Many people have been in a relationship that was unhealthy at some point throughout their life. It may have taken long for them to realize they were in an unhealthy relationship, or it may have been apparent rather quickly. Some people choose to stay in unhealthy relationships because of love, some are unsure if their relationship is unhealthy, some are scared to leave, and some, of course, do. There are many signs of an unhealthy relationship. Here, we will compare the most common signs of an unhealthy relationship to a healthy one.
#1) They act like the world revolves around them.
Unhealthy relationships can revolve around one person, be it yourself or your partner. The other person’s needs and desires are often unmet. One person will care and focus on themselves while the other remains neglected and on the sidelines. Only one person is important, and the other person’s feelings are usually not considered.
A healthy relationship meets both person’s needs and desires as much as possible. The focus will be on what is best for both people, not just one. Both people’s feelings will be considered, and both people will be cared for.
#2) They do not let you be your own person.
In an unhealthy relationship, one person may not encourage individuality in the other person. One person is often criticized and verbally abused. Thinking differently is normally discouraged, and pressure to agree with the other person occurs regularly. One person’s opinion is often not heard or even crushed against.
In a healthy relationship, there will be respect for each person. Acceptance for someone and who they are will be present. There will not be verbal abuse, and criticisms will be constructive. Each person can voice their opinion and think independently. Being an individual is not discouraged, and pressure to conform is not present.
#3) They are always trying to control you.
One person could be controlling in an unhealthy relationship. The other person is not allowed to have friends or spend their time as they please. Spending time with family or friends can even be forbidden. When the person being controlled is allowed to spend time with others, it is frequently with the controller; if it isn’t, the controlled person must usually justify where they have been and who they have been with.
Healthy relationships allow each partner to spend time away from each other without justification. Each person can have friends if they choose, and families are not shoved aside. Both people will spend time away from each other without fear or guilt.
#4) They leave you out of all the decisions
One person in an unhealthy relationship may make all the decisions. The other person will not get to have any input or may be treated badly if they attempt to contribute to the decision. These decisions may be as insignificant as what to have for dinner, or they may be serious purchases such as a car.
Both people make decisions in a healthy relationship. Each person will contribute in their way to a decision. One person will not make large-scale decisions (or purchases) without discussing them with their partner beforehand. Both people will equally compromise when needed.
#5) You feel like they don’t listen to you.
Communication might be absent in unhealthy relationships. One person may feel that the other does not listen, or talking about their needs, feelings, or desires is unacceptable. One person may even fear that communicating with the other person could lead to physical or verbal abuse such as ridicule, gaslighting etc.
Communication is the backbone of a healthy relationship. Both partners will listen when needed and not ridicule the other person’s feelings, needs, or desires. Neither person fears communication with their partner.
#6) They physically or emotionally abuse you.
Unhealthy relationships sometimes lead to verbal threats or physical abuse. One person may physically injure the other person by hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, or otherwise injuring them. It may only be a verbal threat with no physical injury or, more subtle, like placing a person in a potentially harmful situation. Examples of this would be locking someone out of the house, throwing things around, or driving dangerously while the other person is in the car.
Partners do not physically abuse or threaten each other in a healthy relationship. Tempers may be high at times, but they do not result in psychical injuries, threats, or potential situations for injury.
#7) The abuse you sexually.
Sexual abuse is another sign of an unhealthy relationship. One person may force the other to have intercourse, perform sex acts, or watch and participate in acts of pornography. A partner may withhold sex, be extremely jealous, accuse the other person of cheating without cause, or be violent sexually.
Sex and sexual acts are not forced, cruel, or manipulated for the benefit of one person in a healthy relationship. Both partners understand each other’s sexual desires, respect each other’s decisions about sex, and agree or compromise on what is and is not acceptable. One person will never force the other person to perform any sex act against their will in a healthy relationship.
**If your partner is sexually abusing you, you should find help ASAP!
#8) They neglect your wants and needs.
The last sign of an unhealthy relationship is neglect. Neglect covers things such as physical, emotional, and financial support. It can vary greatly from not allowing a person to see a doctor when needed, not supporting a person emotionally when needed, refusing to work or share financial responsibilities, neglecting a person or their children of food, shelter, or other needs, or using children for one’s gain.
Neglect is not present in a healthy relationship. Everyone’s needs are met and taken care of. Necessities and desires are not withheld on purpose to be hurtful, and children are never used as leverage for personal gain. Both partners will make sure each other is taken care of and healthy as best as possible.
This TED talk can further help you understand and compare the signs of unhealthy and healthy relationships:
There are many signs of an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, they can not all be listed due to the variance of each relationship. These are the basic signs of an unhealthy relationship. As stated, every relationship may vary depending on the severity of the actual situation. Only you can decide if yours is a healthy relationship and whether or not you are happy in it.