Relationships never crumble in a day, it’s a slow fade process and the signs are always clear to the discerning. Often times we choose to ignore the warning lights and clutch at straws in the hope of salvaging what we once had. Psychologist and behavioral expert Honey Langcaster James shares her advice on how to identify if you’re involved in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
1. Your partner treats you much better in public.
Behind closed doors your partner is either rude, grumpy, always busy, emotionally unavailable or even overtly critical and hostile towards you, yet in front of others or outside the home they treat you much better.
This suggests that their image matters more to them than you do, and they know their behavior towards you is wrong. They’re treating you with disrespect when they think they can get away with it.
2. You are preoccupied by thoughts of whether your partner loves you and whether you can trust them
Whilst some people are naturally a little more insecure than others, if you find yourself preoccupied and concerned about your relationship and whether your partner cares for you enough it suggests you are not getting enough emotional nourishment from your partner to help you feel safe and secure.
3. You find yourself ‘snooping’ and going through your partner’s messages
If you feel overly suspicious and concerned that your partner might be hiding something, but talking about things isn’t enough to reassure you, then you may have a trust problem within your relationship.
This might be because of your own insecurity or it might be because your partner is not being appropriately transparent and is giving you cause for concern.
4. You’re told you’re too sensitive or over-dramatic
If you voice concerns but your concerns are frequently invalidated, belittled or even mocked as arising out of your own excessive sensitivity or over-active imagination then this suggests your partner is trying to undermine your faith in your own judgement and perceptions and places more importance on their own opinions and judgements than yours. They may or may not have something to hide, but either way, to undermine your sense of reality or lead you to question your own mind is very damaging for you.
5. Your partner frequently compares you to other women
If your partner makes frequent comparisons between you and his ‘wonderful’ ex or someone else perhaps, like his mother, or a friend’s partner, saying that you should be/think/behave more like them, then this is obviously damaging to your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Your partner should make you feel special, wonderful, and should far more commonly highlight your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
6. You feel as if your partner might abandon you if you do or say something they don’t like
If the continuation of your relationship feels conditional, as if you’ll be punished or cast aside if you fail to measure up, then you will not be able to relax and feel secure in your partner’s presence and instead you’ll feel like you have to perform and keep them happy. This is an uneven power balance within the relationship and it keeps you ‘on your toes’ working hard while your partner holds all the cards.
Eventually you’ll end up exhausted or you’ll put a foot wrong and you’ll be rejected anyway, despite your best efforts, because secretly it’s likely that your partner is either not willing, or is unable to genuinely love you.
7. When something goes well for you, you get the sense your partner is not actually pleased for you
If your partner does not celebrate your successes with you it suggests they are threatened by your development and growth and feel intimidated by it. Whereas a true partner would be genuinely joyful about your success and you would be able to feel their genuine glee and celebrate together.
8. Your partner never apologizes, or only ever says ‘Sorry, but…’
The mark of a healthy relationship is one in which both parties are able to take responsibility for their mistakes and try to repair and make amends. If your partner never apologizes or only ever excuses their own thoughtless words or actions then they are not truly appreciating their impact upon you.
9. Your instincts tell you that something is ‘off’
Sometimes you can’t put your finger on exactly what is going on in your relationship, you just know that it’s leaving you feeling unloved, insecure, suspicious, confused, unfulfilled or simply uncomfortable. Try to figure out the exact moments when you get that sinking feeling in your stomach or find yourself on the back foot trying to work out what’s going on. Trust your instincts, if something feels wrong, then there’s a good chance that it is, for you at least.