Every relationship has its ups and downs. But how long does a relationship have to be down, or how down does it have to get before your relationship is labeled as unhealthy or in serious trouble?
Bear in mind that there are many reasons why people stay in a relationship.
Some people stay because they are happy and they love their partner. These people maintain the relationship because they want to.
Other people stay in a relationship because they feel they should stay. They feel a moral or religious obligation to maintain the relationship.
Still other people stay in a relationship because they feel they have to. They are worried about what might happen if they leave their partner. They stay to avoid the effects on children or the financial and social (reactions from friends and family) costs of ending the relationship.
All three reasons are equally important for why people maintain a relationship.
Nonetheless, there are four sure signs that your relationship is in serious trouble. One or two of these signs may not mean that you should leave your relationship. Instead it indicates that your relationship has serious issues that need attention.
If you are in an unhealthy relationship, I encourage you to consult a therapist or other health professional to assist you.
1. Cold, Angry and Full of Conflict.
Do you and your partner say mean or cruel remarks about each other in front of your children, your family or your friends? Have the malicious comments to each other gotten worse over time? All relationships have their problems and times of conflict. But as you think about your relationship or home life together, if you would describe it as generally cold, angry and conflicted, then you are in an unhealthy relationship. Studies show that an unhealthy relationship is one where the negative feelings or experiences outweigh the positives.
2. Partner Support.
If you had a medical scare, a career change or lost your job/good friend, would you want support from just about anyone but your partner? Studies show that an unhealthy relationship is one where in times of trouble, you would prefer to get help from anyone but your partner.
3. Don’t Go Home.
Are you staying away from home because you don’t want to be there or with your partner? Sometimes people have to work late or have many commitments outside the home. But if you are working late or increasing your obligations outside the home because you don’t like being at home or with your partner, then you are in an unhealthy relationship.
4. Can’t Say I Love You Anymore.
Are you unable to say “I love you” anymore to your partner? We all go through times where we may not like our partner for what they have done or said. We may not even want to say “I love you” loud and clear. But, in the end, an unhealthy relationship is one where we can’t say the words to our partner anymore at any time.
Dr. Terri Orbuch, The Love Doctor, is a psychologist, Oakland University professor, and research professor at The University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research. Dr. Orbuch is also the host of The Love Doctor radio program on VoiceAmerica (Mondays 11 a.m. EST). Her Love Doctor Relationship Segments are aired weekly on Fox TV-Detroit.