How Healthy Is Your Relationship? (12 Warning Signs)
If you’re wondering whether there is cause for concern, consider these 12 more common signs:
- You’re fighting a lot. Somehow you never seem to resolve conflicts successfully, which leads to resentment or withdrawal. Counselling may be helpful if you’re in this situation, which can be a sign that something might be wrong in the relationship.
- There’s no equality. In healthy relationships, the opinions, needs and emotions of each person are considered. If you feel there’s an unequal balance of power (e.g. one person makes all the big decisions) or only one of you is happy, it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship.
- You don’t love and accept each other for who you are, or one person feels the need to change to satisfy the other. Couples should love each other regardless of physical appearance, opinions, career choice, etc. Is one of you modifying your lifestyle or values to suit the other? If there is too much compromise from one person, this can lead to a loss of self as well as dependency in the relationship.
- Excessive jealousy or controlling behaviour. Both lack of trust and the inability to allow a partner freedom are major red flags. If you or your partner control each other’s time, finances, or clothing choices, it is a sign of an abusive relationship.
- Someone is secretive or suspicious. Transparency and honesty are crucial for healthy relationships. Are unexpected gifts perceived as a sign of a guilty conscience? Does one of you become defensive when questioned about a particular situation or person? Then something’s up.
- There’s an issue with your sex life. Healthy sexual connections are important for long-lasting relationships. If your sex life is lacking or troubled, it can mean that something in the relationship isn’t right.
- Hypercriticism. Name-calling, ridiculing or humiliating have a major effect on a person’s self-esteem. These are signs of emotional abuse and should not be tolerated.
- You’re spending less time together by choice. Perhaps one of you has started dedicating more time and energy to friends or work, instead of the relationship. Maybe you both appear less interested in spending time together, just the two of you, or doing your usual “couple activities” (e.g. going to your favourite bar). This may be a sign your relationship is not in a great place.
- You’ve stopped talking and sharing. Remember when your partner was the first person you wanted to share your news with? If you feel like one of you is withholding, communicating less or constantly repeating yourself because the other is not paying attention, it may be indicative of a weakened connection.
- You’re often disinterested, indifferent or irritable. Do you feel bored with the relationship? Does your partner often react negatively? This signals there’s a reduced desire for interaction and intimacy, meaning your relationship could benefit from an honest conversation.
- You’re not on the same page. Do you share the same vision for the future, and similar views on financial and family matters and other core issues? If not, this may be an indication that you’re not be headed in the same direction.
- Family and friends don’t support the relationship. If you constantly find yourself defending the relationship, and sense that your loved ones perceive your partner to be the wrong match for you, it might be time to reflect on why that is.
Staying in an unhealthy relationship, or making no attempt to resolve challenges, doesn’t benefit anyone involved. If you can identify with some of the points above, it might be time to have an open conversation with your partner and/or reflect on your own patterns. Individual and/or couples counselling is a great way to begin to start the conversation. There is always the possibility you are both willing to work on your relationship and bring it back to health.
With thanks to Sara Nóbrega for her contribution to this article.
PHOTO: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash