The last thing anyone in a relationship wants to think about is if it is healthy or not. Couples and even friends would rather ignore flaws to better appreciate the good parts of a relationship. The biggest things that define the health of a relationship are possessiveness, trust, and, of course, abuse.
One of the most common factors in an unhealthy relationship is possessiveness. While your significant other getting jealous about your friends may seem really cute, there is a point where the line must be drawn. If your significant other wants you to spend all your time with them and does what they can to sabotage any other activities or relationships that would take time away from them, it is likely the relationship is on the unhealthy side of possessive. Tumblr user “littlemousling” summarized possessiveness well in a post:
Totally cool: “Hey, do you want to be exclusive?”
Red flag: “No one but me is allowed to touch you.”
Totally cool: “It makes me feel weird when you flirt with other people, can we talk about that?”
Red flag: “If you loved me, you would stop being friends with them. You KNOW it makes me jealous.”
Totally cool: “I hope we’re together forever. I’m so in this for the long haul.”
Red flag: “If you ever left me, I would kill myself.”
Totally cool: “Your mom is really unkind to me, can we try to minimize how often you bring me when you visit her?”
Red flag: “Your mom hates me, you need to stop talking to her. She’s trying to ruin our relationship.”
Totally cool: “I love you so much, oh my god.”
Red flag: “It’s a good thing I love you so much, because no one else would. You’d be alone forever without me.” ‘
Other important red flags to keep in mind: someone who wants to jump into emotional/financial co-dependence very fast (like moving in together right away, or becoming each other’s only confidantes right away) and won’t take no for an answer; someone who tries to minimize how often you leave the house or interact with other people; someone who threatens you or themselves or your family or pets or possessions or financial future; someone who uses guilt to keep you from leaving a relationship.
Very important reminder: You do not need a reason to leave a relationship. Neither does the other person (or people). A relationship is over when one of the people in it says it’s over, period. Obviously it’s kind to take the end of a long relationship seriously, but abusers and manipulators have lost the right to that conversation. Lie if you need to–your safety is much more important than their feelings.
Trust your instincts!
In littlemousling’s post, the third red flag is an excellent example of emotional manipulation, which isn’t’ healthy. Many people could feel trapped in a relationship because of the mental health of the other person. If your significant other, or friend, threatens to commit suicide or hurt themselves if you leave them, don’t listen. They are purposefully making it remarkably difficult for you to leave them because of the fear that if anything happens to them, you could be blamed. First thing to realize is that nothing they do to themselves is your fault. It is also important to know that if all of your energy is being used to try to help your friend or SO, it can be unhealthy for you. In situations like this, the most important thing is to take care of yourself. If you believe that doing so could cause them to hurt themselves, try to get them help. Talk to a counselor and follow guidance given for a friend who might try to hurt themselves.
Many people will say the most important aspect of a relationship is trust. If you feel like you can’t trust your partner, maybe it should be discussed. If your partner doesn’t trust you, the same action should be taken. One website has a list of qualities of distrust that can take a toll on a relationship. (Link to website will be below).
- Do you fight with your partner every time they return late home?
- Do you keep checking your partner’s Facebook account and quarrel if other boy/girl flirts with them online?
- Do you start coughing if your partner talks or helps some other girl?
- Do you keep checking call log and messages of your partner?
- Do you keep accusing your partner of lying or hiding things from you?
- Do you loathe any new friends your partner makes?
- Do you feel low when you call your partner and phone is engaged?
- Do you keep accusing them of giving you less time?
- Do you feel whatever you do for your partner is not being valued enough?
- Have you ever faked some action to make your partner be with you or just to get more care?
- Do you often manipulate arguments just to prove something to him/her?
Each of the items on this list can be harmful to both members of the relationship. If any of these are occurring, it is time to consider discussing it with your partner. If you are truly devoted to each other, it will be worth it to make changes to stay together in a healthy relationship.
Abusive relationships are a sensitive topic. It is important to learn to recognize them early and deal with them. Hopefully, you will never need to know the characteristics of abuse for yourself, but it could be good to know them to help out a friend. There are several different kinds of abuse, all of which can be present in a relationship of any kind. The main categories are emotional, physical, and sexual. Earlier on, emotional abuse was defined a bit. It is anything that your partner does to alter your emotional state in a negative way. Physical abuse is fairly straightforward. Anything that could leave a physical mark or that affects your body. Sexual abuse can happen even in a relationship where consensual sex already occurs. Any unwanted sexual actions constitute as rape. Keep your eyes out for signs of abuse listed below to help yourself and others. Keep in mind: abuse is not gendered. Any form of abuse can be happening to any member of the relationship, man or woman.
The main signs of abuse are:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
- Go along with everything their partner says and does.
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
People who are being physically abused may:
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.”
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).
People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
- Rarely go out in public without their partner.
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.
People who are being emotionally abused may:
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.
People who are being financially abused may:
- Have limited access to money or credit cards.
- Have their spending tightly monitored and restricted by their partner.
- Worry excessively about how their partner will react to what are commonly thought of as simple, everyday purchases.
link to Tumblr post:
Signs of Abuse Link:
“Is My Relationship Healthy” Quiz: