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Take Flight With These 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Updated on October 20, 2019
curiousdestiny profile image

I've been through too many failed relationships and finally found the one. I enjoy writing about relationships and spiritual connection.

While some people are lucky enough to fall in love with their first boyfriend or girlfriend and end up marrying them and living happily ever after, most of us do not belong in that fairytale. Regardless of the fact that some are just more fortunate when it comes to romance or some are magnets to the wrong ones, it is still crucial to learn about toxic relationships because knowledge is power.

Whether you know of someone or are in an unhealthy relationship, this post aims to give some insight into toxic love and hopefully help you or your friend in getting out of one.

What defines an unhealthy relationship? Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to have some physical abuse or death threats. It’s as simple as being unhappy with someone. This is the core reason for a relationship to be categorized as unhealthy. We, as humans, connect with others and build relationships because it brings happiness. Anything other than that should be steered away from.

Unhappiness from an unhealthy relationship may be caused by many things but all fall within the three types of abuse that could occur in a relationship: physical, mental and emotional abuse. Cheating, lying, hiding, manipulation, possessiveness, control are the common reasons that make someone unhappy in a relationship.

Signs of a couple unhealthy relationship

While there are many, many signs of an unhealthy love relationship, we will focus on the most common and crucial ten.

1. Manipulation

This form of control that occurs very subtly is perhaps the most deadly trait in a relationship and should send anyone running for the hills. When a partner tries to influence you to make decisions or actions that you wouldn’t otherwise do, that’s manipulation.

Giving you the silent treatment if you cross your partner or guilt-tripping you so that you would do something that you aren’t comfortable with or hurting you and then trying to make amends through gifts and flowery apologies are all methods of manipulation.

Another form of manipulation is when your partner makes you feel like everything is your fault, even when they were in the wrong. If you feel like you are responsible for their happiness and must, in turn, bend your personal beliefs and standards, then you are being manipulated.

2. Lack of communication

We all know that communication is key to making any relationship work, therefore, the lack of it is already a warning that something is not right.

Communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and this includes being able to talk about the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Being in a relationship where you feel like there are topics you cannot talk about or it’s like you’re walking on eggshells when you try to communicate with your partner is a very unhealthy situation to be in. The lack of communication leads to misunderstandings which could lead to far worse things.

3. Dishonesty

Why be in a relationship without trust? Seriously. If you have to question everything your partner says or doubts their explanations and excuses, then that right there is a red flag.

Imagine your relationship as a building that you want to construct. When there is lying and hiding in a relationship, that building not only lies on a foundation that doesn’t exist, but even its bricks are imaginary. You might think, “What’s the point?” and you’re absolutely right.

4. Disrespect

Another no-brainer sign that a relationship isn’t a healthy one is the presence of disrespect. A relationship is made up of two equal partners that respect, understand and love each other. If one of the partners sees the other as a slave or someone that could be manipulated and controlled, then that is not a relationship.

Signs of disrespect can include name-calling, breaking promises and boundaries and constantly criticizing the other partner’s choices and looking down on him or her as if they are of an inferior race.

5. Jealousy

Jealousy is tricky when it comes to romantic relationships because both healthy and toxic relationships need jealousy. The best way to maintain healthy amounts of jealousy in a relationship is through moderation because after all, too much of anything is bad for you.

The relationship becomes unhealthy when there are constant and excessive amounts of jealousy. Once you feel like you cannot breathe because your partner is always green with jelly that no explanation, logical or illogical, can get through their brains, then you are in a toxic situation.

The wrong type of jealousy can also occur when your partner tries to make you feel jealous. They might give you the reason that “they want to know if you really care about them or if you are capable of feeling”, but those are really just excuses because why purposefully hurt the ones you love?

6. Isolation

A new relationship may have this tendency of isolation wherein you want to spend every waking second with your partner but if this becomes a regular thing to the point that your friends, family, and loved ones don’t know if you are still alive, then something is wrong. Isolation is a tactic that an abusive partner uses to increase their power and control over you and the relationship.

7. Criticism

A form of emotional and verbal abuse is destructive criticism. If you feel like you are constantly under a microscope with your partner watching your every move and waiting for you to mess up so that they can judge you, that, my friend is a toxic relationship. Too much criticism will tear down someone’s morale which is the opposite of what a healthy relationship should do.

8. Dependence

Your world should not revolve around your partner. You are still your own person with your own identity. It is two individuals that make up a healthy relationship, not a nucleus with an electron stuck in its magnetic field.

If you have no ounce of independence in your relationship, whether through decision-making, time, emotions, finances, and other matters, then you are in a toxic relationship. You are in a partnership not in an employer-employee relationship.

9. Constant fighting

Fighting well is a sign of a healthy relationship; however, too much fighting with someone going to bed distressed and crying is not on the list.

There is a reason why you and your partner are constantly clashing and couldn’t get along. It means that you guys aren’t compatible and your inner fighter is in survival mode trying to get you out of a bad situation.

10. Controlling behaviour

As mentioned earlier, a relationship is a partnership between two equals and any other things besides that is toxic. You share daily life events with each other and ask for a second opinion on decision-making because of love. When you feel like you have to report every action to your partner or can’t decide on anything on your own for fear of negative reactions or consequences, that is domestic violence in the form of controlling behavior.

Unhealthy relationship quotes

There are people who break you down by just being them

They need not do anything


— Malebo Sephodi

Losing will not always amount to a loss, sometimes you have to lose those toxic relationships and bad habits to create a space for better things.

— Gift Gugu Mona

Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.

— John Mark Green

Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.

— Deborah Reber

Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny

— Steve Maraboli

A relationship without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.


Too many warnings, too much negativity, too many red flags, too many times your gut-feel is telling you to walk away is your heart, body, mind, and soul telling you that you are in a toxic relationship. If you find yourself having to make numerous compromises and even having to convince yourself that your partner isn’t all that bad, take that as a sign that you deserve better than to be stuck in a toxic cycle.

The good news is that it is possible to run or at least to walk away. When you search “unhealthy relationships” online or even ask a friend or expert about it, you will always be directed to an escape. It’s not easy and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight.

The first and most important step in walking away from a relationship that is toxic is realizing and agreeing that you are in one. With that discovery, knowledge, and acceptance comes the power to make baby steps towards freedom.


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