A healthy relationship that is based on love should make your life better and happier, and it should make your partner’s life better and happier too. You should be glad when you are with your boyfriend or girlfriend. You should feel calm, pleased, and relaxed. You should look forward to the time that you get to spend together. In a healthy relationship, you should be able to talk to one another without and hindrances.
Do I have an unhealthy relationship?
Does that seem like your relationship above? If so, I’m very happy for you, because it sounds like you have a great partner, who adds to your quality of life, rather than detracting from it. Everyone deserves to be in a relationship like that, and everyone deserves to find love.
However not all relationships are like that unfortunately. In fact, an unhealthy relationship is almost the exact opposite.
Perhaps you might find yourself in an unhealthy relationship that seems to only cause difficulties? Do you feel stressed when your partner is around? Do you hate the thought of having to spend time with them?
Are you in an unhealthy relationship where you feel that you have to be careful lest you say the wrong thing and upset your husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend? Do you find that your partner seems to deliberately misunderstand the things you say?
Does your partner try to bring you down, rather than building you up? If so, it’s possible that you are in an unhealthy relationship.
Here are some common signs of unhealthy relationships.
If you aren’t sure whether your current relationship is healthy or unhealthy, use this guide to see if something might need changing:
1. Your partner is completely unable to function if you aren’t with them. If you are gone even for an hour or two, they descend into apathy or depression. When you return, they make you feel guilty for leaving them alone.
2. Being with your partner is draining on you mentally and emotionally. You look forward to the time you spend alone, as that is the only time that you can relax.
3. If you ever admit to making a mistake, that mistake is brought up again and again as an example of how you “always screw everything up”.
4. Small problems are magnified when you are with your partner. A dish being left out becomes a huge issue. Being late back from work becomes a major drama.
5. In your mind you think about things that you wanted to say, but you knew that the repercussions would have been too extreme, so you kept silent instead.
6. You are careful with all your actions, because you know that something as slight as a glance at another person might be construed as an insult, or as an admission of infidelity.
7. You hide your goals and ambitions from you partner, because you know that if you mention them they will be met with scorn, mockery, or anger.
8. You put up with behaviour from your partner that you wouldn’t accept from anyone else. You tolerate insults and mean criticisms from them that you would never allow from a friend or family member.
9. You are afraid of breaking up, because it would be too turbulent, but you fantasize about it often. You hope that something happens that causes the relationship come to an end, but you keep your desires well hidden from your partner, and never contemplate actually acting upon them.
10. Your partner always thinks that you have an ulterior motive for any action you take. If you do something nice for them, they think it’s because you are feeling guilty for some way that you must have wronged them.
Every nice thing you do is an admission that you must have done something bad and hidden it from them.
11. If you ever want to do something that doesn’t involve your partner (reading a book, visiting family, going shopping with friends) your partner takes it as a personal affront; as an indication that you don’t want to spent time with them.
12. Your partner is physically abusive in any way.
13. You feel that you can’t discuss your partner’s actions or comments at all, because even a slight query will be translated as harsh criticism.
14. Your partner is constantly telling you how stupid you are. Any comment you make is thrown back at you as being ridiculous, because you “don’t know what you’re talking about”.
15.You always have to be careful about what you say, because your comments are often misinterpreted, causing your partner to get angry, sad, bitter or upset.
16. You feel a decrease in your sexual desire. Where once you welcomed your partners advances, now you find them unappealing.
Did any of those seem to match your relationship? If so, then you might be in an unhealthy relationship, and you might need to make some changes.
The first step is to decide whether you actually want to save the relationship. If you feel that it has gone beyond what is reparable, then ending the relationship and breaking up might be the only solution. Remember: There is nothing wrong with letting go of something if it doesn’t work out.
Otherwise, you will need to make some significant changes to save your relationship.
Further resources to help you if you are in an unhealthy relationship and are looking for help and guidance
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: This organization provides confidential support and resources for individuals experiencing domestic abuse. They can be reached by phone (1-800-799-7233) or chat (thehotline.org).
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: This organization works to change societal attitudes that allow domestic violence to occur, and provides resources for individuals experiencing abuse. They have a website (ncadv.org) that provides information and support.
- The Love Is Respect website: This organization, which is focused on young people, provides information and resources on healthy relationships, dating violence, and abuse. They can be reached by phone (1-866-331-9474) or text (loveis to 22522).
- RAINN: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
- Your local domestic violence or sexual assault agency: Many communities have organizations that provide support and resources for individuals experiencing domestic abuse and sexual assault. These organizations often have hotlines that can be called for confidential support.
- Mental Health Professional: It’s important to take care of your mental health as well. A therapist or counselor can help you process your experiences, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and plan for your safety.
Remember that abuse is never the victim’s fault and help is available. You deserve a safe and healthy relationship.
Kay is in her 50′s, is divorced with grown sons, and has been back in the dating game for 5 years. She’s met a surprising assortment of men from online dating sites, many of whom were very nice but just not right for her. Some remain friends. She now refuses to meet anyone at Starbucks