What does an unhealthy relationship feel like? Is this normal or is it toxic? Are we just in a rut or is my life going to be like this forever?
Being in an unhealthy relationship often feels normal
I entered the apartment after a long day of work. My boyfriend was on his computer playing video games like he always did. I changed out of my work clothes and started making myself something to eat. He had already eaten, he always ate before I got home.
After dinner I pulled open my laptop and watched YouTube videos until I felt tired. I brushed my teeth, washed my face and headed off to bed. He’d join me probably around 3 or 4 in the morning, i’d already be fast asleep.
This went on for months.
Why didn’t I go over and say hi? Why didn’t I bring him a snack or ask him to watch a movie with me? Well, because I had done that many times before only to be rejected because he was “busy” or needed some “time to himself”.
It wasn’t always like this, of course not. Unhealthy relationships don’t start unhealthy or we’d be long gone before we’ve met the parents or allowed an extra toothbrush in the bathroom.
Unhealthy relationships are really just good relationships that became unhealthy over time.
The above story was my normal.
Anyone looking in can see that this was not good for either of us but for me it just felt like we were going through a hard time. The truth is you should never let a relationship go this far down the hole of despair and if it happens, it’s really difficult to get out of the permanent rut.
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
#1 – You question your relationship
I remember being at work one day and thinking to myself “do I love my boyfriend?” This was a sign. People in happy relationships don’t question who they’re with. They might not necessarily know if the person is the one or if they will be together forever but they know that it feels good right now.
It should always feel pretty good, even in tough times you should be trying to get through them together.
#2 – You talk about your relationship a lot
This is a byproduct of the first sign. We talk about things that are on our mind. If you find yourself bringing up negative things that your boyfriend has done and your friends are tired of hearing it, this is a sign.
As soon as I started dating someone that actually made me happy, I found I had a lot less to talk about.
No one wants to hear stories that go, “he made me dinner and then we watched a really funny movie.”
Happiness isn’t juicy gossip. It’s boring.
#3 – You don’t like his personality
It seems like an obvious one but it’s not, you really need to think about this one.
Nobody really acts like themselves when they first start dating.
If you’ve been seeing your boyfriend for less than 6 months, that’s not the real him, that’s the real him on “nice steroids” and the steroids wear off. In the first few months of dating we are more patient, tolerant, giving, the list goes on and on.
Then flaws and not-so-perfect personality traits slowly get revealed. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to love every little thing about him, but you absolutely must be able to tolerate everything about him – and don’t expect him to change.
You have to ask yourself, can I live with this personality trait? Can I put up with it forever? I used to think to myself “If I had a son who became exactly like his dad, would I be proud of him?”. The answer with my ex was NO!
This is a huge sign that I just ignored.
When you’re thinking about your boyfriend’s personality and analyzing whether or not you can put up with it forever, DO NOT think about how he was in the beginning. Think about how he is now. That’s the real him.
#4 – You’re jealous of other relationships
Do you see happy couples on Facebook and it feels like a tiny punch to the gut? Do you see them on Instagram and wish that you could trade lives?
A healthy relationship feels really good – it’s rewarding, you feel loved, you feel supported. Why would you want to trade a life like this? If you’re looking longingly at other relationships it’s worth looking inward and seeing what might be wrong.
Seeing a photo of a happy couple having a picnic on the beach shouldn’t turn up thoughts like “I wish I had a guy like him”, it should be “I should ask the BF if he wants to do that this weekend”.
#5 – He doesn’t bring out your best self
I’ve heard many of my friends say things like “I’m no saint, I yell at him too”. Or “I call him names also”. NO. Just no. Why do you feel the need to act this way when you’re around him? You should be your best self around your significant other most of the time. He should inspire you to be a better person, not a bitch.
We all get angry, we all have disagreements or down days but you should be able to go months and months at a time without feeling the need to throw a hissy fit to get your point across. You shouldn’t spend your days constantly feeling angry or crying about something he did, or keeps doing.
If someone were to videotape the way you act around him when you’re alone, would you be proud of your behaviour? If the answer is “no” on a regular basis, that is a sign.
#6 – You bicker a lot – AKA He “Just annoys you”
He left his boxers on the bathroom floor AGAIN. He put an empty milk jug back in the fridge, WHY? If little things are setting you off and you’re constantly bickering, it’s because it’s not about any of the little things.
It’s about the big things that you’re tired of talking about. It’s a result of months or years of resentment for issues that have gone unsolved.
If the bickering is happening at home that’s one thing but if it starts coming out when you’re out with friends our out in public. This is a big gigantic NEON SIGN. Your friends should never see you bickering. If you are in a state of constant annoyance and you can’t help but make snarky comments when you’re out together – this is very unhealthy behaviour.
#7 – You’re depressed
If you struggle with depression and have struggled with it before you entered this relationship, this one might not apply to you. However, if you’re like me and have fairly stable mental health and this is changing, or if your normal depressive bouts are getting worse, this is a giant wake up call.
When I was in an unhealthy relationship, I started having serious panic attacks – something I had never experienced in my entire life. When did these panic attacks happen? When I was being ignored by my boyfriend or if we had just gotten into another big fight.
They didn’t happen because of work, friends, no – it was clear what was bothering me.
Another way to describe this is if your heart feels heavy. That sounds abstract but if you feel like you are carrying a weight on your shoulders, like something is holding you down, or like there is a giant cloud wrapped around you, it could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
Listen to your body, it will tell you if something is wrong.
Listening to your gut can be one of the most difficult things to do. Despite of this, you need to try and look inward and try to hear what your body is telling you.
Do you feel anxious when you go on a date because you’re afraid you’ll start arguing?
Do you come home in a great mood because you just nailed that work presentation only to have your mood killed by your boyfriend? Pay close attention to how your body responds to being around certain people. It can be the best way to determine whether or not you should be spending your time with that person.
Maybe we’re just in a rut?
Yes, maybe. You could just be going through a hard time but when I was in an unhealthy relationship, I wasn’t experiencing just one or two of the signs listed above –
I experienced all of them.
At the same time.
If you’re in a relationship that is presenting these signs to you – remember, you deserve a better life than this. There is someone out there that will actually make you happy. The person you are with could be an amazing partner and a wonderful human being but he might not be the one for you.
Stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and start trying to find someone that makes you happy.
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