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Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might be excited to share a romantic evening with your partner. Or maybe some recent relationship drama has you skipping Valentine’s Day celebrations and wondering if your partner is a keeper? If your relationship feels complicated, it might not be healthy.

Part of any relationship is working to make sure it’s healthy and happy, and it’s normal to question that from time to time. But do you think about it more than just occasionally? Are you waiting until he’s in the shower to scroll through his phone contacts? Is the bad starting to outweigh the good? If so here are some things to consider to figure out the kind of relationship you’re in:


1. You can’t be your true self around your partner. It seems like it would be obvious if you couldn’t be yourself with your partner, right? Sometimes it’s really subtle. Do you notice that you can’t be honest about what you want? Maybe you are really into video games, or you want to try a new sex position. But you’re embarrassed to admit it for fear that you’ll be harshly criticized, rejected or shamed. Perhaps you hope to get married and have kids someday, but you’re afraid to tell your partner, because you don’t want to scare her away. Pay attention to what you’re comfortable sharing and what you keep to yourself--you might be surprised to realize you aren’t being yourself. If you won’t share because you’re afraid s/he won’t accept you, you might be in an unhealthy relationship.


2. You don’t feel you can trust your partner. This one comes down to one thing: your gut. What does your gut say? Sure, it’s normal to get a little jealous sometimes, but do you have a nagging feeling that says something just isn’t right? He looks at ladies a little too long, or she’s just a little too friendly with other men? Healthy relationships don’t make us so insecure that we blow-up our partner’s phone until  they pick up, or turn us into detectives who stalk our mates’ social media pages to see if they “liked” that certain someone’s new picture. Think of how much energy it takes to worry about whether your partner is cheating. That’s time and energy you could be spending on a partner who loves and trusts you in return.


3. You make excuses for his bad behavior. Do you find yourself having to lie to your friends or family about your partner’s behavior? For example, did your partner curse you out, or call you names in front of your loved ones, and now you have to make excuses? Have you found yourself saying, “No, it’s my fault, I didn’t have dinner ready when she got home,” or “He didn’t mean it, he’s just angry because he’s been struggling at work lately.”  Or has it gone further, to the point where you have begun to isolate from your friends or family because they question you about how badly she treats you? If multiple people are telling you something is wrong with the way he treats you, most likely  there is. So, you at least have to consider it. Like they say, if one person says you’re drunk, you might not be drunk. If two people tell you you’re drunk, you might be drunk. If three people say it, you are certainly drunk. If your loved ones are all questioning your partner, that could be proof that your relationship is not healthy.


4. You can’t tell whether or not you’re in an unhealthy relationship. Yes, it’s normal to wonder if the person you’re with is your soulmate or a good partner for you. If you’re not sure how to tell, however, the answer might be clearer than you realize. If you constantly ask yourself whether your relationship is healthy, that could be a red flag that it is not. Relationships take work, but it should not feel like you’re constantly rolling a boulder uphill. And it certainly shouldn’t feel  like you’re always running from the boulder so it doesn’t crush you.  It should be easy a lot of the time, and work part of the time. If you find that you’re stressing about your relationship more often than not, then there could be a much healthier match out there for you.

Take a little time this month to reflect on your relationship--do you spend too much time worrying about whether you’re with someone who is healthy for you? Does your relationship make you feel good or stressed out most of the time? This Valentine’s Day, don’t just love your partner, love yourself! Be kind to yourself, and if you see that you’re involved in an unhealthy relationship, consider moving on and finding a partner who loves you the way you deserve to be loved.