Love is hard to find. Some people wait years while others never find it at all. Once you’ve met someone you love, it may be tempting to hold on to them with everything you’ve got, but it’s important to remember that not every type of love leads to a happy, healthy relationship. Love should make you the best version of yourself. It should include more highs than lows. Unfortunately, more often than not, being in love can bring out your worst qualities, fears, and insecurities, especially when you’re intimate with someone who’s dealing with their own baggage.
One survey by YourTango found that 89% of people think that half or more of all people have toxic relationships in their lives. These toxic relationships can be hard to spot, as they often come in pretty packages that seem wonderful on the outside, but are full of issues and hurt on the inside. Not sure where your relationship falls on the spectrum? Take a look at these top 10 relationships to avoid.
1. The relationship that’s fueled by passion alone
A romantic relationship would just be a close friendship without passion. This fiery quality plays an important role in love. It’s what makes you care so deeply, love like crazy, and do things you normally wouldn’t do. While passion is a necessary ingredient, Positive Med says too much of it can quickly lead to a toxic, unhealthy relationship.
Passion can lead to high levels of jealousy or even blow-out fights. As any couple knows, some jealousy and arguing is natural, but overly passionate relationships experience these qualities to the point that they begin to take over any good in the relationship.
2. The relationship that’s conveniently comfortable
These relationships are like your favorite pair of sweatpants. They are familiar, comfortable, and make you feel warm and safe. Like a comfortable, convenient relationship, it can be tough to pull off those cozy, fleece-lined sweatpants and squeeze into a stiff pair of jeans. Single life can be rough, making that comfortable relationship all the more appealing. The problem, as Elite Daily points out, is that comfort doesn’t equal happiness. These convenient relationships just hold you back from finding true happiness and love.
3. The relationship that’s overly controlled
It’s natural to care about someone and want what’s best for them, but it’s quite another thing to attempt to control their every move. According to Elite Daily, relationships that revolve around one person’s control over the other are dangerous. If you don’t feel free to be yourself, make your own choices, and decide things for yourself, you may be in an unhealthy, controlling relationship. Maintaining these relationships can hinder your personal growth and may even manipulate you into thinking you’re happy when you’re not.
4. The relationship that’s built on lies
Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship, so when a relationship is built on lies, it’s impossible to operate as a healthy, functional couple. Lying may seem harmless at first. Perhaps it’s just an omission of information or a small, white lie you say to avoid hurting your partner’s feelings. Either way, a lie is a lie.
No matter how small, lying is a slippery slope. It may seem harmless, but once you start, it becomes easier and easier for lies to slip out, continuing to harm the relationship built around them. As Marc Chernoff reminds us, “an honest adversary is always better than a friend or lover who lies.” Needless to say, it’s best to steer clear of a relationship built on lies.
5. The relationship with a bully
Are you in a relationship where one person has significantly more power and control than the other? If so, eHarmony says there’s a good chance you’re in an abusive relationship. Whether physically, mentally, or emotionally operated, bullies function by maintaining enough power that their partner is afraid to challenge them. This relationship runs on fear, which is the opposite of love. If you find yourself in this exhausting, hurtful relationship, you’ll want to find a way out immediately.
6. The relationship that’s punitive
Punitive relationships are destined for failure. This type of relationship occurs when one person punishes the other when their partner’s behavior falls short of their own personal expectations. “The major issue with punitive types is that their instinct is to punish, without adequate communication, feedback, and understanding,” Dr. Travis Bradberry writes in The Huffington Post. Not only is this highly disrespectful, but it creates conflict. It’s only a matter of time before the partner who’s belittled starts harboring negative emotions toward the other.
7. The relationship with a critic
It’s natural to turn to your partner for advice, and to seek their approval, as any solid relationship should feature more mutual support than harsh criticism. If you’ve ever dealt with someone who nitpicks every little detail of your life — from how you do your job to how you dress to how you speak to your mother — you know how trying it can be. Don’t let your partner become a source of stress. Instead, ditch the naysayers and avoid a partner who’s overly critical.
8. The relationship with an enabler
Regardless of who’s doing it, a relationship that hinges on one person enabling the other is toxic. According to The Huffington Post, there are several red flags that prove a person is an enabler in their relationship. For instance, putting your partner’s needs before your own, your life revolving around your partner, and seeing your partner as helpless are all signs you’re in a toxic relationship.
9. The relationship that’s all-consuming
As soon as you’ve entered a mental state where you’re unable to stop thinking about someone, there’s cause for concern. Of course, there are times when it’s acceptable to have your significant other on your mind. In the beginning of a relationship, you can’t wait to hear back from them. Or, your long-time partner is the first person you want to tell about your job promotion. That’s normal. However, it can become dangerous the moment this genuine love turns into an obsession. At this point, you should bail immediately.
10. The relationship that’s all about the drama
You know those couples who are either over-the-top perfect or on the edge of a breakup? Well, it’s best to steer clear of people who aren’t happy unless there’s some sort of high-drama situation happening. It’s not such a stretch to predict this type of relationship won’t last. In fact, psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, M.D., tells Reader’s Digest that couples who thrive on high theatrics also tend to have higher divorce rates. So, there you have it.
Additional reporting by Julie Peirano