What are the warning signs that a relationship is going downhill? Here are things to watch out for in your relationships to determine if you are in an unhealthy situation.
1. During disagreements, you tear each other down (or one of you constantly tears down the other)
Relationships, regardless of the kind, are largely based on respect – how you treat each other, and whether or not you value each other just for being who you are. One major sign of an unhealthy relationship is that one or both of you does not even try to show that they value you. It is a problem if, when the two of you disagree on something, someone immediately starts tearing the other down. Calling them stupid or blaming them for a problem are just a few of the many ways a person can show that they do not value the other person in a relationship.
You do not have to let other people tear you down, especially a friend, family member or significant other. If you constantly feel undervalued and almost feel as though the other person is always picking on you or making you feel bad about yourself, the relationship you are in is unhealthy. Either make an effort to change the way you treat each other or consider possibly getting out of a very emotionally unhealthy situation as quickly and smoothly as you can manage.
2. You are not interested in each other’s life events, thoughts or feelings
Any kind of relationship – friendship; romance; familial – should involve at least some kind of general interest in what the other person is up to. Both sides should genuinely feel as though they are being paid attention to and cared for. A relationship where one person is constantly telling stories about themselves that the other does not really care about is not a healthy relationship. It may be hard to recognize when you are in the middle of it, but if you or the other person are bored when spending time together, that could be a sign you do not need to spend time together anymore.
If you find yourself consistently uninterested in what the other person is saying or what they are doing with their time, their interests, their ideas, even their feelings about you, the relationship is unhealthy. You do not want to maintain a relationship, neither do you have to keep up with one, that does not interest you. On the other hand, if you get the feeling the other person is the one always uninterested in you, you deserve better. It is not that they are always intentionally mistreating you. It could be that they are trying to make it work, but do care about you and do not want to hurt your feelings. Talk it out. Communication is key.
3. You do not rely on each other for emotional support
Two people in a relationship need to always be willing to support each other if the relationship is going to work out in the long term. This includes emotional support. It could be that one or both of you immediately goes to someone else for this kind of support and does not seek any from you, or that one or both of you seeks emotional support from the other person when something is going on, but the other person does not show any signs of giving emotional support. They might not want to listen to you or they might always try to give advice when you did not ask for it.
Learn what it means to give and receive emotional support in a relationship. Learn what you should be doing to give support to someone else, but also understand what you should be receiving in return for the support you give and the support you need. If you cannot provide the emotional support you friend, romantic partner or family member needs, that is a sign of an extremely unhealthy relationship. The same applies if they are unable, or unwilling, to do the same thing for you.
4. You do not feel good when you are with each other
In any kind of relationship, two people should always be working together to effectively build each other up. You can know if a relationship is healthy or not by paying close attention to how you feel when you are around the other person. If you feel happy, fulfilled and excited when they are around, chances are that they genuinely care about you, and you care very much about them.
However, if when you are around them you feel anxious (not in a good way), bored, put down or especially afraid, that is a major sign that you do not need to have a relationship with that person. You should never feel like you have to be around someone who makes you feel unsafe, unloved or uncertain in any way, big or small.
5. One or both of you do not respect the other’s opinions or desires
In any case, no means no. However, if your friend, partner or family member asks you to do something, you say no, and they will not take no for an answer, this is just one of many signs that they do not respect you. They do not respect your opinions, your feelings, your wants or your needs. This is not okay. Anyone who tries to enforce any sort of unfair power over you is not engaging in healthy behavior, and it is not in your best interest to stick around.
There are many signs of a lack of respect in a relationship. Boundaries are another example. Everyone has personal lines they prefer other people not cross, and if another person crosses those lines after being told no, they do not respect you. Keep in mind that respect goes both ways. You have to listen to other people, too. You cannot shoot down their opinions or ignore the things they tell you they want or need. It is not healthy for either of you.