Unhealthy, Sad Relationships have some general notable characteristics in common. Here are some basic guidelines for reference. They are in alphabetical order only, not order of importance.
Avoidance – Many people in unhealthy relationships simply avoid facing reality. There are many reasons for this. For instance, deep down inside, the people involved may be trying to make themselves appear superior. Or perhaps they don’t want to face the fact that their mates really aren’t who they say they are. For example, Person A might cover up and make excuses for his mate, Person B, who is always late coming home from work and almost always misses family functions. Person A could be trying to avoid reality and make up excuses to cover up an affair that Person B is involved in so that it doesn’t destroy their “perfect image” in everyone’s eyes. Or Person A could be avoiding the fact that Person B is a workaholic.
Burnout – Although many can carry out romance throughout their entire relationships, the actual honeymoon period does have to end, in reality. And those who can keep the “love” fires burning, not 24 / 7 but off and on regularly during their relationship, have better chances of healthier relationships than those who suffer burnout and don’t know where to turn or who turn to unhealthy solutions. In short, every relationship has its highs and lows. During the low times, like maybe when one person begins to feel disillusioned with marriage, or maybe trapped, tired, helpless, depressed or let down, if this person reaches out to unhealthy alternatives, like getting a fake substitution – maybe seeking another mate in secret, getting “high,” or some other negative behavior, once-healthy relationships can suffer. Instead, the couple needs to face issues together; add some new goals to the relationship, do some fun things together more, talk more, etc.
Compatibility Issues – Opposites attract; or do they? Sure it’s great to have some “spice” in your life. But relationships are about getting your needs met – at least on some level. And constant negativity can certainly hinder intimacy. So those who have a difficult time focusing on what attracted them to their mates in the first place can suffer unhealthy, sad relationships, constantly in conflict over issues with which they can’t agree.
Devotional Void – A lack of commitment or ardent love can make for unhappy relationships. Being friends or roommates is one thing. Being committed, loving soul mates is another. Being “in love” 24/7 doesn’t necessarily have to be a requirement, but being in a “loving” committed relationship can make the difference.
Enthusiasm Dwindles – If you don’t add in some spice once in awhile, you can get the same old, same old. Couples caught up in routines can lose that spark of enthusiasm; i.e. zest of life in their relationships if they forget to be spontaneous once in awhile or forget to flavor their relationship with fun, adventure, romance.
Forgiveness Void – No one is perfect. Mistakes are a part of life. Those unwilling or unable to forgive can pretty much count on having more unhealthy relationships over time. Relationships based or growing on anger, spite, disgust, resentment or other negative feelings associated with lack of forgiveness are like wilted flowers. They need tending to or they’ll die.
Guise – Simulated relationships or those under the guise of having a solid, happy relationship are not destined for success, on the whole. Or rather false is as false does, as Forest Gump might say. Pretending wears thin and doesn’t last long.
Harm – Harmful thoughts, words and actions can sure lead to unhealthy relationships. An occasional outbreak during a stressful moment might be considered normal like swearing; i.e. if someone hasn’t been raped, battered (or other sever trauma has occurred) by the other party. However, harmful, violent actions such as those and repeated verbal negativity is abusive and not healthy in relationships – or life.
Indulgence – Instant gratification or indulgence of unhealthy behaviors is a sign of trouble. Grabbing chocolate to satisfy a craving is one thing. Grabbing illicit drugs or another mate in secrecy is another. Yielding to unhealthy temptations and desires is a pathway to unhealthy relationships.
Just say yes – Not being able to draw boundaries or sustain limits is another possible path to sad relationships. For example, if one person in the relationship has a difficult time saying “No” and setting limits, his or her mate could always come in second, third or fourth – – rarely first in the other person’s eyes and agenda. And while it’s fine to take a back seat once in awhile, people make time for priorities and in healthy relationships, both parties feel and share the value of being number one with one another.
Kick the Dog – Kicking the dog, not in a literal sense (although that would be negative, too!) is characteristic of unhealthy relationships. For example, if a person comes home angry and passes this anger on to the dog by kicking it, that is not a healthy release of anger. The unhealthier people are, the unhealthier they generally deal with stress. Help is available.
Lemons – Unhealthy relationships often have at least one party who can’t seem to make lemonade out of life’s lemons. Maybe he or she has the wrong recipe. Or maybe the person is a bad cook. But assistance is needed in this department!
Management Mania – Remember the “Odd Couple?” A super manager personality can ruin an otherwise healthy relationship. Likewise a super sloth can wreak one, too. A little give and take is called for.
“Neverland” – Ever heard something this in an argument, “You never….?” Well trips to Neverland are for Peter Pan. Skip the “always” and “nevers” in arguments and avoid unhealthy relationship issues. It’s rare that someone does or does not do something 100 percent of the time. Memories just seem to fail during opportunistic, stressful episodes sometimes (not always, though!)
Ominous – Bad or ominous feelings, an omen…a feeling deep inside that tells you something is wrong – this often accompanies unhealthy relationships.
Pressure – When one party pressures (or forces) the other to have sex, this is characteristic of an unhealthy relationship.
Questions – Part of communicating is asking and answering questions. If this process causes problems, i.e. even the simplest of questions arouses anger, suspicions, fighting, etc., this is a trait often found with unhealthy relationships. The party who has difficulty answering questions may be hiding something, dealing with control issues or dealing with substance abuse (or other).
Responds Inappropriately – Some characteristics of unhealthy relationships include playing head games, trying to humiliate, using threats, insults or jealousy. These inappropriate responses suggest unhealthy environment between the couple.
Silence – Silence isn’t always golden, as the saying goes. If one person shuns or ignores the other, outside of a solitary or very brief occurrence, this can reflect an unhealthy relationship.
Treatment – If healthcare treatments are being ignored or stopped without the help of a professional; for example, in the case of stopping anti-depressant medication after a severe (negative) episode (like suicide), this can signal an unhealthy relationship. People need to take care of themselves and not leave everything up to their mates in relationships.
Untidy / Unkempt – When one or both partners disregards physical appearance for the duration (long-term, not just for a weekend), this signals an unhealthy relationship. One or both could be abusing substances, for example, or suffering depression.
Verbal Abuse /Violate – When one or both partners use verbal abuse and/or violate or cause harm to the other’s person, personal property, or friends, this is a red flag for an unhealthy relationship. People should respect each other and each other’s property, things and friends. And verbal abuse is not appropriate.
Weapons – Threatening a partner with a weapon, even if it’s a household (or other) item used as a weapon is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
Xerox – A trait of an unhappy relationship can be when a person is copying another, failing to be himself or herself. Some personality disorders are also characterized by this trait that reportedly shows up in a number of unhealthy relationships. And help is available.
Youthful Outlook / Emotions – An energetic, youthful attitude toward life is one thing. Youthful expectations; i.e. outlook, and emotions can be characteristic of unhealthy partners. Growing couples need maturity as they grow together and face adult issues. Childish displays of anger, hostility, selfishness, etc., don’t have much place in healthy, growing partnerships.
Zero – Growing relationships need a foundation. Zero to grow on is difficult to multiply. Got to start somewhere!
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