Let’s talk relationships for a minute. After several years of doing counseling, working with teenagers in a school setting, and now working with women in unexpected pregnancy situations, I have seen a LOT of wonky relationships and it’s a topic that is so important! So here are a few signs your relationship may not be a healthy one:
- You feel pressured.
I was 27 when I started dating this one guy who seemed to have a lot of potential. He sent flowers, he texted me every morning, he called me to say goodnight every night, he wanted to talk about our future and what raising a family with me might look like. The problem was, we’d only been going out for a week! When I told him I was uncomfortable, that the attention felt like too much, he was angry and frustrated, telling me I was wrong and damaged because I wasn’t okay with it.
I get it. This was a pretty tame situation compared to many, but it makes a point that is SUPER important: PRESSURING SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING THEY’RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH IS NEVER OKAY!!!! Okay, I’m done yelling. But seriously! I don’t care who they are–your boyfriend, your boss, your teacher, or your phone provider…Offering new experiences, challenging thought processes, or presenting new ideas is all fine. Pushing someone toward something they have expressed that they are not comfortable with is an enormous red flag! IT IS OKAY TO SAY “NO!” (I guess I wasn’t done yelling. This is important!) The person who won’t respect your “No” is not respecting you or your boundaries.
- You feel needy.
Just like no one should be pressuring you, you shouldn’t have to chase down your relationships. It feels so obvious, but when we’re honest, we’ve probably all done this, at least once. That friend who ghosts you and you have no idea why they suddenly won’t speak to you. The boss who won’t put you on the schedule, but hasn’t fired you and hasn’t given you any explanation about why you have no hours. That guy who won’t call you back, so you call him…and text him…and stalk him on social media because you’re afraid he might be out with someone else.
Part of healthy relationships is having healthy boundaries. If someone has put up a boundary with you, it’s healthy for you to respect it. But boundaries that are soooo big they leave you feeling like you can only come in on their terms? That’s not healthy. It upsets the balance of control in the relationship and leaves you with no say. It can even set you up to be abused.
- You feel afraid.
We know this, but we also know things can happen that keep us in these relationships waaay longer than we should be. I’m not talking about fear of commitment, or fear of opening up, or fear of getting your feelings hurt. I mean, you’re afraid of this person.
If you’re in this kind of relationship, it’s time to take a break from it. I’m not saying that person is necessarily bad, but if you feel pressured, ignored, or afraid of them, there’s either something real in your gut that’s telling you they’re unsafe, or there’s something you need to work on that you’re not going to be able to address if you’re being triggered by that person.
Honestly, I think that last paragraph applies to any of these relationships. I get it. Relationships are hard to figure out, sometimes. And the needs we have can pull us into situations that aren’t always great for us. But no matter who you are, or what experiences you may have had, you never deserve to be pressured, ignored, or afraid. Take some time for yourself and think about the relationships you’re in. If you see some of these warning signs, find someone whose relationships you respect and talk to them about it. It may be time to make some changes.
Check back next week to talk about how to set healthy boundaries in relationships!