10 Signs You’re Trapped in an Energy-Draining Relationship

Whether we want to admit it or not, we’re all in love with the idea of love. We want the laughter, the adventure, and the fun that comes with the best relationships, but it’s quite possible your romance is draining you instead. Do you feel exhausted and negatively consumed by thoughts of your partner all day? If so, watch out for these 10 signs your partner is an emotional vampire.

1. You feel physically exhausted

tired beautiful woman on dark background

Is your relationship causing your exhaustion? | iStock.com/Viktor_Gladkov

You may be getting your eight hours of sleep at night, but if you wake up still feeling exhausted and drained of energy, check in with how you’re feeling mentally. Michele Paiva, a zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist, told Bustle, “When your partner makes you feel like you have a cold or flu, rather than on top of the world, they are draining you emotionally.”

Your relationship should you make you feel more energized and prepared to take on the day’s challenges. If you’ve become so bogged down with negative feelings that you’re experiencing physical symptoms, it’s time to take action. Paiva says to take a closer look at both your partner and yourself. Are you the one giving too much or is your partner really taking that much out of you? Access your needs so you can regain some energy to take control of your life. 

2. You’re walking on eggshells

couple lying in the grass together

You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around your partner. | iStock.com

If you feel like there are some subjects you can’t breach when you’re speaking to your partner, it could be a sign you’re in a relationship with an emotional vampire. According to Psychology Today, these “eggshell relationships” are toxic and leave you feeling completely drained.

You should be able to freely speak to your partner — they’re the person you may be choosing to build a life with, after all. If you’re concerned about walking on eggshells around your partner, try talking to them about it and explain how this practice is sucking the life out of you. Hopefully they can understand how you’re feeling, but if they refuse to acknowledge your emotions, you may want to move on.

3. You’re always in a bad mood

stressed businessman holding his hands against his forehead

If you’re always in a bad mood, this is a sign. | iStock.com

You may be great at throwing on a smile when you’re in public, but ask yourself how you’re feeling when you’re alone. Are you happy with how things are going in your relationship or do you feel like your partner is demanding too much? If your favorite hobbies have stopped bringing you joy and you no longer have the energy to be with your friends, truthfully ask yourself what could be stealing the life out of you. If it’s your partner, it’s time for an evaluation plan.

Follow Tiny Buddha’s suggestion of being real with yourself. Stop pretending you’re feeling fine and address your concerns with your partner. Explain why you feel like pulling your hair out. It’s really the only way the two of you can move forward, together or not. 

4. Your partner doesn’t listen

Couple having relationship difficulties

You should always feel like your partner is listening to you. | iStock.com

When your significant other is having family troubles or work conflicts, you probably do your best to listen to their concerns and offer ways to help. Problems arise, however, when you feel as if your issues don’t matter and you’re not being heard because it leaves you feeling lonely and drained.

If your partner is always distracted by their smartphone or looking around when you’re talking to them, start a conversation about how the two of you can communicate better. Psych Central points out a few practices that can really help in this department. Create some general rules for both of you that will improve your conversations (and ultimately, your relationship).

5. Your partner is always having a crisis

woman apologizing during an argument

It can be draining when your partner is always in crisis mode. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

Nothing’s more draining than sheer panic, and unfortunately, most of us have felt the heart-pounding stress of crisis mode a few times throughout our lives. If your partner is constantly panic-stricken and blowing situations way out of proportion, then you’re likely to feel drained after spending time with them. Not everything in life is a tragedy, and your partner needs to learn healthier coping strategies to deal with life’s many stressors.

If your partner is constantly having a crisis, pay attention to when these outbursts tend to occur. Do they happen when the focus isn’t on them? If so, you may be dealing with someone who has narcissistic tendencies. The Huffington Post recommends incorporating a number of strategies to effectively communicate with a narcissistic emotional vampire. It may not solve all of your problems, but it’s a step in the right direction.

6. Your partner always dominates the conversation

Couple arguing while driving

Your partner’s attention-seeking habits can drain you. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

If your partner seems to constantly cause a scene in public to garner the attention of others, this can be extremely damaging to your emotional well-being. Or, maybe your partner doesn’t gather attention from outsiders, but they may always make conversations between the two of you purely about themselves. eHarmony explains dominance of conversation and picking fights in this way is usually way too much for a partner to handle, so you may need to walk away.

7. You feel self-conscious

senior couple holding hands

Your partner should make you feel more confident, not less. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

If you’re feeling like your self-esteem has taken a hit since your relationship began, there’s a good chance you’re dating an emotional vampire. According to Psych Central, there are varying types of emotional vampires you should watch out for, and one of them is known as “the criticizer.” This type of person will belittle you to lift themselves up, and they’ll often do this without realizing it. Those who criticize typically do so because of their own insecurities, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still do damage. If you’re dealing with constant criticism, know you deserve better.

8. You’re always fighting with your partner

a male couple sits on the stairs while having a serious talk

If talking always dissolves into fighting, you could be dating an emotional vampire. | iStock.com

There’s nothing more draining than fighting with your partner, so it’s worth questioning a relationship that involves frequent arguments. If you find yourself constantly butting heads with your loved one, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Is your partner the one who’s seemingly starting the argument, or can both parties take some blame? WebMD explains part of keeping the peace in the relationship is owning up to your mistakes, but if your partner seems to continue the fighting even when you’ve tried your best to quell the storms, then you’re likely just wasting your time and energy.

9. You’re always taking the blame

sad man sits on the end of the bed while his partner looks stern

Are you always taking the blame during hard times? | iStock.com

If you find your partner is always blaming you and you’re taking more than your fair share of the blame, then beware. Shifting blame to you instead of taking a look inward is the tendency of emotional vampires. Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., reports for PsychAlive that reflecting on patterns during conflict with your partner can help both of you identify unhealthy behaviors. If you’re always on the receiving end of the blame, tell your partner your feelings in a non-accusatory way. If the pattern continues, though, your relationship may need to come to a close.

10. You feel controlled

young couple not speaking after an argument

Feeling like you’re constantly under surveillance will ruin a relationship. | iStock.com

If you’re feeling like you’re constantly under watch and you have to seek permission from your partner to hang out with friends, leave the house, or spend money, you could be in an emotionally abusive relationship. While it’s courteous to let your partner know where you’re going and who you’re hanging out with, an overly controlling partner will cause you to second-guess your every movement. If you find yourself with a partner who is dominating and thinks they always know what’s best for you, speak up. Explain why the behavior isn’t acceptable and that it’s a deal breaker.