What is it that defines a relationship as healthy?
Is it a lack of fighting?
How about how close and in touch with each other as a sign of health?
The very difficult part of knowing if your relationship is unhealthy or not is that the unhealthy version differs in subtle ways that often creep in over time.
What can feel charming and endearing at first can become painful and controlling.
I’ve included links to 3 articles at the bottom of this blogpost. They all list signs of a healthy relationship. If you are questioning your relationship health please take some time to read. There are plenty of articles also on emotional abuse and emotional outbursts worth reading.
What I want to focus on is how easy it is to end up in an unhealthy relationship and wonder how you got there.
Smart, educated, assertive and successful people find themselves in unhealthy and/or abusive relationships.
Please don’t judge yourself or someone else for ending up in an unhealthy relationship.
Let’s say I had a Dad who didn’t pay me much attention. That can leave me longing for attention and I could be easily drawn in to a relationship with someone who “can’t get enough of me”. That can go from sweet and fulfilling to controlling and stifling without even realizing that the shift has happened.
How about jealousy. What may start feeling wonderful, that your partner thinks that you are so attractive that he or she is nervous about other people hitting on you can become both possessiveness and paranoia. Patterns emerge where they don’t trust you and may invasively check your phone, etc.
Humor can go from witty with an edge to sarcastic, belittling and shaming.
All of these transitions, and many more don’t happen overnight.
The second point is that your partner is not the behavior. There may be times where how you interact feels like the healthy way it used to be. This makes it tricky for you to know what to do.
Your partner may want to have a healthy relationship but not know how. They will continue to have times when their desire to control and react in order to try to make you meet their needs and wishes.
Only you can say when enough is enough.
If you are seeing signs of unhealthy behaviors in your relationship I strongly encourage you to take action. See a therapist. End the relationship if appropriate.
Subtle emotional abuse patterns get worse not better if action is not taken.
Here to support you,
Marilyn Orr, The Luv Life Coach
Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is a relationship coach with Luv Life Coaching, passionate about equipping couples with the tools for real and lasting intimacy.
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