You may think it would be easy for someone to see the signs of an unhealthy relationship but in reality, it’s a lot harder than you think. Sure, you can consciously know that your partner is being unfair but you care about them so much that sometimes the lines between “overprotective” and “controlling” get blurred. Your perception of the situation becomes completely skewed because so many emotions are involved.
The problem is that most of us forgive a lot easier than we should when you have romantic feelings for someone. That’s why it’s important to get an outside perspective every now and then. You need to put your feelings aside so you can really understand whether or not your relationship is causing you — or your S.O. — harm.
Because unhealthy relationships can cause harm — long-lasting harm. Often an unhealthy connection with your partner can act as a stepping stone to an abusive relationship — whether that means emotionally abusive, physically, sexually, financially or otherwise. The psychological damage an abusive relationship
— any type of abuse — has on a person can travel with them years and years after the relationship has ended. That idea alone means that it’s essential to notice early warning signs of a partnership that could take a turn for the worst so you can either improve the relationship or end things before it spins out of control.
**If you suspect you or someone you know is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, visit loveisrespect.org or call 1-866-331-9474**
1. Excessive Arguments
Arguing is fine. It’s completely normal. When you spend a ton of time with someone, you’re bound to run into disagreements. The unhealthy part is when you’re arguing all the time about little things that don’t really matter. It’s not healthy to be in such an aggravated state all the time and you need to keep an eye on this.
2. They Always Put You Down
First of all, why would your partner — who claims to care about you – always be trying to knock your self-esteem? It’s mean, emotionally manipulative and not something you should have to deal with. If your partner is blurting out excessive (or tbh, any) insults your way, then you’re in an unhealthy relationship.
3. Condescending Comments
This is a really big sign that firstly, your partner doesn’t respect your intelligence and secondly, you’re in an unhealthy relationship. Why should it ever be okay for your partner to make you feel stupid? If they treat you like you’re an idiot, they’re clearly not good for you and don’t appreciate all you have to offer.
4. Double Standards
Are they allowed to do something you’re not? Are they telling you that you are/are not allowed to do things period? They shouldn’t be. Is your partner always going out with friends but when you want to do the same, they get pissed? Double standards of any kind are a huge sign that your partner is trying to control you and that can turn dangerous pretty quickly.
5. Constant Jealousy
Jealousy here and there is completely normal. It’s a human emotion and we all tend to feel possessive over things that we care about. However, if you’re in a healthy relationship that jealousy quickly dissipates and can be solved quickly through clear communication and honestly. An unhealthy relationship, however, is full of jealousy that never seems to be resolved. When either one of you has a severe jealousy problem, it’s a sign that there’s a lack of trust and communication which ultimately means things aren’t working out.
6. You Don’t Go to Each Other for Support
Your partner should be just that: a partner. They’re supposed to be the one person you can go to with anything. They’re your teammate. If you really can’t even go to them when you need emotional support, then that’s a really bad sign. You should evaluate why you don’t think you can talk to them about your problem. Do they frequently brush off your issues like they’re not a big deal? Are you fearful they will freak out if they knew you were struggling? Afraid they’ll try to “handle the situation” in a way that will make things so much worse?
The entire point of being with someone is so you have someone to help you through the hell that life throws at you. Not having a shoulder to cry on puts extra pressure on you which can wind up making existing relationship issues more severe.
7. They Point Out Your Insecurities
It goes hand-in-hand with their condescending comments and putting you down. All of us have things that we don’t feel super confident about, but our S.O.s should be there to make us feel good about those things — not make those issues even worse! Your partner should never bring something up if they know it makes you feel sh*tty… it’s as simple as that. They know you better than anyone, supposedly, so they should know what will hurt your feelings and what won’t. Even pointing out a zit in the middle of your forehead can be a sign that something’s off. Like, of course you know it’s there and of course, they can see it. So why do they feel the need to talk about it? Instead of pointing it out, they should be telling you how great you look anyway.
8. They Make Fun of Your Insecurities
This is even worse than pointing them out (obvi). Everyone has something they’re insecure about and your partner knows what they are. They should, anyways. And if they’re walking around making harmful jokes about that insecurity, then you’re in an unhealthy relationship. In fact, these “jokes” can even be classified as emotional abuse when they’re bringing it up on purpose and not just because they’re stupid.
9. They Don’t Support Your Passions
This is something a lot of people don’t even think about. You make the mistake of thinking that just because they aren’t informed about your passions and interests that they don’t have to support them. But they should want to know about whatever that is and support it because it’s your passion and it’s something that makes you who you are. They should be there encouraging you to pursue it as much as possible. This means cheering you on courtside at a rec basketball game or telling you to go on that yoga retreat even if it means spending a month apart. If they don’t, it’s not healthy.
10. They Make You Feel Bad When You do Something Without Them
This one’s huge. You’ll be able to see this sign if they ever lay on the guilt when you tell them that you’re having a girls’ night out or having a dinner date with your BFF and not them. You have a life separate from your relaysh and they should too! A sign of an abusive relationship is when your boyfriend/girlfriend is isolating you from the outside world — including your friends and family. This is the first step to that.
11. You’re Constantly Complaining About Them to Your Friends
If your friends only ever hear really bad things about your partner, it’s not good news. Sure, they’ll probably hear more bad than good simply because you don’t go around telling everyone when you’ve had a great day together or each and every time the sex is #mindblowing. Complaining about your boo constantly is a symptom of an unhealthy relationship and quite frankly, you might be the problem if you’re over-criticizing your partner.
12. You Don’t Feel Appreciated or Valued
You need to feel loved and appreciated in a relationship. That’s like Dating 101: make the person you’re with feel good. One of the biggest reasons relationships fail is because one or both of you don’t show appreciation. Maybe things have gotten too comfortable or maybe one or both of you aren’t mature enough to commit emotionally to someone else. That said, it’s not fair and it’s not healthy to take your bf/gf for granted. It’s a serious lack in communication. If you never tell your partner when you’re happy with something they did, then how can you tell them when you’re unhappy with something they did?
13. You Feel Scared to Speak Up for Yourself
For some reason another (perhaps those condescending comments or their short fuse), you might feel uncomfortable or scared to share your opinion and speak your mind. What’s the point of being in a relationship when you have to keep everything to yourself? In fact, many would argue the best benefit of dating someone is you have someone to be completely open with. Bottling these thoughts up can be detrimental to your psyche.
14. They Don’t Value Your Concerns
A lot of people who have these issues in their relationship can see the signs and talk to their partner about what’s going wrong. That’s what everyone should do. However, if your partner doesn’t take them seriously or just brushes them off, it’s seriously unhealthy. They’re basically telling you they don’t care if you’re upset and that you’re overreacting over things that actually do matter. You don’t deserve that.
15. They Only Show Affection When They Want Something
This also goes for when they’re trying to get you to forgive them. They’re not really sorry, they just want you to stop annoying them with your unhappiness. You’ll notice this most often when your partner wants you to do something for them or when they want to get laid. They should be affectionate and loving towards you all the time, not just when there’s something in it for them. Selfishness has no place in a healthy relationship and that’s the core problem here.
16. Sex is Your Go-To Problem Solver
Sex should never be a problem solver, ever. Yes, having sex after you’ve been arguing is great. Make-up sex is fantastic. But the point of it is that you’ve already made up. You talked it out and communicated your problems effectively. Having sex doesn’t solve problems, it only shoves them under the rug until you can’t fit anymore. We have all had that friend who keeps going back to their bae because the “sex is so good” but it always ends in disaster. If sex is the only thing holding your defunct relationship together, there’s a serious problem there.
17. They Don’t Take Your Opinion Into Consideration with Anything
Basically, your thoughts and opinions don’t matter. This could be about anything. Whether it’s a movie you’re going to see or a piece of furniture you’re buying together. If your opinion holds no value to them, it’s an unhealthy relationship. You two are an equal team (or supposed to be). Therefore, your opinion should matter to the person you’re spending basically every night and day with. There should be conversation about the little things, as well big life decisions they’re planning. If there’s not because they think you’ll be with them no matter what, that’s not cool.
18. You Feel Worse About Yourself Now than You did Before Dating Them
Think back to when you first started dating. How was your self-esteem? I’m guessing, if a lot of the points on this list sound familiar, that you felt way better before. That’s because you’re in an unhealthy relationship that’s derailing your confidence. Your partner should be improving your life, your mental health and your self-esteem, not making it worse.
19. Your Friends Have Noticed a Negative Shift in You
Your friends aren’t in your life to make it hell and bitch about your significant other all the time. They care about you. They want what’s best for you. So if they start talking about how you seem to be doing worse and you partner is to blame, listen to them. They’re probably right.
20. You Don’t go to Your Friends for Help
And if your friends are telling you your S.O. is the issue, you’ll probably ignore them. Who do you go to for help? No one? Have you completely stopped asking your friends for advice because they keep telling you your partner is the problem? Yeah. That’s a huge, major, giant sign that you’re in a really unhealthy relationship. And your friends have already told you that.