The first flush of love is a high that’s hard to beat. Some of us make the mistake of convincing ourselves we’re still living that high, even when a part of us knows things are going sour. If you’re unsure about the healthiness of your relationship, we’ve got your back! Here are some telltale signs you’re in an unhealthy relationship- or even worse, a toxic one.
Don’t think it’s always obvious. You’re in love, and even too much of a good thing is bad. That’s why we’ve used three categories:
- The Good: It seems loving, but it’s not.
- The Bad: Are they really that bad?
- The really, really Ugly: So toxic it hurts.
The ‘Good’ Ways A Relationship Can Be Toxic
A healthy relationship is about balance. That’s why a few things that may seem romantic actually can be signs of an unhealthy relationship. Far from proof that your partner is ‘the one’, they can be the warning signs of a relationship that can turn sour fast.
Intensity can be a surprising sign of an unhealthy relationship. We’re talking over-the-top emotions that rush your natural pace. Do they always need to see or talk to you and you only? It may seem passionate and romantic, but obsession is never good. It’s time to tone it down a few notches.
Likewise jealousy. We all feel a little jealous every now and again, of course. If your partner is lashing out, trying to control you, or making their jealousy your problem, however, it’s toxic. Are you getting accused of flirting or cheating constantly? Is your partner super possessive? Does simply texting or hanging out with friends threaten them? That’s not romance, that’s control- and a worrying relationship sign you should never ignore.
The Bad Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship
It feels off, but is it that bad? All relationships have down moments, but if any of these behaviors have become a way of life, it could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
1. Manipulating Behavior:
Does your partner often push you to emotions, actions or decisions they want? This one can be super-difficult to spot from the inside. If friends are all warning about manipulation it might be time to reflect. One friend could be jealous or over-protective, but if everyone is telling you things aren’t right, they’re not all out to get you. Does your partner ever ignore you ‘til they get what they want? Bribe you with gifts and apologies if you set boundaries? Convince you to do things you really aren’t comfortable with? No, no, no!
2. Volatile Tempers:
Not every hot temper is a sign of an unhealthy relationship! Some people are just wired with short triggers. The key question is whether this volatility is ‘always your fault’? Are you responsible for their temper and its control? Or are they working on it themselves? Do you feel you need to walk on eggshells to preserve your partner’s good humor? If they often lose control and get violent/yell, or they threaten to hurt you or your pets/children and destroy things, it’s toxic.
3. Never Taking Responsibility:
Talking about which, are they never at fault? Is it always you, other people, their past… anything except them right now? Mental health issues, divorce, abusive pasts, sober living, and other hardships will shape a person’s life, of course. But they should never become the reason they can’t ever be wrong. And you certainly aren’t the only person at fault in a relationship conflict. We all have our stubborn moments, but if your partner never takes responsibility, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
4. Mean Jokes and Belittling:
We’ve all been tone-deaf with loved ones. But if your partner is always being rude about you and your friends/family, mocks your looks, or ‘jokes’ meanly with you/calls you names, it’s not right.
If you feel like you’re solely responsible for how your partner feels, it’s an unhealthy dynamic. Nor should you ever be the only thing standing between them and self-harm. Whether it’s guilting you into sexual things you are uncomfortable with, or guilting you to stay, it’s unhealthy.
The Really, Really Ugly Signs Of Toxic Relationships
There’s a little bit of the ‘bad’ list in all healthy relationships- it’s about how often it happens and how you work through it together. These below aren’t merely signs of an unhealthy relationship, however- they’re abusive behaviours that have no place ever in a loving partnership.
Your partner should be the first to celebrate your successes. They should encourage you to be your best not tear you down. If they make you miss work/school, keep you from getting work done, spread rumors to hurt you, or threaten to dox you to hurt your personal or professional life, kick their sabotage to the curb.
Likewise, you should never have to choose between your friends and your partner. Nor should you have to be with them 24/7. If you’re constantly being made to question your own judgments about friends and family, they could be trying to socially isolate you. You should not be solely dependent on a lover for love, social interaction, and acceptance.
These key behaviors are all classic signs of an unhealthy relationship. If you encounter any of these warning factors in your own relationship, it’s time to do some careful thinking. Remember, loving each other is about helping each other to be the very best, not possession and control!