Romantic relationships can be difficult, fulfilling, complicated, intense, bitter, burdening or stimulating — each of these things separately or all of them together.
Still, the most important thing about each relationship is whether or not it makes us happy and if it is significant to us.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that there are too many people who would stay in a relationship even if it is not healthy or successful. The major reason for this is usually the lack of courage to cut the cord with someone who is not for them mainly because they fear loneliness.
But as people think differently and have a different level of tolerance to problems and misunderstandings how can one say whether or not their relationship is normal. Should we wait until the moment things go out of control, and we start having fierce fights that include name-calling with our partner or stop talking with each other at all? Or are there more subtle signs of a toxic relationship that could tell us at an early stage that the relationship is not on the right track?
Here is the opinion of a licensed marriage and family therapist, which she shared with Bustle.
“These are all signs that something is bothering you about your relationship,” she says. “Maybe it’s true that this person isn’t the right match for you, but maybe you just have gotten used to an unhealthy relationship dynamic, and this is the way it’s showing up in your life.”
Here is why we consulted the opinion of several relationship experts and made a list of 5 subtle signs your relationship is unhealthy and you might need to reconsider things:
1. You fear your partner’s moods and reactions.
Feeling afraid of the behavior of your partner and therefore having to pay attention to what you say or do is one of the most telltale signs something between you and your significant other is not okay.
“This could be a sign that your partner has some anger management problems, or it could be a sign that the two of you simply need to get some help figuring out how to manage your differences in a healthy way,” McManus explains. “It is possible to disagree with your partner without this leading to a major argument, but if you find yourself always trying to avoid triggering your partner’s disapproval or anger, you will probably need some professional help to learn how to change this unhealthy dynamic.”
2. There’s too much drama in your relationship.
If your partner is always unhappy about even the most trivial things and makes a fuss about any insignificant situation, there’s a high chance the relationship is an unhealthy one. Couples are supposed to be living in calm and tranquility making each other happy not the other way round.
“Many couples thrive on high theatrics — screaming, accusations, hands, and words flying,” psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, MD, author of the book The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity, explained to Reader’s Digest.
He also adds that:
“As long as there are no physical assaults, or so long as the words are not hateful or contemptuous, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many couples like this are considered high expressers, says Dr. Haltzman, and they often report better sex lives than more mellow couples. But, and it’s a big but, their divorce rates are higher.”
3. He or she cannot forgive or forget the bad things.
“The relationship scorecard develops over time because one or both people in a relationship use past wrongdoings in order to try and justify current righteousness. This is a double-whammy of ‘suckage,’” says the author and blogger Mark Mason, quoted by Reader’s Digest. “Not only are you deflecting the current issue, but you’re ginning up guilt and bitterness from the past to manipulate your partner into feeling wrong in the present.”
So, if your partner is not willing to be tolerant of your flaws and mistakes and instead of talking issues through with you they are constantly bringing up unsolved problems from the past, you’d better reconsider your relationship with them. That is the least possible way to build happiness with anyone.
4. They don’t respect your boundaries.
We all have personal space as well as own understanding of things, and situations and these perceptions determine our tolerance and boundaries. One of the crucial elements of a healthy relationship is the respect our partner has for our point of view and boundaries.
That’s why if you notice that he or she often acts disrespectfully to your opinion and doesn’t take into consideration what is acceptable for you and what is not, this is a red flag.
Here are a few examples of crossing boundaries provided by Independent and given by Lisa Aronson Fontes, a psychologist who wrote the book Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship:
- “You have said you do not want to go further sexually and they insist.”
- “You say you are not available on Sunday, but they push you to see them.”
- “You are not ready to have them meet your family members or friends, but they push you.”
- “They push you to date exclusively before you are ready.”
- “They want to move in or get married or set up a bank account before you want.”
- “They try to change the way you wear your hair or your clothes or anything else about you that feels like ‘you,’ and it makes you uncomfortable.”
5. They treat you and others badly and you try to justify their behavior.
Here is the opinion of Perpetua Neo, a psychologist and expert in toxic relationships who created the Detox Your Heart program provided by Independent:
“So even if they do something bad or say something that’s off, you may think, ‘He’s only this way because he went through X.’ This is when ticking boxes of ‘Is he rude to the waiter?’ ‘Is he nice to his family members?’ doesn’t work. He could be all that — the sleekest toxic people are.”
Hopefully, you and your partner don’t have these issues because you maintain a happy and healthy relationship.
However, if you notice some or all of these problems, you might need to have a serious conversation with your significant other and even ask professional help as things between you two might not be on the right track.