They say that love is blind.
Unfortunately, sometimes, it can make us turn a blind eye to toxic, dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships.
Sometimes, if you’re in a really bad relationship, you can’t quite see the forest for the trees. You might find yourself putting up with things that you never would have dreamt you’d put up with. Maybe even things that you’d tell your girlfriends to run from!
You might be holding out hope that things will get better, “one day”, or always making excuses for terrible behaviour. The sooner you face up to the reality of the situation, though, the sooner you can move forward.
So what are the signs you need to look out for?
1. Physical abuse
If you are in a physically abusive relationship, you need to leave. There is no excuse for your partner to be violent towards you. Ever. It’s really dangerous to stay in this relationship.
Even if they tell you that they are sorry or promise they will change, your safety is always going to be at risk. No matter how much you think you love them, or how much they say they love you, physical abuse is not love.
You need to put a plan in place to get out as soon as possible, and cut off contact.
2. Emotional and verbal abuse
If your partner is constantly putting you down and belittling you and calling you names, you should show him the door!
Other things to look out for are frequent anger, sarcasm, rage, blame, threats and other ways of using words to make you fearful.
Constructive criticism and feedback in a tactful way is fine, but if your partner is crossing the line and being downright abusive, that’s just not on.
3. Possessive and jealous
This can go hand-in-hand with physical and emotional and verbal abuse, but not always. Often, a partner who is possessive and jealous is deeply insecure. It might seem flattering at first, but after a while, it can become exhausting to deal with, especially when their jealousy is misplaced and irrational.
If you find yourself walking on eggshells because you’ve been simply speaking to a member of the opposite sex and you are then accused of being interested in them, this is an unsustainable way of life.
Addiction can come in many guises. It might be alcohol, drugs, gambling or something else. If your partner is addicted to something and is refusing to get help, they are affecting your life, your well-being, and they have ultimately broken your trust.
If you have made a commitment to monogamy with your partner (eg: you are not in an open relationship) and they cheat on you with someone else, it may be time to move on. A lot of couples do recover from infidelity with counseling, but on the other side of the coin many do not. You will know deep in your heart whether or not this is a deal breaker for you.
Cheating isn’t the only form of deception you might encounter. If your partner is lying and hiding things from you, then you have serious trust issues. If you catch them out lying all the time and you find you can’t believe anything they say anymore, what sort of relationship do you really have?
7. You’re being used.
Do you feel like your partner asks you for favours all the time but never reciprocates? Are they spending all your money? Perhaps you only ever have seem to have sex and not spend any romantic time together?
These are signs that your partner is a user and only comes to you when they want something. In a healthy, balanced relationship both partners will selflessly give to one another. It shouldn’t be one-sided.
8. You’re not equal.
If you feel like your entire life revolves around what your partner wants with little or no regard for your wishes, you’re in an unhealthy place. It might feel like you’re in a dictatorship! Healthy relationships are where both partners contribute their perspective and make compromises. If he’s telling you “it’s my way or the highway!”, you should choose the highway!
9. Too much drama.
If your relationship is like a rollercoaster and there are too many highs and too many lows, you need to get off that ride. If the drama llama in your life makes you feel like you are in a soap opera and keeps blowing up issues out of proportions and starting arguments where there don’t need to be any, you should re-evaluate what you are getting out of this relationship.
10. Your goals don’t align.
Couples are always going to disagree on some things, that’s natural. But what if your long term and even short term goals in life don’t sync? You might be new to the relationship, or you might have been together for a while and grown apart, but if you can’t agree on finances, family issues or what you want to do with your lives, you really need to reconsider where your relationship is going.