Unhealthy relationships make you sick, sad, and insecure – and sometimes you’re blinded to it all. These signs of relationships that aren’t healthy will help you see your problems in a new light.
“The fact is, I had become addicted to David, and now his attention was wavering,” writes Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. “Addiction is the hallmark of every infatuation-based love story. It all begins when the object of your adoration bestows upon you a heady, hallucinogenic dose of something you never even dared admit that you wanted – an emotional speedball, perhaps, of thunderous love and roiling excitement.”
But wait – her addiction gets worse (and then it gets better!). To learn more about Gilbert’s journey away from and towards love, read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. If you find yourself insecure and not confident, read How to Gain Confidence and Create Healthy Relationships.
And, here are seven signs of problems in unhealthy relationships…
7 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
These relationship tips are inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s experience of being addicted to a man, which she describes in Eat Pray Love.
“Soon you start craving that intense attention, with the hungry obsession of any junkie,” Gilbert writes. “When the drug is withheld, you promptly turn sick, crazy and depleted. Next stage finds you skinny and shaking in a corner, certain only that you would sell your soul or rob your neighbors just to have that thing even one more time.”
“Meanwhile, the object of your adoration has become repulsed by you. He looks at you like someone you’ve never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion.”
Gilbert’s relationship wasn’t just unhealthy — it was addictive.
1. Unrealistic expectations of your partner
You think he’ll solve your self-esteem, body image, family, and work problems – not to mention your financial woes and spiritual blockages. You believe the “right relationship” or the “perfect man” will make everything better.
2. A need for instant, constant gratification
You expect him to be around all the time, especially when you need him. You want him to make you happy immediately. You’re using him to make you feel good about yourself; you’re not relating to him as a partner or even a human being (this was what Elizabeth Gilbert was talking about in Eat Pray Love).
This may be a sign of addiction in a love relationship.
3. Dishonesty or omissions of truth
You don’t talk about who you are or what’s really bothering you. You lie about what you want, both to yourself and your partner. This is a problem in love that women often ignore.
4. Compulsive control – an often ignored sign of an unhealthy relationship
You – or he – has to act a certain way, or someone threatens to leave. You both feel trapped in your toxic relationship. You know it’s gone sour and you’re not together voluntarily, but it’s hard to leave…this is an unhealthy relationship sign that people often ignore.
5. Lack of trust – one of the worst problems
You don’t (or can’t) trust each other. You don’t really believe your partner really loves you – and you may not be comfortable with solid love. At some level you know you’re in an unhealthy relationship, but you can’t let go. You need help solving relationship problems, but you don’t know where to start.
6. Social isolation – your relationship is almost a secret
Your friends, family, and coworkers aren’t knit into the fabric in a healthy, loving way. In some addictive relationships, the partners only want to be left alone. This sets the stage for an uncontrollable downward spiral. Some lovers look at social isolation as a sign of love and passion, but it’s really a problem in a love affair.
7. Cycle of pain, betrayal, lies, or blaming
You’re trapped in a cycle of pleasure, pain, disillusionment, blaming, and reconnection. This cycle in an unhealthy relationship repeats itself until one partner breaks finally breaks free – like Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love.
One way to create a healthy relationship is to learn how your spouse gives and receives love. If you’re not sure about this, read Examples of the Five Love Languages.
I welcome your thoughts on these signs of unhealthy relationships. Never do I give advice because I encourage you to listen to that still, small voice! But you may find that writing helps bring clarity and insight to your relationship. So, write away.