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  • Dr. Teresa Edwards, LMFT

Red Flags of an Unhealthy Relationship

We all desire to have good relationships, especially with our significant other. Every relationship has problems, so sometimes it can be hard to tell if the relationship is a good one with normal problems or an unhealthy one with problems that are destructive. Here are five signs that the relationship you're in may not be a healthy one.

Toxic and unhealthy relationships

Unhealthy Relationship Signs:

1. You don't feel free to be yourself.

If you're afraid to be yourself in your relationship or feel that you have to be something you're not to please the other person, then the relationship is going to have problems. Hiding who you are to fit into a relationship doesn't work. It's impossible to have a real relationship if you're not being the real you.

2. You are afraid to bring up issues.

A healthy relationship is one in which you feel safe to share what you think, express your desires, bring up issues of concern, and discuss differences. If you don't feel safe to talk to your partner, then the relationship is not a safe one.

3. Your partner does not apologize or admit when they are wrong.

A strong relationship requires both people to have enough humility to take responsibility for the part they play in problems and apologize to the other person. Relationships are two sided. Both people play a part in creating and maintaining problems, and both people need to play a part in fixing problems.

4. Your partner does not validate your thoughts or feelings.

Invalidation is a destructive pattern that occurs when a partner subtly or directly puts down the thoughts, feelings, or character of the other person. This pattern erodes the feeling of safety in the relationship and makes it hard for both partners to feel known and understood.

5. Fights quickly escalate out of control.

Escalation occurs when partners react negatively toward each other, using criticism, defensiveness, or contempt to up the ante so that the situation continues to get worse. It leads to anger and frustration, and makes it impossible for couples to truly resolve issues.

If you notice any of these patterns in your relationship, it may be time to talk to a therapist individually or together as a couple. Problems left unattended don't resolve themselves and it's better to deal with an issue as quickly as possible before resentment and frustration build up.

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