The thing about unhealthy relationships is that you often don’t realize that you’re in one. Below are 6 red flags that could well signal that your relationship isn’t as good for you as it should be.
Of course, we might all exhibit one or two of the following signs, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is all bad. But if more than a couple hit the spot, then it might be time to re-evaluate where you and your partner are heading.
1. You feel worse about yourself since the relationship started.
Good relationships fill you with confidence. The love, respect, and friendship shared between the two of you should make you feel great about yourself, certainly not the opposite.
Sure, it’s natural to have some doubts – you’re only human – but in general, if you feel less positive about yourself in the relationship than you did before you met your current partner, then this is a big alarm bell.
A partner who undermines your self-confidence is practicing a form of abuse. Contrary to what you might believe, abuse doesn’t have to be physical. As much damage can be done by emotional abuse as with physical violence.
2. The affection has gone
Remember when you first met? You couldn’t keep your hands off each other… The flirtation… The little love notes, flowers, spontaneous kisses.
Now, that honeymoon period can’t last forever. But if all affection goes, then something needs to be done about it. Of course, we all need to work at keeping our relationships alive and exciting. And make no mistake, every single relationship goes through its ups and downs, romantically.
Just because yours might be on a downward journey right now doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy. But the ‘down’ times should always be outnumbered by the ‘ups’. So if you can’t remember the last time you held hands, had a cuddle, made eye contact, or even smiled at each other, then perhaps this should be taken as a gentle warning sign.
3. You can’t get his or her attention to talk about the important stuff
If your partner is dismissive of what’s important to you, then this is something that needs to be addressed. Even if it’s something they don’t think is that vital, the fact that you do should be enough for them to give you their attention.
Nothing is more damning to your confidence than someone who won’t acknowledge what matters to you. And not paying attention when you bring up a subject that’s obviously playing on your mind is showing that they don’t actually want to play their part in making you secure in the relationship.
4. You turn to other people for emotional support…
…and not to your partner. OK, so there might be times that your other half isn’t around at the very moment you need to talk, or you need a hug. That’s just how life goes. And we all need the support of our friends and family as well.
But in general, when either of you needs that emotional shoulder to lean on, it should be each other that you turn to, not other people. Feeling unable to open up or be supported by your partner is not a sign of a healthy relationship.
5. Your partner criticizes your body
This is a heinous crime. We’ve all got insecurities about our bodies. You might be sensitive about your weight, your short legs, your thinning hair, your big nose… It doesn’t matter what, we’ve all got bits we don’t love about ourselves.
But the last thing you need from a partner is to make those insecurities worse. And one who actively tries to make you feel even worse about them is NOT a decent person.
Sure, it might be there way of dealing with their own insecurities – blah, blah, blah. But hold on a moment… Do you actually want to be with someone who only makes themselves feel better by making the one they profess to love feel bad?
Big red flag, this one. Good guys (and girls) don’t do this to the person they love. In fact, these people actually find your wobbly bits (and your thinning bits, or your kooky bits) pretty endearing…
6. He or she lies – repeatedly
OK, so we probably all tell little white lies once in a while. But you know, trust is a bit like spider’s silk. One of the strongest things known to man, but it can’t be re-joined once it’s been broken.
Lying, no matter what it’s about, cuts a tiny little way through that thread of spider’s silk trust. And if you keep catching your partner lying to you, pretty soon that silk’s going to be broken – forever.
Lying within a relationship has an incredible power. And it’s not a power that you want or need in a relationship that should be happy and healthy.
Unhealthy relationships have many ‘tells’ that give clues that all is not well. Catching them early can be key to either moving the relationship onto a healthier path, or removing yourself from the partnership altogether. The key is knowing that you’re in one in the first place.