Surprising signs your relationship is unhealthy

Surprising signs your relationship is unhealthy

Frequent arguments over spending habits. Jealous comments about the attractive co-worker in your boyfriend’s office. These things may come up so often in your relationship that you just consider them normal.

But a healthy relationship makes you feel good and is one in which you and your partner respect each other, while an unhealthy relationship may cause you to feel unhappy and even fearful for your safety.

It can be hard to know if you are overlooking warning signs of unhealthiness, since every relationship is different. But Dr. Rian Rowles, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., offers the following warning signs that may indicate your relationship could harm you.

  • Jealousy: According to Dr. Rowles, some jealousy in a relationship is normal. “This standard type of jealousy is the kind you experience about superficial things, like being envious of a person’s hair or eyes. But when jealousy revolves around the relationship your partner has with his or her friends or family, that can be more problematic,” he says.
  • Arguing: Disagreeing over who has to decide what restaurant to eat at most likely isn’t a fight to be concerned about. “Arguing in a relationship is to be expected” says Dr. Rowles. “But when it turns into name calling or crosses the line of respectful disagreement, this is a problem.”
  • Technology: As technology creeps deeper and deeper into our lives, it carries the potential to cause harm to any relationship, romantic or otherwise. Dr. Rowles says texting can greatly contribute to unhealthy relationships. “As we all know, too much gets lost in translation with texting. Arguing or discussing emotionally charged topics via text is never a good idea.”
  • Going through the motions: Rowles says this is a common subtle feature that can go unnoticed in relationships. If activities together become mundane and lack a ‘fun’ factor, it may be time to reassess things. “There needs to be enjoyment shared sincerely by both individuals in the relationship, regardless of the activity. Doing something for the sake of saying it was done together just doesn’t cut it,” he says.

Unhealthy aspects of a relationship may be able to be fixed. Keep in mind that the more unhealthy aspects involved in a relationship, the more difficult it can be to change for the better. With the understanding that relationships take work, consider seeking out professional help. Communication issues are one of the primary reasons couples seek out counseling.

But if your relationship causes your safety to be compromised in any way, call 911 if you are in immediate danger, and see domestic violence and sexual assault/abuse resources below:

National Domestic Violence Hotline 
24 hours, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Links individuals to help in their area using a nationwide database that includes detailed information on DV shelters, other emergency shelters, legal advocacy and assistance programs, and social service programs.

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) 
24 hours, 1-800-656-HOPE.
Will automatically transfer the caller to the nearest rape crisis center, anywhere in the nation. It can be used as a last resort if people cannot find a DV shelter. 635-B Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 phone: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) ext. 3 fax: 1-202-544-3556 e-mail: rainnmail@aol.com

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks and playing with her cats.

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