If your once perfect relationship is showing signs of becoming unhealthy, you may be tempted to ignore it. But that could end up making the situation worse. Instead, take a moment to understand what is going wrong and find ways to remedy the situation together with your partner. We will list 11 signs that indicate your relationship is becoming unhealthy, then provide some ways for tackling these problems.
A healthy relationship is not necessarily a perfect one, but it does have all the ingredients of one. It looks like this: two people who love each other, communicate well and put each other's needs first. They resolve issues together and respect each other's feelings and opinions at all times. You should notice many of these traits in your own relationship. But as any couple knows, sometimes things get hard to deal with, which is to be expected. However...
11 Signs that indicate your relationship is becoming unhealthy
1. You feel anxiety or fear about being honest with your partner
In a healthy relationship both partners trust each other, so neither of you feel anxious about being open and honest. If you do, however, you may want to examine the situation further to determine if it is something that needs to be addressed. Here are some examples of situations in which honesty may get difficult:
When you have something positive going on that your partner might be jealous of. For example, when a colleague pays you a compliment and your partner is envious or angry. At these times it's important to talk openly with your partner about the situation, letting them know that their feelings are valid. Just try not to be too specific about the details of the event.
2. You feel that your partner is entitled to put you down or punish you for saying or doing something
Trust and honesty are important in a relationship, but so is respect. You should never feel that your partner has the right to make fun of something you say or do in front of others. If you do, then something is wrong with the way you are communicating. To get a better understanding of how people treat each other respectfully, consider reading our article on healthy communication .
3. You ignore your partner's needs and focus only on yourself
We all want to be taken care of sometimes, but in a healthy relationship each partner knows how to meet the other's needs as well as their own. Check in with how your partner is feeling and how they want to be treated, not just what you think they should want. If you are the one failing to communicate, try thinking about how an elderly person would communicate. There are many helpful books on human communication that can help you learn this skill.
4. You break promises or agreements you made together
It's common for people who have had a history of fighting to stop talking or dropping each other off at places that they agreed upon once they have committed themselves to working on their relationship issues together. This is good; it means that both of you understand the importance of keeping promises and making agreements with one another as a team. But it is not a good idea to break those promises or agreements. Make the effort to follow through with whatever you say you will do, no matter what. The moment that you stop doing this, your partner may start to see your words as meaningless and may begin to have doubts about whether or not you are going to stick together in the future.
5. Both of you are passive-aggressive toward each other
Passive-aggression is when someone intentionally avoids communication and then lets their moods make their point for them instead. In a healthy relationship both partners make an effort to communicate what they want and how they feel openly and honestly. They fight fair, and they make an effort to work together to resolve issues. One of the ways this gets communicated is through doing things for each other. The most important thing to remember about healthy communication is that it is a process . It's not something that happens in an instant. If you'd like to read more about this topic, check out our article on communication in relationships .
6. There is a lack of trust between both partners
One way that you can tell whether or not you have trust issues with your partner is by checking up on them unexpectedly with their friends and family members. If they are more concerned with what their partner thinks of them, or if they lie to make their partner happy, you should be concerned. You don't want to feel like you have to "keep up the appearance", which is a sign that your relationship could use some work.
7. You find it difficult to make decisions together
Deciding together can be hard in relationships because one person is often too emotional and the other is unwilling to compromise. If this is happening, you may want to read our article on common relationship problems . When both of you are committed, you are likely to take care of your relationship issues together instead of fighting about them.
8. You stop taking care of your own needs
In order for a healthy relationship to work, both people must take care of their own personal needs as well as each other's. If one of you is not treating yourself well or is constantly complaining about the other, then you may want to consider finding a therapist who specializes in couples counseling.
9. You start to see your partner as a source of problems instead of a source of solutions
Let's face it; sometimes you will go through really tough times and need help from your partner. If you feel that you can't trust your partner to be a source of solutions, then you are undermining your own happiness. Check in with yourself and try to figure out what it is about your partner that makes you see them as a source of problems. Often this is related to past issues or trauma, which may be keeping you from the kind of relationship that will fulfill your needs and make you happy. If this is the case, consider getting help from a therapist who specializes in couples counseling .
10. You feel like a victim of your partner's words or actions
When listening to each other's ideas during conversation, it is important to remember not to attack each other personally. Each partner should make an effort to engage with the topic of conversation, instead of trying to make the other person wrong by attacking their character.
11. Your partner makes you feel like your needs aren't important
When you are in a healthy relationship, your partner should feel just as happy to hear that you got a promotion as they do when you tell them that you scored a goal at work or reached another goal. You shouldn't be the one making all of the concessions or sacrifices. In fact, it is equally important for each of you to know and understand one another's needs and goals in life so that both of you can balance them out.
Combating techniques to deal with an unhealthy relationship
Now that you know what healthy relationships look like, it's time to get specific about how to deal with unhealthy relationships. There are a lot of different ways that people deal with relationship problems, and though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fixing your relationship, there are some common sets of "attitudes" that can be useful when you find yourself in an unhealthy situation.
1. Stop making excuses for your partner's bad behavior
First and foremost, you need to decide whether or not you feel the same affection for your partner that they do for themselves. If their love life is messy or they make unreasonable demands on you, they probably don't treat their own needs well either. You do not have to pay attention to everything they say or do, but it is important that you decide if they really deserve your time and energy.
2. Make sure you set your own boundaries
If you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship that won't budge or change, it can feel like nobody will listen to you or respect your needs. It's a good idea to try setting some specific boundaries for yourself in the relationship, so that when you find yourself having to compromise on something important, you won't feel like a victim.
3. Think about how your partner makes you feel
If you are constantly feeling drained, angry and frustrated, it's time to ask yourself why they are so draining to be around. Many of the unhealthy relationships that people deal with start out as an initial crush that eventually fizzles away. Be sure to analyze your feelings and ask yourself if you were feeling this way before you got involved with a person that wasn't able to give you everything that you needed in a relationship.
4. Don't lie to yourself or to your partner
Sometimes people begin to make excuses and lie to themselves or their partners, especially if they want to avoid having a serious conversation. If you are making excuses for another person's bad behavior and they aren't willing to take responsibility, then you might need to re-evaluate your feelings towards them. If you are finding yourself lying more often, consider speaking with a therapist who specializes in couples counseling .
5. Don't try too hard to rescue the relationship if things aren't working out
It's never easy breaking up with someone that you love, but it's sometimes necessary in order for your own happiness. If your relationship is a source of frustration, but you are afraid to end it for fear of losing the relationship altogether, you might want to consider going to couples counseling with a therapist who specializes in couple's counseling .
6. Discuss your needs and how they can be met
In healthier relationships you should always look for ways that both of your needs can be met. This will give you a chance to talk things out together and keep the lines of communication open between the two of you. When you bring up problems in this way, it is much less likely that either person will feel attacked or their concerns will be overlooked.
7. Don't stay in an unhealthy relationship if you can't find anything to like about your partner
It's okay to have standards and to find fault with your partner. If you are constantly feeling frustrated with them, then it may be time for a serious re-think about the kind of relationship that you are having. It is also normal for people in unhealthy relationships to start wanting their partners more and more as time goes on and things get worse, but this shouldn't be the case if you realize that the person is not good for you.
8. Make sure you are open to change
It's important that you do not view your relationship as a static thing. As the two of you grow and gain new experiences and life skills, you may find that you can meet your needs without being in an unhealthy relationship. If this is the case, it's important to be patient and see if there is any way to mend the damage or make things better in the future.
9. Learn from your mistakes before it's too late
You can never fully recover from a bad relationship until you are able to accept what went wrong and learn from it, even if this means talking about negative things with a therapist. If you are always afraid that you are making the same mistakes with different people and staying in relationships that don't work, it's a good idea to talk about this with a professional.
10. Do not blame yourself for the problems of your partner
If you find yourself feeling frustrated and angry with your partner, it's important to realize that this is not your fault. As much as partners want their partners to understand their emotional issues and needs, there is nothing wrong with asking for space so that you can figure out what is going on with both of you. If you stay invested in people who aren't going to give you what you need, then it will be hard to maintain any meaningful relationships in the future.
11. Don't try to save the other partner
If your partner is unable to help themselves, you shouldn't waste your time trying to rescue them. People have archetypes in their heads about the kind of person they think they are going to be with and the kind of person they think they are not. If your partner doesn't match up with either archetype, it's important that you accept this and give yourself a chance at happiness without them.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider in a healthy relationship. If you are looking for healthy relationships, it's important that you realize that it is never too late to begin learning about how to live happily and become the best version of yourself. The people who will help you the most in this journey are professionals and those who practice relationship therapy . They have been trained to help others with their problems, so even though they may not necessarily understand what is contributing to your problems, they will still be able to provide you with valuable insight into how they cause your misery. If you keep these tips in mind when entering into a new relationship, then you will have an easier time finding someone who fits this description.