do]
- You ‘need’ each other more than you love each other.
This can be hard to decipher at first since we get a high off of being needed similar to the one we gain from being loved. However where love is forgiving, kind, and honest, need is jealous, possessive, and distrusting. Don’t confuse the two. [Related: 3 Changes You Can Make Today To Help Improve Your Troubled Marriage]
Work with me if you’re still unsure whether to stay in a potentially bad relationship. I offer a clear perspective to your situation and an unbiased solution to problems most couples face, nowadays.