It can be incredibly frustrating to see someone you care about suffer in an unhealthy relationship.
Why doesn’t she just break up with him?
Can’t he see how toxic she is?
However, it’s different when you’re the one dating someone toxic. Often, your love for the person you once fell in love with can serve as a very strong blindfold that prevents you from seeing what’s in front of you. Your significant other might have been your Mr. or Mrs. Right once, but now things just don’t seem to be working out.
I can’t end it, that’s silly. We’re just going through a rough patch.
Denial is a powerful thing. However, being single is better than being in an unhealthy relationship, and if your significant other (S.O.) isn’t treating you right, you need to reconsider your options. See if you can relate to any of these signs.
Signs That You’re In An Unhealthy Relationship
1. You’ve lost friends
It happens to everyone—you drift apart to someone you were once really close to due to distance, lack of common interest, or some other unavoidable reason. However, an unhealthy relationship can cause you to lose many friends for several entirely different reasons.
One of my friends had a girlfriend who prohibited him from talking to several of his female friends because she had severe trust issues. As a result, he lost contact with a lot of his friends because of his toxic girlfriend, and to his dismay, he had a very small support system when they broke up.
Other times, friends might break it off with you because they can’t handle your S.O.—or perhaps even how you act when you’re with him or her.
Think about it: how many friends did you have before you started dating your partner? How many do you have now? Have you lost any because of the relationship you’re in?
Related: Benefits of Friendship
2. You have to delete innocent texts and e-mails
Do you find yourself having to delete texts or e-mails, not because you did anything wrong, but because you’re afraid of your S.O. misconstruing a totally innocent message?
If you find yourself not only worrying that your partner will hack into your phone or e-mail account, but that he or she will become angry over completely normal messages to your friends and co-workers, you’re in an incredibly unhealthy relationship. A healthy balance of trust and privacy is essential.
3. You’re not happy the majority of the time
This seems obvious, but many people (myself included) confuse their happiness with their longing for the relationship to work. You might say you feel happy with your S.O., but you mean that you feel happy when they’re the person you once fell in love with. These might be two totally different people.
When I say happiness, I mean actual happiness. Do you feel truly happy being in your current relationship the majority of the time? Is it your partner that makes you happy, or is it just the idea of being in a relationship that makes you feel good?
Related: 4 Easy Steps to Happiness
4. He/she constantly cancels plans
I have another friend who always says she’ll be bringing her boyfriend to hang out, but he still has yet to come to my place. Why? Because he constantly backs out on her to do whatever he wants.
Occasionally, plans will fall through. However, if you find yourself making plans on top of plans with your S.O. because you don’t want to feel sad when they inevitably cancel on you, your partner doesn’t value you or your time.
If you find yourself nodding in agreement, you’re in an unhealthy relationship and you need to consider ending it. Think about it: if your S.O. is wishy-washy and can’t commit to a simple hang-out or date, how can you expect him or her to commit to any sort of future with you?
Related: The Power of Positive Thinking
5. Your loved ones don’t approve
Mom knows what she’s talking about. Your family and friends always have your best interests at heart, so even if your love interest isn’t really their type, they’ll be happy as long as you’re being treated right; if the majority of them don’t like your partner, there’s something wrong.
Plus, if your S.O. isn’t trying hard to get along with your family and friends, he/she isn’t giving you the care and dedication you deserve.
When you really care about someone, it can be difficult to think with a clear head. However, an unhealthy relationship is something that can ruin your life, if you let it. Think about it: if you have had to delete innocent texts or e-mails, you’ve lost friends, you’re truly unhappy, your loved ones don’t approve, or you constantly have to reschedule plans, there’s something wrong.
Remember: you deserve someone who appreciates you. Don’t let yourself fall victim to an unhealthy relationship.
Photo by Lau_Lau Chan
Originally published 2/2014 and updated 11/2014.