Do I Have An Unhealthy Relationship?

Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT

Published 12/09/2020

It’s common to hear that relationships are hard. And they can be. Even healthy relationships come with their fair share of obstacles. This can make it difficult to tell if the problems in your relationship are part of the normal challenges that relationships face or if it’s because you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

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You may find yourself wondering, “Do I have an unhealthy relationship?” You may be frustrated with the situation you are in, or you may feel like the problems are normal, but every once in a while, wonder if you’re wrong about that. This is why it’s helpful to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Healthy Vs. Unhealthy Relationship

The answer to “What is an unhealthy relationship?” isn’t always easy to answer. There are different levels of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

All relationships require work. If you think that your relationship is unhealthy simply because you have to work at it, that’s not necessarily true. Things are not always going to be perfect in a long-term relationship. And once the initial stage of love goes away and some of those warm, fuzzy feelings fade, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s normal. It’s not a sign of trouble in paradise.

But knowing this can also make it difficult to tell when the trouble in your relationship is normal and when it’s a sign of something more.

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Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship

There are many different signs of unhealthy relationships. Some of the most common signs are listed below.

Physical Abuse

Any sign of physical abuse in a relationship is a clear warning sign of an unhealthy relationship. However, it’s not uncommon for victims of abuse to justify their partner’s actions instead of leaving the relationship. This is often due to a lack of confidence (which can also be caused by an abusive relationship).

If you are physically hurt in your relationship or your partner threatens to hurt you, it’s not OK. It’s important in these instances to get help immediately. Your partner may try to convince you that they are sorry, and it was just a one-time instance that won’t happen again, but that’s not always safe to trust. If your partner has physically abused you, it’s helpful to seek outside help in navigating the next steps, whether you want to stay in the relationship or if you’re ready to move on.

Verbal Abuse

If your partner insults you, name calls, or constantly criticizes you, they engage in verbal abuse. While this doesn’t leave any lasting signs that you can see, it is still a form of abuse and an indicator that you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

Just like with physical abuse, it can be tempting to justify harsh words that your partner says to you, but it’s not OK. Verbal abuse can have a negative impact on your mental health, which is dangerous over time.

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Emotional Abuse

Much like verbal abuse, emotional abuse does not leave clear signs to make it easy to identify in a relationship. However, there are many different signs of emotional abuse that you can watch for. This includes things like:

  • Name-calling
  • Placing blame
  • Withholding affection
  • Withholding finances
  • Making demands
  • Shaming
  • Isolation from family and friends

Emotional abuse can be one of the hardest forms of abuse to identify in a relationship. The abuser is usually good at hiding their behavior around others. In addition, the victim is usually either afraid to say anything to anyone, or they believe that they are the cause of the negative behavior.

Extreme Jealousy

It’s normal for partners to get a little jealous if they feel that someone is trying to move in on their significant other. However, there is a difference between a small dose of jealousy and nonstop jealousy over everything. If you can’t have a conversation with another person without your partner questioning you and becoming suspicious of your behavior, it could be a sign that there is a problem.

You may even find that your partner isn’t just jealous of you talking with the opposite sex, but of talking with anyone that isn’t them. They may be jealous of the time that you spend with family or friends.

They Keep Tabs On You All the Time

It’s healthy to have good communication about your plans and expectations. But in an unhealthy relationship, this crosses the line into keeping tabs on the other person. It might be that your partner needs to know where you will be at all times. They may call or text you frequently to find out what you’re doing. Or they may expect—or demand—that you constantly stay in touch with them, so they know exactly what you’re doing.

You’re Walking On Eggshells

Another sign that you’re in an unhealthy relationship is if you have to walk on eggshells all the time. This means that you’re always worried about doing something to upset your partner. You do your best to anticipate what their needs or wants are. You also do your best to make sure you anticipate any problems that could arise for them so you can address them.

If this is how you feel, it’s most likely because your partner has a temper, and you don’t like for them not to be happy because it negatively impacts you through their words or actions.

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You Get Blamed For Everything

Healthy relationships require both partners to take responsibility and provide forgiveness. However, in some unhealthy relationships, one partner blames the other for everything. They are unwilling to admit when they’ve done something wrong. Even when it becomes blatantly obvious that they are wrong, they will refuse to admit it.

When they apologize for something instead of saying “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong,” you may find that they will change their behavior to be extra nice to you for a short amount of time.

Frequent Mood Swings

Dealing with a partner that has frequent mood swings can be difficult. If you feel like you never know what to expect from your partner, it could be a sign of a problem. It can be challenging when you’re in a relationship with someone that swings from a great mood to being angry quickly or for no apparent reason.

You need to realize that you have no control over the mood of your partner. They may try to blame you, but you are not in control of their feelings or actions.

You Don’t Have A Say In Anything

Relationships are all about to give and take. If you always have to give in to what your partner wants, it could be a sign of a problem. If you don’t have any control or say in the relationship, it can be a problem. Even if you don’t feel like it’s a big deal at the moment, it’s still a sign of a potential problem if you’re not able to have a say.

You Just Don’t Feel Right About It

It might be that you don’t know exactly what the problem is, but you just have a feeling that something is not right in the relationship. Maybe some of the red flags listed above triggered you to realize something about your relationship that’s off. Or maybe you just have something in your gut that’s telling you it isn’t a healthy relationship for you to be in.

Sometimes it’s helpful to get an outside perspective on your relationship. You could try talking to a trusted friend or family member to get someone’s thoughts outside of the relationship. Or you may want to talk to a therapist. They can help you gain new insight into your relationship and whether it’s healthy or not.

Am I In An Unhealthy Relationship?

If you’re reading this article, likely, you are at least slightly wondering, “Is my relationship unhealthy?” There may be signs that you’ve noticed that have made you doubt the health of your relationship or wonder if the problems are legitimate or just in your mind.

If you can identify with the red flags and warning signs above, it can be an indicator that you’re in an unhealthy relationship. You can also take this relationship quiz to determine the health of your current one.

Do I Have An Unhealthy Relationship?

It’s common to hear that relationships are hard. And they are. Even healthy relationships come with their fair share of obstacles. This can make it difficult to tell if the problems in your relationship are part of the normal challenges that relationships face or if it’s because you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

You may find yourself wondering, “Do I have an unhealthy relationship?” You may be frustrated with the situation you’re in, or you may feel like the problems are normal, but every once in a while, wonder if you’re wrong about that. This is why it’s helpful to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Source: pexels.com

What Do I Do Now?

If you have realized that you aren’t in a healthy relationship, you have some options. You can choose to end your relationship, or you can choose to work on your current relationship. However, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you must create space to protect yourself before taking any other steps.

If you decide that you want to improve your relationship, it can be helpful to talk to your partner about any of the red flags you’re noticing. If you want to work on your relationship, it’s also important that you look at your actions and behaviors to see if there are any areas you need to address. Creating a healthy relationship involves work from both partners.

If you have realized that you aren’t in a healthy relationship, you have some options. You can choose to end your relationship, or you can choose to work on your current relationship. However, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you must create space to protect yourself before taking any other steps.

If you decide that you want to improve your relationship, it can be helpful to talk to your partner about any of the red flags you’re noticing. If you want to work on your relationship, it’s also important that you look at your actions and behaviors to see if there are any areas you need to address. Creating a healthy relationship involves work from both partners.