A healthy relationship involves a deep connection between two people who inspire, believe, respect, accept, and love one another unconditionally. On the other hand, the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship could be just the opposite.
In an unhealthy relationship, you may find yourself constantly entangled in problems, and fulfilling your ambitions may feel like a distant dream. Hence, holding on to an unhealthy relationship could be toxic. It’s wise to identify any red flags in your relationship and move on to a better direction for your life.
Keep reading to learn about some warning signs of an unhealthy relationship so that you can identify them better in your love life or that of another.
20 Characteristics Of An Unhealthy Relationship
If your partner is manipulative and makes you do things you don’t want to, you should be concerned. Manipulation can be done in elusive and passive-aggressive ways. For instance, your partner may try to influence or force you into something by ignoring or not talking to you do not do what they want to.
Does your partner keep you away from your friends or family? Or do they always know who you are meeting or talking to? That’s a sign of controlling behavior, which is unhealthy. Isolating yourself from loved ones and depending solely on your significant other hampers your individuality and may affect you emotionally, as well.
When your partner belittles you or passes negative remarks about you or your loved ones, it is a worrisome sign. A loving partner would not trash talk or ridicule you despite knowing that it makes you unhappy. And if they do that often, you may probably experience low self-esteem. and other emotional distress.
Narcissist partners may try to control you and make you feel guilty. A guilt trip could pull you into a dark zone of emotions where you think you are wrong when you are not. It is one of the signs of being in a toxic relationship. If you are blamed for your significant other’s disappointment, anger, or personal issues, every now and then, you are probably in an unhealthy relationship.
5. Not having boundaries
Healthy relationships have respectable boundaries, such as respect for individuality of the partner to behave and express themselves, such as preferences, expression of ideas, that maintain transparency. Inner work and relationship coach Myles Scott explains, “Boundaries are easily one of the most important aspects in successful relationships. Without them, we can’t protect what we need in order to fill our own cups and we’ll end up creating the very same draining relationship we wanted to avoid.”
“Boundaries are one of the greatest acts of love because we’re saying, ’I care about you and let’s set this boundary so that we truly have the best possibility of working out. The test of a solid relationship is knowing that true compatibility can only be found at the intersection of both partners’ boundaries.”
6. Lack of trust
Jealousy has its limits. Suppose your partner becomes so possessive that they monitor your actions and accuse you of infidelity, then your loyalty is being questioned. A happy relationship is built on the foundation of trust, while an unhealthy relationship is rife with suspicion.
7. No clarity
Where is your relationship going? Do you want to marry and make a beautiful family? Or are you in a casual relationship that has no aim? If your relationship is aimlessly drifting and there is no serious commitment from your partner, then you are not in the right place.
Incompatibility is a feature of an unbalanced relationship. When two partners constantly disagree on almost every matter, including finance, intimacy, or family, the relationship would not last long. Forcing yourself to stay in such a relationship can affect you emotionally.
Two people who love each other ideally want to spend most of their time together. But if that continues and either of you become too dependent on your partner, it becomes difficult to move ahead. A balanced relationship is where you support and love each other, rather than finding happiness only in the partner’s presence. One should strive to be in an interdependent relationship and not in a codependent one.
10. Lack of communication
No or little communication between partners may result in misunderstandings and wrong assumptions. Conflicts could give rise to blame-game and anger. Your relationship could gradually be brimming with self-doubt, criticism, and clashes. Eventually, you would be left only with negativity and an unhealthy relationship.
11. High expectations
Unreasonably high expectations from your partner are not healthy for a romantic bond. Do not raise your expectations so high that you would be disheartened later. In any case, let your partner know what you expect from them and the relationship so that they can decide if they are up for it.
12. Competitive behavior
Partners in love should support and not compete against one another. Competition with respect to money, property, career, and other elements could invite insecurities and damage your relationship. If your partner looks at you as a rival or you want to defeat them or outperform them, then you are not in a healthy relationship.
Physical abuse, emotional abuse, or any other form of abuse makes the relationship harmful and leaves a person in stress physically and mentally. An abusive relationship causes severe damages, including altering your personality and hindering judgment. With time, it can break you down, resulting in adverse consequences.
If your partner has betrayed you once, they can probably do it again. Cheating is a warning sign in a relationship. If you know your partner is flirting behind your back, and yet you forgive them, then you are not in a sound relationship.
15. Lack of emotional intimacy
The bond becomes stronger with trust and commitment. But when these traits disappear, the relationship turns void. If the couple lives like roommates, they are not living a happy life. Partners should feel worthy and loved.
Scott says, “Inability to say, ‘sorry, I was wrong” is also a sign of unhealthy relationship. Being able to acknowledge and take responsibility for your own stuff is a sign of emotional maturity. When someone acts out from a wounded internal place, it’s important that they catch it as quickly as possible. The longer it takes to say sorry, the stronger the grip of the ego.”
Love should be both gentle and strong. But the feelings should not be so extreme or overwhelming that you are tied up with strings of obligation.
Obsession can also be translated as love-bombing. Scott, who is also a writer and speaker, observes, “When someone is love-bombing, they’re declaring their love for you very quickly and very suddenly. They may be wrapped up in the emotional high of the infatuation and try to rope you in fast. They may use language like, ‘You’re my everything,’ ‘You complete me,’ or ‘I can’t live without you.’”
“This is also a pattern for those who have a fear of abandonment and try to secure relational safety quickly before their fears are made manifest. In many cases, this actually leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy as this type of behavior can push people away, subsequently creating a scenario in which they could feel rejected or abandoned anyway.”
17. Lack of mutual respect
Mutual respect is the partners understanding each other’s boundaries and supporting their values. It is an attribute that has the power to make your relationship everlasting. But if either of you disrespects (inside or outside the house) the other, the bond becomes fragile. Not supporting and disrespecting each other makes the relationship toxic and could even shatter your individuality.
18. Too many disagreements
When both partners have conflicting views on essential life elements, it becomes difficult to row the boat of the relationship smoothly. Quarreling every day, not compromising, and not coming to a mutual agreement may hamper your relationship, and even push it to the edge.
19. Conditions and restrictions
Does your partner want you to fulfill all their demands? Do they impose conditions and restrictions on you? If your partner is threatening you, not caring about you, and pressuring you, then you are with the wrong person. A loving partner will hold your hands. And if they don’t, you should think about moving out of such an unhealthy relationship.
20. Lack of self-awareness/no desire to grow as a person
According to Scott, “People get stagnant when they stop learning and growing. Life starts to blend from one monotonous day to the next. When people get stagnant, so too does the relationship. There is always something to learn, especially about ourselves. Relationships are the greatest teachers because our reflection is constantly being mirrored back to us. However, if we choose not to learn from our relationships and our triggers, we won’t make progress and a divide will be created instead.”
If your relationship is taking a toll on you and you are more sad than happy with your partner, it might be time to reassess these characteristics of an unhealthy relationship and take some action. If your partner is manipulating you or there is a lack of communication between the two of you, you can either talk to your partner and try working on the relationship or straight up walk out of the relationship if there are traits of abuse involved. Walking away from the relationship can be a hard decision. Therefore, it is imperative that you share your emotions with your friends and family and not isolate yourself.
- Your relationship may be unhealthy when you feel manipulated or when you are always on a guilt trip due to constant ridiculing.
- Your partner keeps away from your family and friends and there’s some form of tension in the relationship.
- Lack of communication leading to misunderstanding and emotional neglect may make you feel alone even though you have a partner.