6 Ways to Spot an Unhealthy Relationship

6 Ways To Spot An Unhealthy Relationship

Have you ever felt like you’re trapped in a horrible relationship you can’t seem to end? It’s a scary thing to be stuck in, or to watch someone else suffer through.

Love can take on a very dark turn when you’re in a toxic, unhealthy relationship. Especially one you don’t feel like you can escape. One where you love him so much and can’t bear to let of him (let alone imagine life without him) no matter what your logical, rational mind says.

The heart wants what it wants.

Love is a horrible, dark, life-changing experience when you’re so passionately in love with someone who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated. When you’re in love with someone who doesn’t completely support you. When you’re in love with someone who doesn’t appreciate you or even want what’s best for you.

Someone who makes you unhappy more than they make you happy.

Someone who causes you more pain than pleasure.

Someone who makes you cry and wait by the phone wondering “why????!”

Someone who’s toxic.

Someone who’s addicting but manipulatively charming.

MORE: Video: What Makes Love Last: Establishing Trust

And pretty much everyone falls into this kind of situation at some point in life. We fall in love with someone that turns out to not be a very good person, and all of a sudden we’re stuck in an unhealthy relationship.

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So here are 6 signs that you might be in an unhealthy relationship and should start looking for an exit plan:

Related: 8 Crucial Reasons To Let Go Of Toxic People In Your Life.

1. Fights Are More About Revenge Than Repair

Fights in relationships can start for any number of reasons, but there’s one truth that carries through all of them:

You can either work towards ending the fight and reconciling, or towards taking revenge on your partner for making you angry.

One habit is healthy, and one habit is unhealthy. I’ll let you guess which is which.

If your partner places more importance on hurting you back because you hurt them, that is unhealthy behavior. Love should never be vindictive.

More: End Any Fight With These 5 Simple Steps

2. Generosity Gives Way To Guilt

You like that alliteration in the subheadline up there? Yeah, I bet you do. Alliteration is amazing.

Guilt isn’t. Guilt sucks.

In a healthy and happy relationship, both partners should want to make each other happy. They should want to do things that please the other person and keep them content.

MORE: Subtle Signs Your Relationship Is In Trouble

This is done in a spirit of generosity and openness.

However, a relationship can turn unhealthy very quickly if one or both partners decide that they need to demand what they want, instead of allowing their partner to give it freely.

If one person in a relationship uses guilt to manipulate the other person into doing what they want, that sucks. It just plain sucks. There’s no two ways about it, that behavior is unhealthy.

There are a ton more red flags that you’re in the wrong relationship, you can check them out here.

3. You Try To Change Each Other

You know what the best kind of love is?

It’s when you’re endlessly curious about the other person. It’s when you can’t wait to find out more about them, and the more you know, the more you love.

It’s when you want to make a complete map of the other person and know all their peccadillos, their strange little quirks, and everything else they think about.

You know what a crappy kind of love is?

When one partner decides they don’t like the way the other person is, and tries to change them.

They selfishly decide that they want their partner to be different, to be a different person, and they put their efforts towards changing them, whether the other partner wants to change or not.

That’s crappy. That’s unhealthy. Don’t do that.

Related: The 5 Most Deadly Mistakes That Destroy Relationships

4. Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Goals

This one takes some honesty, and some real reflection.

Think back in your relationship to the times you supported your partner, and the times your partner supported you.

When you think back, whose goals did you work for more? Whose goals came first, and whose goals came second.

MORE: How to Have a Healthy Relationship

Ideally, in a perfect relationship, there would be complete balance between working towards each other’s goals. That’s not totally feasible – it’s impossible for it to be exactly equal – but all things considered you should give both partners a roughly equal split.

But in an unhealthy relationship, one partner’s goals are deemed much more important than the other’s, and there’s no compromise. There’s no shared cooperation.

It’s just both people working towards one person’s goals, and letting the other person’s goals fall by the wayside.

That’s crappy.

5. They Expose Intimate Areas Of The Relationship

Ain’t nobody wants their partner to start talking about the weird stuff they do in bed, or the funny thing they do with their tongue when they’re kissing, or other stuff that you feel comfortable sharing with your partner but not necessarily with your partner’s coworkers.

That’s why it sucks so much when one partner doesn’t protect the privacy of the other and shares details about the relationship that would rather be kept private.

It signals a profound and fundamental lack of respect – and is a bad, bad sign of an unhealthy relationship.

6. They’re Only Generous When They Can Get Something

Like I talked about before, in a relationship that’s full of real love, both partners will want to give each other what they want so that they’ll both be happy.

It’s done in a spirit of generosity, a spirit of joyful sharing of happiness.

That ain’t how it goes down in an unhealthy relationship.

In a lot of unhealthy relationships, one partner will only give if they get something in return. They’ll only do as much for their partner as they can extract from them.

That sucks. That’s not trusting your partner, it’s exploiting them. It’s not true love.

And it’s not healthy.

And listen, if you’re in an unhealthy relationship and it ends, remember: it’s not the end of the world.


Want to find out for sure if you should break up with him? Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Should You Break up With Him” Quiz right now and find out if you should really break up with him…

Take The Quiz: Should You Break up With Him?

In summary…

How To Spot An Unhealthy Relationship

  1. Fights are more about revenge than repair
  2. Generosity gives way to guilt
  3. You try to change each other
  4. Your partner doesn’t support your goals
  5. They expose intimate areas of the relationship
  6. They’re only generous when they can get something

how to spot an unhealthy relationship

28 comments… add one
  • Georgina June 7, 2015, 10:47 am

    Unhealthy relationship are hurting people all the time. If you have a friend that needs to get out of one, you need to step and help her. It is a waste of time and can do mental damage to a person to be in one that might be toxic in many ways.

  • Jackie H. June 7, 2015, 10:28 am

    This is a very good list of things to watch out for. The problem that I have is that I never really know if they are happening to me cause I usually fall head over heels for a guy. That is truly my downfalls with guys.

  • Rudy Jones June 3, 2015, 11:45 am

    I am thinking that if you cannot figure out that you are in an unhealthy relationship based on these signs, you have no chance.

    • V. Elher June 7, 2015, 11:11 am

      You are right about this. I feel bad when I see a person going through tough times, but there is a choice that you can make.

  • Brett L. June 3, 2015, 11:31 am

    An unhealthy relationship is not good for either party. These signs can be very obvious, to people outside the relationship. If you see them, you should be a good friend and let them know. It is the right thing to do!

  • Courtney Wolfer June 2, 2015, 10:55 am

    I have been a part of some of this list and I will tell you that it is more than just unhealthy. Mentally it has ruined the way that I look at men now. It might even keep me single for longer than I would prefer.

  • D. Hanke June 2, 2015, 10:40 am

    Unhealthy relationships happen a lot and most of the time it happens because people do not want to be alone. Guy or girl, you should realize that a relationship with these signs are not worth your time.

  • Pearlina Weber June 1, 2015, 11:45 am

    Unhealthy relationships happen all the time and are likely to happen to you at least 1 time. The key is to take advice from your friends if they voice concerns that you might not be able to see due to the “love” for your partner. Good tips!

  • frankiegirl22 June 1, 2015, 11:29 am

    I have always thought I could spot a bad relationship when my friends are involved, but I am not sure I could spot a bad one if it is mine. These tips are pretty good for keeping your eyes open!

  • Presley May 24, 2015, 11:28 am

    If you see these signs and you are expecting things to “work out” then you are delusional and should be seeing a counselor.

    • Jamie V. June 7, 2015, 11:25 am

      I would have to agree here. Unhealthy relationships are not good for you, for him and for people around you. Get help if you need it.

  • Nealy T. May 24, 2015, 10:56 am

    I have seen these signs before. I thank God all the time that they are not seen in my relationship :)

  • Paul Kessley May 24, 2015, 10:38 am

    I would say that these signs are very easy to spot, but I would not expect everyone to see them. My sister claims she has the best relationship right now, but I see some of these signs and have been trying to point them out. She refuses to see them and in the end, she is the one that is going to be hurt because of that.

  • J. Kohler May 24, 2015, 10:20 am

    Anything can lead to an unhealthy relationship, but these signs are a dead giveaway in my opinion! I always feel like I would be able to see them in my own, but if not, I have learned to take advice from my friends about things like this.

  • B. Lindstomen May 24, 2015, 10:06 am

    This has got to be one of the easiest things for me to spot in a relationship. The reason that some do not see the signs is that they refuse to think they would be in a bad relationship. Sometimes, you just get unlucky.

  • J. Marksman May 24, 2015, 9:50 am

    the sad thing is that people that are on the “outside” looking in will see these signs while those in the relationship are not seeing them at all.

  • Christine W. May 22, 2015, 9:38 pm

    Getting to the point in a relationship that includes LOVE is a great thing. If you are going to be “in love”, why would you want to have a relationship with any of the signs that are outlined here?

  • Gregory Pickle May 22, 2015, 6:51 pm

    The fights that are about revenge are the ones that are the most meaningless and a waste of time, don’t you think? An old girlfriend of mine and I fought like this once in a while and we both knew it was not a good thing.

  • foreveryoung19 May 21, 2015, 10:45 pm

    The bad thing about something like this is that most of the time, the person that is in the bad relationship does not notice the signs of an unhealthy relationship.

    • right May 24, 2015, 11:13 am

      i agree. you are right about this. most people would hate to admit it and that is the main reason they have the “blinders” on.

  • Joshua B. May 18, 2015, 10:51 am

    These are good tips. Things that every person should be watching for IF they are not sure they are with the right person. I have been wondering that myself for a few months now and since the signs are not really pointing that way, I am not sure what to do.

  • P. Lucas May 18, 2015, 10:29 am

    Anytime that I hear a man talk about a private moment in a relationship, I feel they are going to be alone very soon. That is something that needs to stay private and should not be given out like a phone number.

  • Jesse Ebersole May 18, 2015, 9:38 am

    Even though it might seem obvious to some, it is not. Some couples look so happy on the outside and in public, but when they get back to their home, things are very different.

  • Chris Seehaver May 18, 2015, 9:20 am

    A bad relationship is just that, a bad one. If you see these signs, it will not be long before it ends, right?

    • W. Lutzke May 18, 2015, 10:12 am

      If you are in an unhealthy relationship, there are always signs and if you need someone else to point them out that is ok. However, you need to take that advice and move along.

  • Marty May 18, 2015, 9:04 am

    I had a partner that did not support my hobbies the same way that I did for her and that was tough. It left a void in my life because I was not able to talk to her about it, get her reaction to it or even just share something that I thought was worth sharing with someone that I love.

  • William J. May 16, 2015, 4:09 pm

    I have seen a few of these signs when watching my daughter and her boyfriend. Yes, it might not lead to anything negative, plus she isn’t going to listen to me anyways, but at least I have my eyes on them when possible.

    Good advice!

  • Darren W. May 16, 2015, 2:57 pm

    I work with a woman that is always talking about how she can “change her man”, LOL. We all humor her, but we know where the relationship is headed, right?

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