Are You in an Unhealthy Relationship?

unhealthy relationshipA relationship needs to only be defined by the two people who are in the relationship—what is a good, healthy relationship for one couple may be completely different than a good, healthy relationship for another.[1] However, there is a difference between a relationship having its own character and a relationship that is harmful and unhealthy.1

It may seem like it should be obvious when one is in an unhealthy relationship, but it isn’t always just that simple.1 Both partners become accustomed to the life of the relationship, denying the harm due to fears of change or failure.1 The following are signs of concern for a relationship:

  1. Hitting. While relationships have their share of arguments and disagreements, the line is crossed when hitting—even just one slap—emerges.1 It is physical abuse and completely unhealthy.1
  2. Name-Calling. Arguments are not pleasant for any relationship; however, name-calling drags an argument into hostile territory.1 It shows disrespect for the other partner and is considered verbal abuse.1 It tears your partner down and diminishes their self-esteem.1 It is not a productive quality of a good, healthy relationship.
  3. Lack of Support. While it is not possible for each partner to be supportive in all desired moments, it only becomes problematic when goals, achievements, desires, and other personal fulfillments are met with resistance and negativity.1 A healthy relationship has a sense of overall support between two partners. Without this feeling of support, resentment and frustration crumble a relationship.1
  4. Forced to Answer to Your Partner. Having to receive permission from your partner to live your personal lifestyle is controlling. There is a difference between coordinating with your partner out of common respect and having to give them constant updates as to where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing.1 The latter is a form of psychological abuse.1
  5. Feeling Angry or Resentful of Your Partner. It is completely normal to become annoyed and angry with your partner at times.1 However, a general sense of resentment and anger that overarches your relationship isn’t healthy.1 It needs to be addressed before the relationship is ruined.1
  6. Pressure to Abandon Children of Previous Relationships. When a parent remarries, it can add new dimensions to relationship conflicts and boundaries.1 The new partner should never make a parent choose between them and their children from a previous partner, seeking priority, especially when it comes to wills, assets, and other end-of-life plans.1 Usually, there is an indication of abandonment if the parent partner doesn’t comply.1 This is a sign of insecurity, entitlement, manipulation, and control.1
  7. Ultimatums and Threats. Healthy relationships have healthy lines of communication. Signaling frustration and resentment, threats and ultimatums attempt to dominate and control the partner.1 This is unhealthy.
  8. Dictating Discussions. Another form of control is directly dictating when a discussion will begin and end.1 A breakdown in communication, it ends up leaving one partner destroyed and sets up a superior/inferior dynamic.1 The healthy way to have a conversation is to discuss the issue when both are ready and can share speaking and listening.1
  9. Cheating. Those who are cheated on feel a personal shortcoming or failure, as they feel their partner had to make up for such by looking outside the relationship.1 Instead of being taken as an issue with the cheating partner, it is looked at as an issue with the partner who was cheated on.1 There is often an underlying interpersonal relationship issue when a partner cheats, and without it being resolved, it may happen again.1
  10. Embarrassment of Your Partner. Resisting introducing your partner to family and friends, avoiding mentioning them in conversations, and speaking negatively about your partner to those who are not close to you are various forms of embarrassment.1 This indicates that you would rather keep your partner away—not with you.1

Of course, there are other issues that are not listed here—these are just the most common. Relationships can become healthy again; however, work needs to be done on both sides and both need to want to save the relationship.1 Couples therapy is a healthy way of learning how to turn the unhealthy relationship around.1

[1] Anonymous. (2013). 10 Signs You May Be in an Unhealthy Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 9, 2013, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationships-balance/2013/12/02/10-signs-you-may-be-in-an-unhealthy-relationship/

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