This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
In an unhealthy relationship, you may believe your feelings don’t matter. You might feel like you should know how to handle things by yourself. Reaching out to your partner for emotional support doesn’t feel natural.
Balancing your own feelings and needs is an important part of every healthy relationship. It’s important to consider your feelings alongside the feelings of people you love. Wanting to protect people in your care community from unhappy feelings is natural, but if it’s at the expense of advocating for yourself, your relationship becomes unhealthy and draining rather than healthy and supportive.
3 Signs You’re in an Unhealthy Relationship
Being mindful of your peace and how to protect it, allows you to coordinate protection with other people in a mutually beneficial way. Communicating your deepest desires, feelings, core needs, and beliefs to someone is how you explore yourself and grow. In healthy relationships, we become more of ourselves because it’s safe to discover who we are.
First Sign: You Lack Vulnerability
Expressing feelings can feel like a burden, especially if you’re considering how it might make someone else feel. You may tell yourself it’s easier to absorb your feelings rather than share them. Maybe you convince yourself your partner will be happier, and therefore you will be, if you’re not burdening them with feelings and needs.
Whether your discomfort is due to your partner’s behavior or your own past experiences, it’s unhealthy. Relationship health takes into account the way all parties interact. If you’re not comfortable sharing your feelings, your relationship needs some work. Vulnerability is an important part of connecting. When you stop being vulnerable, you block a connection to your partner.
Unhealthy relationships are simply sick relationships. With the right tools and attention, they can often be made well again. Being unable to openly express your feelings and needs that stem from them, allows other people to choose which needs they’re going to address in us. This can result in a lot of unmet needs, resentment, and confusion.
Second Sign: You Don’t Have a Plan
A plan isn’t specifically about getting married, having kids, or what you’ll be doing in 5 years. Those things can be included in the plan, but a relationship plan is really about how you’re going to have your relationship.
You are two growing beings. People are always changing. You will learn something new about yourself every single day if you notice the lesson. Learning new things means people grow and change. Our lives ebb and flow.
A plan for a relationship is established by talking openly about how you want to grow as an individual in your life. What kinds of things do you dream about? Where do you want to go? Have quarterly or biannual check-ins to share your life changes, goals, and aspirations. Maintain openness about each others needs. Knowing that each person is a growing human with hopes, dreams, and aspirations makes the growth ahead easier to navigate.
Third Sign: You Have Secretly Unmet Needs
The most obvious sign of a healthy relationship is met needs. For people to meet your needs there needs to be a mutual exchange of information.
Choosing to genuinely and authentically express your feelings and needs causes three things to happen:
- You validate yourself, taking an initial stand in protecting your peace.
- You demonstrate to your partner which feelings and needs are important.
- You take back control of assigning your own self-worth.
Unmet needs indicate an unhealthy relationship, either someone is not expressing their needs or someone is not caring about the needs expressed. You are the best judge to say if you have unmet needs. It’s not realistic to expect your partner to meet all of your needs, but when you have a plan for how you’re going to have your relationship, you can easily identify which needs are met by being in a romantic relationship.
Communication Creates Healthy Relationships
Waiting to see which of your feelings are addressed by your partner can become a sort of litmus test to your self-worth. Choosing which feelings and needs require attention and speaking openly about it, allows you to determine what’s important. You also get to determine if the people in your care community are willing and able to address you feelings and needs. Not all unhealthy relationships become healthy again. The health of a relationship will depend on the participation of those involved.
You decide who is worthy of your vulnerability and then make a plan to share it. You know you’re in a safe place when you can let your partner know what you need. Communication gives people a chance to correct their behavior.
Unhealthy Communication Leads to Unmet Needs
Communication is the most powerful tool you have in coordinating the protection of your peace and the safety of your relationships. Allowing all of the natural feelings—negative or positive—to arise and get resolved in an authentic way deepens the connection between two people. A healthy relationship does have conflict, but the conflicts are handled intentionally.
Your wants and needs change all the time and so do the wants and needs of the people in your care community. Giving people a chance to solidify their position or reinvent themselves right in front of you communicates that you’re a safe place for fluid communication and adapt to changing needs.
Taking an assertive position for yourself leads to your interactions with other people holding less emotional weight. You know you feelings matter and that you deserve someone worthy of your vulnerability.
Using a relationship check-in can help you and your partner develop a plan to build a happier, healthier relationship.