Relationships are supposed to build you up, be super supportive, and make you a better person. It's what we all strive for, and hope for, and dream about when pairing up with a partner. So it can really, truly suck when you realize your relationship is dragging you down. (Cue that sad trombone.)
It can also really take you by surprise. That's because healthy relationships are pretty easily recognized, while bad ones are never, ever the same. "Healthy, happy relationships are where both partners meet each others' physical and emotional needs," says relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman, in an interview with Bustle. "More importantly, there is balance in the relationship. No one feels superior or inferior to the other." Can we all agree that that sounds pretty amazing, and most definitely "good?"
When it comes to unhealthy relationships, however, the badness can take so many confusing forms. If you're being dragged down by your partner, it could be due to cheating, or emotional abuse, or a lack of support. Or maybe it's because your partner is jealous, or mean, or absent. See what I mean? There are so many ways a relationship can be unhealthy, and therefore so many ways it can drag you down. Read on for some of those ways. And here's hoping you both can turn things around, and have a little more of that "good."
1. You Feel Sick All The Time
If you feel insecure or anxious in your romantic relationship, it can really start to affect your health. In fact, research has shown that this feeling of insecurity may boost levels of a stress hormone, and can even lower your immune system, according to Kathleen Doheny on WebMD.com. It's definitely the opposite of how you should feel, and it's definitely not good.
2. Your Blood Pressure Has Seen Better Days
Is your heart constantly pounding from the stress, arguments, or that anxiety I just mentioned? If so, then high blood pressure may not be far behind. "When you’re stressed, your ... heart starts pumping blood faster through your veins to give you energy to deal with that perceived threat," said Marcelina Hardy on BettyConfidential.com. "So, yes, your relationship problems could lead you to suffering from high blood pressure." (Yikes.)
3. Anxiety Is Your Constant Companion
If things aren't going well, if there's a lack trust, or if you don't feel secure, then it makes sense that anxiety might become an issue. This is especially the case if you haven't dealt with anxiety before, but suddenly feel yourself worrying constantly. It truly could be your relationship that's to blame.
4. Communication Is A Struggle
Healthy couples can chat about pretty much anything. And if an argument crops up, it almost always goes smoothly (i.e., no screaming, or blaming, or anything horrible like that). But of course this isn't the case in an unhealthy relationship. "Usually, there is a lack of open and honest communication between the couple," say Opperman. "Trust is lost and conflict often results in anger and finger pointing." Not cool.
5. You Feel Unendingly Jealous
A healthy relationship will feel secure no matter what. Like, a supermodel could walk by and your partner wouldn't bat at an eye. When the relationship isn't secure, however, you might feel this nagging sense of jealousy towards everything and everyone. It's not fun for either party, and it's definitely a sign that things aren't entirely healthy.
6. You Always Feel Blamed
Even if you haven't done anything wrong, your partner has a way of making you feel bad. Whatever the reason may be (unresolved conflicts, lack of trust, etc.), it can really start to drag you down. "Relationships characterized by constant conflict, fighting, and lack of forgiveness are a recipe for disaster," Opperman says. "Unhealthy relationships can literally make you feel drained of energy.
7. That Headache Never Goes Away
Do you guys fight all the time? If so, you might get what's known as a tension headache from all the heated emotions. As Dr. Sylvie Stacy said on Livestrong.com, "The most common headache catalyzed by anger is the tension headache. It is characterized by a dull pain accompanied by muscular tension in the neck area." Take it as a hint that things need to change.
8. You Never Get Any Sleep
Stress can cause all sorts of problems. So even if you don't initially make the connection, your relationship could be why you're always up at night. This often happens when too much stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It's an affect that's truly worth noting.
9. Your Friends Don't Recognize You
Friends are pretty intuitive in that they know immediately when something isn't right. So are yours always casting concerned looks? If so, it could be that your relationship is wearing you out.
10. Going Out Seems Like A Chore
If your partner isn't nice, or loving, or supportive in any way, it can leave you feeling perfectly drained of energy. And as you deal with their negativity, you may find yourself no longer interested in things you used to find fun — like going out, being social, or, you know, leaving the apartment.
11. You No Longer Feel Like Trying
Relationships take a lot of work, and both people need to be willing to put in the effort. So if your partner isn't pulling his or her weight, you may find yourself feeling like giving up. When that happens, it may be time for some serious reflection.
Ask yourself if you truly want to continue in the relationship. If the answer is yes, talk with your partner ASAP. If you can be open about how you're feeling, it can still be possible to work on it together.
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