So how do you spot an unhealthy relationship? What does an unhealthy relationship look like? What is the characteristic of an unhealthy relationship? You probably might think this is a dumb question. Well, it isn’t. I have seen many who mistake humiliation and control for love. They go like “Well, he loves me, that’s why he controls me!”…stuff like that. You can just imagine. There are many out there who still believe that getting beat up is still an expression of love. Just the same way there are certain characteristics that define a healthy relationship, there are characteristics that are peculiar to unhealthy relationships. The moment you spot these in your relationship, just know that you are in an unhealthy relationship.
This is one of the extreme signs of an unhealthy relationship. For some, this appears much later but for some, it is almost instantly. Whichever the case is, physical abuse is not healthy in any way. The moment your partner starts to abuse you physically, it is time to take off and run for dear life. There are all kinds of abuse but physical abuse is the extreme. It shows that you no longer have value in any way to your partner and you are as good as dead. The stories we read of those who murder their partners always start from physical abuses. This is therefore not something to joke with. If you are an in a relationship where physical happens, then it’s time to call it quits. If you can’t by yourself, then you need to get help. Do not keep silent about it or buy that crap of “Its love that made him or her do it”. Get out in a hurry.
An unhealthy relationship is characterized by control from at least one of the partners. Control is when your partner wants to always suppress you. Control is when your partner uses gimmicks that look like love to make you do things you would rather not do. Control is when your partner manipulates you to favor their selfish desires. When you are under control, you are not in charge! Your needs are secondary and you feel trapped. This is a more subtle characteristic of an unhealthy relationship and trust me, it is deadly. There is no how you will feel fulfilled or joyful with a controlling partner. You either get out or get frustrated, except in situations where the partner involved is ready to make amends.
Disrespect and Humiliation
Does your opinion count in your relationship? Does your feelings matter at all? Does your partner do things to hurt your feelings and doesn’t even care if you are hurt or not? You know there is a difference between doing something unknowingly to hurt someone and apologizing for it afterwards and doing something deliberately and refusing to apologize afterwards. The latter is a picture of disrespect and humiliation. This characteristic of unhealthy relationship leaves you feeling useless and worthless and it takes a lot of energy to tell yourself you are worthy. A disrespectful partner mostly don’t know how to hide, they always reveal themselves sooner or later so they shouldn’t be hard for you to fish out. My advice is to refuse to be disrespected and humiliated. If you are not married, the relationship is not worth your energy but if you are, then it’s time find a way to handle this situation before you get frustrated.
What does an unhealthy relationship look like? In most unhealthy relationships, there is nothing like healthy communication. A healthy communication involves talking and listening. It involves caring about the plight of the other. It involves compromise and giving apologies where necessary. In an unhealthy relationship, it is more of word competition – everyone wants to win the argument. It is mostly arguments that lead to fight and more fight. In such relationships, malice could go on for days and there is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness gives rise to bitterness and strife which engenders hate and all kinds of trouble which leads relationships to abrupt ends. There is no how a relationship can work without healthy communication. No matter how bad it is, there should be a way of communicating. One of the signs of incompatibility with your partner is the inability for you two to communicate without arguing all the time.
Little or No Intimacy
People who are in love with each other should naturally be intimate. When intimacy wanes, when there is no romance in relationships, then it is a sign of sickness in such relationship. This is one characteristic of an unhealthy relationship that shows up early. This is why the moment there is disagreement in a relationship, the first thing that suffers is intimacy. There is nothing bad with having some days when everyone is not cool with each other but when it is prolonged, then there is a problem. When there is no intimacy and your partner is not even concerned or bothered, there is trouble. You definitely need to find out what it is by asking questions. The answers should guide you in making proper decisions.
Competition is another characteristic of an unhealthy relationship that can be easily spotted between couples who have problems. If you find yourself competing to be heard, loved, respected and treated well, then there is problem. It is an offshoot of insecurity that probably developed out of low self-esteem. If you or your partner is secure, then there will be no reason to compete for anything. Anyone is free to be who they want to be or do what they want to do; that should not affect your mood or make you feel oppressed. Where love exists, competition ceases. If your partner competes with you for everything, it is a bad sign. It shows that the person is insecure. It is left for you to judge how bad the insecurity is and how far you are willing to go to tolerate that.
Inability to Forgive
Have you found out that it was so easy for you to overlook everything your partner or spouse did wrong when you were in the heights of love? Yeah, love is that strong. Finding it hard to forgive your partner is a characteristic of an unhealthy relationship. It shows that love is missing. It is so easy to forgive those we are in love with. This is why the Bible said “Love covers a multitude of evil” If your partner finds it hard to forgive you, there is a problem and if you find it hard to forgive your partner, then there is a problem.