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9 Telltale Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

    According to a survey, 57 percent of couples in unhappy relationships still find their partner attractive. However, those rose-tinted glasses might keep you from finding the love you truly deserve.

    Using these nine signs of an unhealthy relationship, you can ditch those glasses and recognize the truth.

    Check for these unhealthy relationship signs and make a change.

    That way, you can find the loving, healthy relationship you deserve. 

    1. Control with Kindness

    One of the subtler signs of an unhealthy relationship is a partner who controls you with kindness. 

    Manipulation doesn’t always present with violence or fear. Sometimes, people are sneakier than that. They root out your weaknesses (loneliness, low self-esteem) and use it to keep control. 

    For example, a partner could position themselves as the hero in your life. As your go-to person, they’ll make you believe it’s the two of you versus the world. 

    However, that dependence on them for happiness can keep you under their control. 

    Instead, a partner is supposed to make you better and happier without the manipulation. They should want you happy, even if the source of your happiness isn’t them. 

    2. Emotional Blame

    Your partner might also blame you for your emotions. They could claim you’re exaggerating, too sensitive, or making a big deal over nothing. 

    If your partner is an emotional vampire, this is another sign you’re in an unhealthy relationship. 

    You need someone who can support you and empathize with your emotions—instead of blaming you for them. Rather, someone who loves you would want you to have your own feelings.

    An emotional vampire might deflect responsibilities or their part in the relationship. They may even stonewall you when you try to discuss these problems. 

    That deflecting could signal the end of your relationship. You can learn more about how stonewalling ruins relationships and discover how to address the issue.

    3. Clingy Coddling

    Remember, you’re not a hostage. You’re not solely responsible for someone else’s emotional health.

    If your partner is clinging and requires coddling, they could be manipulating you. They may even threaten suicide if you ever left.

    These extremes aren’t signs of love.

    Rather, they’re characteristics of an unhealthy relationship. 

    Your partner might even use jealousy as a way of controlling you. They can make you feel guilty for hanging out with friends, then ask for extra attention to compensate for your absence. 

    This could lead to isolation. Your partner might try to you away from friends and family or make you dependent on their company.

    These are all signs of an unhealthy relationship as well. 

    4. Unspoken Standards

    Your partner might also create unspoken agreements, then use emotional manipulation when you break them. For example:

    You shouldn’t go out without them

    You should come home after school or work

    You shouldn’t hang out with certain people

    You shouldn’t wear certain clothes

    Meanwhile, it’s not a problem if they’re out without you or hanging with certain people.

    These unspoken standards create a power struggle. If you’re experiencing these unspoken expectations, consider it a sign you’re in an unhealthy relationship. 

    5. Slow Shifts

    If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, your partner might also try to change you. They’ll convince you they know what’s best; that they know what you want and need. 

    That includes not wearing the clothes you like or seeing friends when you want to.

    Your partner might turn these choices into negatives. They’ll focus on making you feel worse about who you are. Then, they’ll use that hit to your self-esteem, changing you into who they want you to be.

    You’re no one’s project. In a healthy relationship, your partner would want to build you up.

    Don’t let them tear you down.

    6. Bad Past Relationships

    Does your partner express issues with their past relationships (including ex’s and friends)?

    Their past relationships could show you patterns they’re not capable of a healthy relationship. 

    7. Disregarding Goals

    Remember, a partner should build you up and support your goals. 

    Meanwhile, one of the signs of an unhealthy relationship is a disregard for a partner’s goals. Instead of building you up, your partner might want you dependent on them.

    There’s a difference between helpful advice and using your trust to manipulate your decisions. 

    This keeps you from personal growth. You might even lose yourself in the relationship. 

    Take note if your partner tries to sabotage your success. 

    8. Always Angry

    A short fuse is a dangerous sign of an unhealthy relationship. If someone flies off the handle and gets angry over small issues, consider it a red flag.

    Remember, your mental and physical health is a priority here.

    Your partner may not even direct their anger at you—yet. In some cases, it’s only a matter of time. This unchecked anger could have dangerous consequences. 

    Consider frequent conflicts and arguments signs of an unhealthy relationship. 

    They might seem like small, petty fights at first. However, these are signs for a potential blow out in the future.

    It takes two people to argue, but throwing blame around won’t resolve the issue. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you can act like mature adults to find these resolutions.

    Otherwise, these fights could add a strain to your relationship you can’t heal. 

    9. Emotional Manipulation

    According to this survey, six out of 10 people stay in bad relationships. 

    Emotional manipulation is a trap. Your partner could use guilting and belittling to keep you at your side. They might even convince you that no one else will love you. 

    Don’t confuse “I need you” with “I love you.”

    Instead, remember a healthy relationship needs trust and a balance of power to succeed. Emotional manipulation isn’t a sign of love; it’s a sign there’s an imbalance of power between you. 

    Relationship Red Flags: 9 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

    If you recognize these signs of an unhealthy relationship, it’s time to make a change. Keep an eye out for these relationships red flags.

    That way, you can find the love and happiness you deserve—instead of sticking out a mentally (and possibly physically) unhealthy relationship. 

    Health is a choice. Discover more tips and guides in the Mental Health section of our blog.