Humans are social creatures and for many of us, our romantic relationships are among the most important, if not the most important, part of our lives. Today, many people feel stuck in relationships, or are involved in relationships that they don’t understand are toxic or otherwise holding the person back. Too often, we would rather be in an unhealthy relationship than be alone, however, this almost dooms us to forever being unhappy as, how can we hope to find a healthy relationship if we’re forever mired in an unhealthy one?
When most people think of a toxic or unhealthy relationship, they think of the obvious, physically abusive relationship. While they are right, this is indeed an unhealthy relationship, it is not the only type of relationship we should try to avoid. What follows are five different types of relationship that end up doing us more harm than good. If these descriptions sound a little too close to your reality, it might be time to think about changing your present circumstances.
The Abusive Partner
This is the relationship type that is most clearly a negative and unhealthy bond to maintain. Abuse takes so many different forms, from more “traditional” physical abuse, to the no-less-painful emotional abuse. When in an abusive relationship, our abusive partner often makes us feel like we deserve the abuse and will not find any sort of happiness elsewhere. This could not be more false. Being alone, but able to meet your personal potential, is much better than being with someone who uses you as a punching bag or person to verbally abuse at will.
Abusive relationships very rarely ever change for the better. Promises otherwise are often just lip service to keep their partner down and under their control. A healthy relationship will never involve abuse. No matter what.
The Controlling Partner
Some people feel the need to constantly be in control of a given situation. This can, in some cases, extend beyond just controlling things into the need to control people too. A controlling partner is one that makes you question your own decision making ability, who makes all your decisions for you, speaks for you, and perhaps, does not even allow you to cultivate your own personality outside of them.
True love is not at all about control and no healthy relationship will involve one person exerting their will over another. Relationships should be seem as a “team sport” in that it is “us versus the world.” This type of relationship values the input and feelings of both partners. Whereas, a controlling relationship is completely in the hands of the controlling party.
The Jealous Partner
Trust is an important, but sadly often missing, element of a healthy relationship. It is difficult to be happy with someone who is always jealous and, it seems, never trusts you or anyone around you. It might seem sweet at first, like your partner wants to “protect” you, but the jealous partner often sees their partner more as property than as the other half of a functioning relationship. With the jealous partner, we are always on our toes, constantly having to explain ourselves, and in many cases, forever apologizing to our friends and family over their behavior.
What seems like the desire to protect, at first, often turns overbearing and can really detract from one’s self-esteem and sense of self.
The Negative Thinker
We all know a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nick,” but being in a relationship with a negative thinker is often something we could do without. At the beginning of a relationship, we might confuse the negative thinker with a realist. However, there is a big difference between a realist and someone who only sees the negative.
Negativity can be contagious and it stands as a barrier towards meaningful, happy, and healthy relationships. The person who can never see something as good without the bad, is likely to be unhappy themselves. Their presence in your life can work to sap your happiness too. When constantly countered with negativity or unpleasantness, you may begin to think negatively yourself, allowing your partner’s mindset to cloud and overtake your own natural inclination.
The Non-Supportive Partner
For some people, a relationship is, like everything else in their life, about competition. When we get our self-worth and feelings of value based on how much better we think we are than other people, we have missed the point of life. Unfortunately, there are many people who have found themselves in a relationship with the “non-supportive partner.”
The non-supportive partner is one that will constantly question any success you have. Sometimes they may act like your success or something positive has come at their expense. It’s almost as though, in your personal success, you are trying to “one up” them. This is an exhausting spiral to be caught in. Our partners are supposed to be our biggest champions. We are supposed to revel in each other’s success and always encourage more positive growth for the future. If your relationship does not have this quality, you might want to reconsider it.
We all know that the abusive partner is one we are better off without, but that is not the only type of relationship we would be better off avoiding. Unhealthy relationships can take many forms that go well beyond the scope of physical or mental abuse. Partners who cut you down, refuse to support you, get jealous of your success or anyone else’s presence, are people that you are better off without.
Being alone might seem like a bad thing, but just think about life in one of these unhealthy relationship types. Is being alone worse than not being trusted? Being mired in constant negativity? Being controlled or even abused all the time? The obvious answer is that no, being alone is most certainly not that bad. When we understand that we have it in our power to get out of unhealthy relationships, or we vow never to be involved in another unhealthy relationship, we are taking a big step towards our future happiness.