(HealthyAccess)- Too many ideas about relationships are informed by our culture. Books, movies and even social media both create and reflect back societal norms about relationships. However, “accepted” and “normal” don’t necessarily equate to “healthy”. It’s no wonder that it’s so hard to tell the difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic one!
To better navigate the health of a relationship, it’s important to first learn what an unhealthy relationship looks like.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Wondering whether a relationship is toxic? Here are 25 tips to help determine the health of a relationship.
- Communication is critical, rather than respectful and constructive.
- We’re discouraged from spending time with our friends or family members.
- One or both partners is regularly jealous.
- We feel drained after spending time with our partners.
- Arguments involve yelling and name-calling.
- We do not trust them (or they do not trust us).
- Conflict is avoided rather than discussed and resolved.
- Our partner doesn’t support our success or personal growth.
- Our partner makes us feel bad about ourselves.
- Our partner shows disrespect to us publicly or privately.
- We’re dishonest about finances in the relationship or make financial decisions without considering our partner.
- The effort to maintain the relationship is one-sided.
- The labor distribution is out of balance, with one person doing more physical and/or emotional labor than the other.
- Our partner never apologizes or accepts accountability for their behavior.
- We feel like we have to walk on eggshells around them.
- We don’t feel safe enough to be vulnerable.
- We don’t feel like we have the opportunity to practice self-care.
- Our partner demands all our time.
- We are frequently given the silent treatment.
- We don’t feel like we can be ourselves around them.
- The relationship is filled with drama and is rarely peaceful.
- We feel like we have to make excuses for their behavior.
- There is an untreated substance abuse issue in the relationship.
- They make their happiness our responsibility.
- Our partners are consistently defensive when we try to bring up a problem.
Of course, there are many more signs of a toxic relationship, but these signs are clear indicators that a relationship that has one or more of these problems is far from healthy.
What to Do If A Relationship is Toxic
Does a toxic relationship mean we need to dump our partners right now and get as far away from them as possible? Not necessarily.
Once it’s apparent that a relationship has become toxic, going to couples’ therapy to address the issues could be helpful. By involving a neutral third party, couples can be guided through discussing and resolving their issues with professional assistance. While people often look at this as a last-ditch effort to save a relationship, it’s actually a great way to maintain the health of one. It shows that the couple are invested in the relationship and willing to talk through challenging times.
Of course, if partners are not willing to confront and address the issues, it may be time to choose Door #2: the exit strategy. It’s not possible to love someone enough to change them, and we cannot fix a relationship single-handedly. In that case, it may be time to put oneself first and leave the toxic relationship behind.
~Here’s to a Happier, Healthier Life!
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