Call 1300 096 269 for counselling support

What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?

Are you in a relationship that just doesn’t feel right? Perhaps it started out fine but things have deteriorated? Or maybe you had a bad feeling from the very beginning but hoped it would improve. These could be signs you’re in an unhealthy relationship.


How do I know I’m in an unhealthy relationship?

Here are some key signs of an unhealthy relationship.


Your partner doesn’t support you (but demands your undivided attention)

In a healthy relationship, you want your partner to be the best they can be. You support each other equally and provide space for them to pursue their passions. If you don’t feel supported in your relationship, then it’s a warning sign that it may not be healthy. And if your partner needs constant reassurance or wants you to drop everything for them (but wouldn’t do the same thing for you), then it may be time to rethink your relationship.


Your partner tries to control you

You might initially think it’s sweet that your partner wants to know where you are all the time but the novelty soon wears off. Partners who want to know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with at all times is controlling. If they get angry when you don’t do what they say, then it could be a sign of an abusive relationship so be wary if this starts happening to you.


You don’t feel respected

Whether it’s in public or in private, if your partner says derogatory and humiliating things about you, it’s a sign they don’t respect you. These sorts of put-downs can be subtle but the important thing is about how it makes you feel. If it bothers you when your partner always makes jokes at your expense, make sure you tell them. If they don’t stop, it can be a sign you’re in a bad relationship and you might need to rethink your future.


Your partner gets jealous

Imagine you get a text from a co-worker, or you’re giggling about a joke in a group chat with your friends. If your partner jumps to the wrong conclusion and accuses you of flirting or worse, then it is a warning sign. A partner who is jealous of your friendships and relationships can erode a relationship. Jealousy implies they don’t trust you, which is a core foundation of a good relationship.


Your partner doesn’t make you happy

Spending time with your partner should lift you up. It should make you happy most of the time, and thinking about them should make you smile. If you feel drained when you spend time with your partner and constantly feel as though you’re walking on eggshells, it’s a sign that your relationship isn’t healthy.


Your partner hurts you

If your partner pushes, hits, or makes you do things you don’t want to do, that’s abuse. If you think you’re in an abusive relationship, please get some help. Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for advice and get support.


What should I do if I’m in an unhealthy relationship?

In a healthy relationship, you should feel respected and safe. For an unhealthy relationship to improve, you both need to want it to change. If it’s possible, you and your partner can have an open and honest dialogue. You both need to agree to work on your faults and rather than blame each other, it’s helpful if you both have a positive mindset about the relationship.

If you’re really committed to your relationship, it might be helpful to get some professional support. Having a neutral third party can be invaluable to help you understand the relationship faultlines and help you plan a healthy way forward together.

Relationship behaviour that is abusive is never OK. Support is available for people experiencing violence and abuse.


What if nothing changes?  

If your partner is unwilling to work on the relationship, then you may need to decide to walk away. It’s difficult to make this decision, but for your own happiness and self-worth, it’s better to move on.


CAREinMIND’s professional counsellors are available 24/7. The service is free to people living in north, western and central Melbourne. Call us on 1300 096 269.

Or access online counselling.

If you’re concerned about family or domestic violence, please get help. Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for advice, resources and referrals to other help services.

If it is an emergency, call 000


The CAREinMIND blog is delivered by On the Line. The views in each post do not necessarily reflect those of North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.