What is the state of your relationship? Are you and your partner on the same page, or are you both reaching for different things? Do you talk to one another? Open up when it counts? Or do you hide things from one another, try to change each other, and avoid the truth entirely? Stop making your partnership out to be something that it isn’t. It’s time for you to take off the blinder and admit that you’re in an unhealthy relationship.
We have to accept reality for what it is.
Falling in love with someone has a strange way of pulling a veil down all around us. We start to see our partners as we want to see them and, within that, we begin to see our relationships as something different from they truly are. It’s important that we remain logical, rational, and reasonable throughout the length of our relationships. This, however, requires that we embrace reality for what it is — rather than what we wished it was.
What is the state of your closest intimate relationship? Do you and your partner get along? Or are your days (and nights) filled with heartache, conflict, and a complete lack of mutual happiness and fulfillment? These are all signs of a relationship that’s unhealthy and unrewarding. Still, though, many of us press on together without accepting these hard truths.
You don’t have to exist with a painful, reductive, dismissive relationship. You don’t have to change or give up parts of who you are to make your partner love you. If you’re here, it’s because you’re ready to accept the truth for yourself. Stop running into the arms of something that makes you miserable and start taking action that can reconnect you with passion. You have every right to be happy, but you will first have to do some honest reckoning.
The 9 signs you're in an unhealthy relationship.
Are you dealing with a relationship that’s harmful to your sense of self, or self-esteem? Unhealthy relationships are everywhere, but we alone have the power to spot the warning signs (and take action to correct them).
Even when we’re in a serious relationship, we are still responsible for our behavior, thoughts, and decisions. Your partner can’t make you lash out or react. They can’t control your thoughts or drive you into something you don’t want to do. You alone are responsible for who you are within a relationship and outside of it. By shifting the blame to your partner, you create an unhealthy, unstable, and therefore off-balance bond that is tough to navigate.
Keeping the walls up
Vulnerability and communication are vital to the healthy relationship. We need to be able to open up to our partners, and we need to know that we’re safe with them. Do you and your partner struggle to communicate? When you open up to your partner, do they dismiss your feelings or make you feel invalidated? These are all classic signs of an unhealthy relationship.
The healthy relationship doesn’t need to keep score, because both partners understand the delicate balance of give-and-take between them. Do you or your partner always bring up issues of the past? And throw old hurts and heartaches in one another’s faces? This keeping score of the past creates a huge divide in our relationships and erodes the sense of trust and security we feel in one another.
Jealousy is a toxic emotion and one that can create serious cracks in our partnerships. While it can result from experiences — more often than not — our jealousy arises from deep-seated insecurities and the painful lessons we’ve etched into our own hearts. When we base our connection around our jealous insecurities, we drive our partners away from us and create an automatic air of betrayal and mistrust.
Manipulation and abuse
Abuse and manipulation — whether it be physical or emotional — is never acceptable and always a sign of a toxically imbalanced partnership. There’s no excuse for putting your hands on someone, and there’s likewise no excuse for injuring them with mental wounds that follow them for years to come. When it comes to this type of relationship, we have to be brutally honest about the reality and our safety too.
Where do your needs fit into your relationship? Do they get prioritized alongside your partner’s? Or do they get dismissed and put on the back-burner in the name of everyone else’s needs? If your partner disrespects you and the things you need from both them and your own life, then you are in an unhealthy relationship that needs to be rebalanced and reconsidered immediately.
Does your partner tend to isolate you? Or do they encourage you to cut your social ties? Perhaps they are jealous of your friends and family, or perhaps they believe that they bring you down. Whatever the reason, it’s never healthy to discourage an outside life. While our partners might have valid reasons for being concerned about our social circles, they should never discourage us from having our own friends or outside existences.
When we love someone we feel very attached to them and can want to be in their personal space all the time. The problem here, however, is that it can cause a total sensory overload for both partners. We need our own space to breathe within a relationship. We need room to explore our interests and room to grow as individuals. Clinginess is not a sign of a healthy relationship. It’s a sign of one suffering from insecurity and instability.
We all hold standards in our relationships. There are standards for our partners, standards for ourselves, and even standards for the quality of life that we establish together. When we fail to align these standards, we find ourselves wanting different things and expecting more than the other person has to give. In order to be on the same page, we need to ensure we’re working to the same standards together.
Steps you can take to protect yourself.
Are you now waking up to discover that your relationship is toxic or less-than-healthy? You don’t have to remain stuck, scared, or otherwise unhappy forever. There are steps you can take to repair your partnership, and the way you see yourself within that relationship.
1. Accept your reality fully
You can’t fix your relationship until you accept it for what it is. Just because your relationship is unhealthy doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed, or that you have to remain in the same place forever. There are steps you can take to correct it, and there are also further steps you can take to protect yourself and your wellbeing. First in this process? Learning how to see and accept the reality of our relationships for what they truly are.
Stop running away from the truth. You need to give yourself some space so you can get a new perspective on your relationship. Detach and imagine that you’re looking at your relationship from a third-party point of view. (Too challenging? Imagine your best friend or a loved one stuck in the exact same relationship.)
When you take a step back, what do you see? When you put your friend or loved one in the same scenario — what do you feel? Be brutally honest with yourself, no matter how slowly you have to move to do so. Pull back the layers of your relationship piece-by-piece and let yourself absorb the truth. Don’t rush. Face reality. How does your partner treat you? Is that the way you want to be treated by your partner? And you…are you becoming a better person by staying in this relationship?
2. Lean into your support systems
No matter how practiced we are at detaching and seeing things from a different angle, it’s impossible to fully pull yourself out of the situation when you’re so emotionally involved. This is when the friends and family that we trust come in to play. They can be an invaluable source of courageand support, but they can also provide us with an entirely different perspective; a perspective which may reveal some unhealthy truths we need to process.
Reach out to friends you know you can trust. Call a loved one and let them know that you need some advice. Tell them what’s going on between you and your partner or spouse. Then, if and when you’re comfortable, ask them what they believe you should do about it.
Listen to their words with kindness and consideration, but understand that this is only guidance. Take what they have to offer and process it within your own understanding. Balance it against your own truths and then piece together the reality that makes the most sense for your authentic happiness. Open up to people who matter and allow them to be the shoulder that you lean on through the rebuilding process.
3. Enhance your inner world
So many of us collapse beneath the weight of our intimate relationships because we forget to reinforce the momentous space that is our inner worlds. Inner worlds are important. They are where we form our beliefs and where we regulate our emotions. Our thoughts live here, but so does our ever-shifting perspective and understanding of the world around us. In order to bolster our strength and reaffirm our place in our relationships, we have to expand this inner world.
Rebuild your self-confidence. Boost your self-esteem and reconnect with your skills and passions like never before. Focus once more on your own personal growth and know that you have a right to become as powerful and fulfilled as your partner or anyone else in this life.
Expand your inner world. Lean into personal space and rebuild your social circles. Branch out and reconnect with your life. Be present in your body and remember what it feels like to have dreams worth chasing again. By making a conscious effort to expand this inner world, you will strengthen yourself and the resolve you have to re-establish yourself within your relationship. You don’t have to remain stuck in someone else’s shadow. Grow a life of your own.
4. Sit your partner down and talk
Whether you decide to stay in your relationship or walk away, you’re going to have to sit down and have a frank conversation. Communication is important at every stage in a relationship, but it becomes especially important when we’re struggling with hardship or a serious clashing of expectations. We have to sit down across from our partners and express what’s going on, as well as how we feel and how we want to proceed next.
Once you’ve realized you’re in an unhealthy relationship (and taken some time to consider how you feel, and how you want to proceed) you have to talk things through with your other half. Find a relatively stress-free time to open up and then do so. Tell them how you’re feeling and why, but avoid and blaming language that could irritate or lead to conflict.
You won’t get all your resolutions in one conversation, so don’t expect everything to be solved in one wash. Instead, prioritize what you need to say and minimize your expectations. After you’ve expressed yourself, leave room for your partner to do the same. It’s okay to compromise, but never allow yourself to fall back into abusive habits and routines. You have a right to a healthy relationship, and you have a right to express how you want to get there.
5. Invite happiness into your life
The reality of your relationship to hand — there is no right or wrong solution you can choose. You can choose to stay and work toward a better future, or you can choose to walk and find something that’s more suited to the life you want to lead. Whatever you decide, the only thing you must ensure is that it aligns to your true definition of happiness. You have a right to be happy and you need to embrace that, whatever else comes next.
Take a stand in the name of your joy. For once, ensure that you’re prioritizing your wellbeing. You don’t have to stay attached to someone who hurts you, or otherwise tries to keep you small. You have a right to establish a life with someone who treats you well and who is striving for the same future.
Don’t allow yourself to put your happiness in the backseat for one more day.Lay claim to your personal space and proudly declare what you need for yourself. If that means walking away and starting someone new — do that.If it means working out your flaws and finding better ways for you and your partner to communicate — do it. Just ensure you’re being honest and that you’re always aligning yourself with things that bring you fulfillment.
Putting it all together…
Building a relationship isn’t always easy to do, and it’s not always easy to see our relationships for what they truly are, either. Try as we might, we can still find ourselves stuck in a partnership that is neither rewarding nor fulfilling. Are you dealing with an unhappy relationship? If so, you’re the only who can get yourself out of it.
Face the reality of your relationship with courage. After all, your partner is not who you want them to be, they are who their behavior and decisions dictate them to be. Be radically honest with yourself and see your relationship for what it is. Open up to people you can trust and see what their perspective has to offer. Then, you can start to expand your inner world and create greater space for you to process your emotions and the steps you want to take next. Sit down and talk to your partner about what’s going on and about what you want to do to correct things. Whether you make the choice to stay or walk away, you’re both going to have to communicate with one another. Above all else, however, remember to do what’s right for you and embrace your right to authentic happiness.
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