Relationships are complicated. If not taken good care of, things have a way of becoming a tangled mess, that are way too complicated to figure out. On the surface, you could be the happiest couple in all the universe, with lovey-dovey declarations to each other, indulging in near-constant PDA on social media and in real life, all the while suffering behind closed doors, or worse, stewing in resentment, hopelessness, and despair.
So you see, appearances can be quite deceiving, when it comes to the couples themselves or their relationship. You just don’t know what’s underneath the surface, and before you know it, you might be headed towards splitsville. What might seem like the perfect picture on the outside, might be all wrong on the inside. It’s like a duck swimming – all calm, serenity externally, while paddling like mad just under the surface of the water.
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The same goes for you too. You may think you’re alright with your partner and where your relationship is at, at this point in time. You’re on cloud nine, thinking that your relationship couldn’t get any better. And in this state, it’s easy to overlook the nagging problems that crop up from time to time. Before long, you’re left wondering what went wrong and how and where.
This is when you need to keep your head right on your shoulders and not let it get lost in the clouds. Intense infatuation and affection and mindless passion are all good, but if you let these blind you, then it’s all downhill from there because you’re unable to see the real issues that might be hindering you from building a healthy, successful relationship. So it’s better if you keep an eye out for hints and signs of a bad relationship, and fix them then and there, before they get worse.
Suggested read: 9 unmistakable signs you’re in a love-hate relationship
Another thing you need to aware of is that big blowouts, out of hand arguments, affairs, unhappiness just don’t come out of the woodwork one fine day. These big signs are precluded by smaller, subtle signs, that, if you miss, can cause big problems sometime down the line.
Know these subtle signs of a bad relationship, and be wary of them. If you do come across these in your own relationship, then address them as soon as they crop up, before they affect and change the very fabric of your relationship.
1. Lack of respect.
Respect, both for your partner and for yourself, is very crucial in a relationship. A lack of respect for you would mean they would dismiss your thoughts, ideas, and even your feelings. That would make you hesitant towards participating actively in the relationship, and nurturing it. When your partner doesn’t respect you and discards your opinions, then what’s the point?
And the second part, respecting yourself, is very important for your own identity. You need to respect yourself enough to stand up for yourself and your ideals, even if it is to your own partner. Taking pride in your own achievements and accomplishments is a way of feeling good about yourself. It’s also about seeing yourself grow up as an individual and see how far you’ve come. So never forget – a lack of respect for self and your partner are red flags that you need to watch out for.
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When do you roll your eyes at someone – with exasperation, derision, or in dismissal? Does your partner roll their eyes at you when you voice your opinions or share your thoughts and concerns with them? Does your partner take you seriously and really listen to you when you’re sharing something with them? Or worse, do they laugh at you? If they’ve done this once or twice, it’s fine. They might be an anomaly. However, if you’ve been subjected to the same derisive snort, exasperated eye roll, or dismissive attitude, then your radar should be going off like crazy.
People who respect you as an individual and a partner do not dismiss your concerns, nor do their express derision, as if you’re not important or your thoughts and suggestions are worthless. If ‘whatever’ seems like a stock answer they give you for anything and everything you try to discuss with them, then this is one of the clear signs of a bad relationship. It’s just on an even keel, and it might not ever become even either.
3. Badmouthing each other.
Does your partner insult you to get even with you or win an argument? Does this happen when you’re not alone? Do they ridicule you or try to demean you, saying things that make you feel about two inches tall? Especially when others are around? If you’re nodding your head in affirmation, then it’s time you took stock of the relationship you’re in, and ask yourself if you deserve it.
There those partners who go around talking about their partner’s ‘inefficiencies’ and ‘inadequacies’ to their friends, as if to make themselves seem the ‘victim,’ who’s been stuck with such a dull person. But by speaking ill of their partner to others, such people are just reassuring themselves that they deserve better, that their partner is not good enough for them. How can a relationship last when all you’re ever going to do is focus on real or perceived inadequacies in your partner and try to convince yourself and others that you got the short end of the stick?
Suggested read: The thorough guide on how to resolve conflicts in your marriage
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Power play and dominance in a relationship can sometimes be too subtle for you to notice. Does your partner have more power in the relationship? Have you noticed a trend where you’re following and doing things that your partner wants you to do, that too in a way that appeals to them? Beware, for there is a serious power imbalance in your relationship.
A happy relationship is a true partnership, where both partners share equal power. Nobody is dominant and nobody is submissive, all the time. You each have your moments of highs and lows in the relationship where you get your way and those when you don’t. If you feel like you’re being dominated or feel like you just don’t have enough control of the relationship, then you need to speak to your partner about it. Sometimes they might be doing it unknowingly. So unless you talk about it, you won’t get a clear picture.
5. Avoiding conflict.
And thereby avoiding resolution to that conflict. Conflicts and arguments are a part and parcel of any relationship. But in the interest of keeping the peace, you might choose to overlook the little things, instead of picking a fight. That’s great. However, what’s not great is that you doing the same thing over and over, justifying that it’s something ‘very little,’ that it doesn’t merit a full blown argument.
However, what you have to understand is that avoiding conflict to keep the peace is a moot exercise, because such seemingly little issues are what flare up into full blown fights. If you let the issues fester, you’ll start resenting your partner, there’s an underlying anger behind everything you do and say to your partner. In the long run, it’s not healthy, nor will it add to your relationship. You’ll just find yourself distanced from your partner, and they’ll have no idea how or if they contributed to that distance.
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Did you know that one of the things that kills a relationship is silence? Yes, the opposite of open communication is silence, and keeping your mouth shut when you should be communicating what’s wrong, is a no-no. Honest communication is key to a successful relationship. It helps you both to open up and create a solid bond. However, if all you ever do is hardly ever talk, like really talk, then the lack of communication will disconnect you to from each other. And soon, you won’t have anything to share with each other at all, because your thoughts and ideas are too far apart to ever gel.
7. Taken for granted.
Being taken for granted by your partner is one of the most common signs of a bad relationship. If your partner takes you for granted all the time, doesn’t reciprocate your gestures, hardly cares for what you think, then that’s a red flag right there, staring you in the face. When you and your partner have fallen into a pattern, it’s very hard to notice even if you are being taken for granted. Learn to take a step back and see if you’re being taken for granted all the time, or it’s a just one-off incident. It’ll definitely open your eyes to the situation at hand, where your partner is being overbearing.
There you go; the subtle signs of a bad relationship that you need to aware of. Know that even the biggest relationship problems had their start with a few seemingly little signs. Be on your guard, for you deserve better.
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