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21 Secret Signs of a Bad Relationship that Signal a Bad Future Ahead

Sometimes, we get so stuck in a relationship that we can’t see the truth before us. Understand the signs of a bad relationship and get out while you can.

signs of a bad relationship

Relationships can, at times, be far more complicated than it seems on the surface. You could see a cute couple who are happy together and assume they’re going to be hitched for life. And before you know it, the happy couple could break up and go their own ways. You never know what is really going on behind closed doors. The same kind of misguided view can happen in your own relationship – if you become too comfortable, you fail to see what’s really going on. That’s why it’s vital to understand the key signs of a bad relationship.

You see, what seems perfectly stable on the outside may not be so on the inside. Sometimes, you may think you’re in a perfectly happy relationship when in truth, you may be heading towards a turbulent future with your lover.

Surely it’s better to know ahead of time, so you can stop yourself from wasting any more time? For sure, it’ll probably hurt, but it’s better in the long run. [Read: How to have a good relationship that gets better with each new day]

In relationships, we see what we want to see

When you’re floating on the high of a happy relationship, it’s easy to overlook all the little nagging issues that crop up now and then. But before long, it’s the little things that’ll create bigger problems as they snowball over time.

Don’t let infatuation and intense affection for each other blind either of you from building a successful relationship on solid ground.

Keep an eye out for the subtle signs of a bad relationship that show up now and then, and fix them before it gets worse. [Read: 28 desirable ways to make your boyfriend want you more than ever]

You probably don’t want to believe that your relationship isn’t as good as you thought. But, the truth is that relationships are hard. We all struggle from time to time with issues that crop up. Those issues may be things you can work through or they may be things that end your union.

It’s true that bad relationships affect far more than just your love life. They can make your entire life worse. Everything from your friendships to your career can suffer if you’re in a toxic relationship.

Knowing the signs of a bad relationship in the making is a very powerful way to take back control and prevent everything from going downhill. [Read: 15 scary signs you’re in a toxic relationship that’s breaking you]

The hidden signs of a bad relationship most people totally ignore

Constant arguments, affairs, or unhappiness may be the big signs of a bad relationship. But these big signs don’t just crop up out of nowhere.

It’s the secret signs, those subtle hints that can even seem funny at first, that make way for the bigger problems to seep in.

Read these subtle signs of a bad relationship, and if you do experience something in your own relationship, weed them out before it affects your relationship further.

Then, you can either try and fix it, or decide that it’s the end of the road for the two of you. [Read: Toxic love – 13 ways it can harm you permanently and how to get away]

1. Eye rolling

This is one of the lesser-known signs of a bad relationship. Do you take your partner or their suggestions seriously? You may find yourself absentmindedly smiling at your lover or ignoring your partner when they’re trying to say something to you. And your partner may even laugh about it.

But the fact that you didn’t listen to your partner or assumed that you were superior to your partner in that aspect shows that you don’t take your partner seriously.

To begin with, it may just be a one-off incident. But if you find yourself rolling your eyes each time you hear something from the next room or repeating ‘whatever’ inside your head, ask yourself why you’re taking your partner so lightly? [Read: 15 signs of a lack of respect in a relationship you shouldn’t ignore]

2. Dominance

Dominance and power play in a relationship can be confusing to read, especially if you’re being subtle about it. Do you feel like one of you has more power in the relationship?

A happy relationship has to have an equal balance of power between the two lovers. If you feel like you’re being dominated or not given enough control of the relationship and its direction, speak about it with your partner. [Read: 23 subtle signs of a controlling partner most people don’t ever see]

3. A lack of respect

Respect for each other is crucial in a relationship, so a lack is one of the big signs of a bad relationship. If you don’t respect your lover, your lover would start to shy away from giving suggestions or even playing a part in the functioning of the relationship.

Then, your partner will end up becoming attracted to someone else who respects them and likes them for the person they are. [Read: The reasons behind why you’re slowly falling out of love]

4. Speaking ill of each other

Don’t insult each other just to get even or win an argument. And this is especially important when others are around. Don’t ridicule your partner, and definitely avoid saying anything demeaning to your partner when others are around. No matter how you say it, it’ll always be taken badly by your partner.

On the other hand, some people love talking about their partner’s inefficiencies to their friends, as if to expect solace and comfort.

But by speaking ill of your partner to others, you’re only reassuring yourself that your partner is not good enough for you. How can a relationship last when all you’re trying to do is convince yourself that your lover is not good enough for you?

5. Avoiding conflict

Sometimes, it’s easier to overlook a few differences rather than pick a fight over it. But if something bothers you, don’t avoid talking about it with your partner. If you do this regularly, it’s one of the signs of a bad relationship.

If you find yourself grumbling to yourself about something, be it the dirty sink or the clothes lying around, but you still avoid talking about it to your partner, it’ll do more damage than good.

The rage that accumulates inside you would start to distance you from your partner, and yet, your partner would have no idea about what’s bothering you. [Read: 30 relationship rules and must-know tips to live your best love life]

6. Taking each other for granted

This is one of the most common signs of a bad relationship. All of us take our partners for granted occasionally, it’s part of human nature.

But there’s a thin line between feeling good about helping someone and feeling like an overworked mule. It’s very easy to unknowingly take your partner for granted far too often.

Learn to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and ask yourself how you’d feel. It’ll help you realize when you’re being overbearing and annoying. [Read: Am I being taken for granted in the relationship? 16 subtle signs you shouldn’t miss]

7. Deafening silence

Talk is cheap and silence is golden. True, almost in all cases, but not in a relationship.

When you’re in love, communication helps open up both your minds and creates a better bond. Do both of you spend your evenings watching your favorite shows after work, and hardly talk about anything with each other? It may seem like a perfect way to relax after a tiring and long day.

But over time, this lack of communication will disconnect you from each other. And soon enough, both of you won’t have anything to share with each other because your minds and ideas are so far apart. [Read: Lack of communication in a relationship and why it signals the end]

8. Communication that often turns to arguments

When you don’t talk to each other or worse, you CAN’T talk to each other, something is very, very wrong. In order for a relationship to be healthy, you have to be able to discuss everything.

If you can’t even tell your partner when you’re upset, that’s clearly one of the big signs of a bad relationship.

Arguments are normal occasionally but they should never be commonplace. If you can’t talk without it starting a row, there are far too many unresolved issues at play underneath the surface.

9. Mismatching sense of humor

You might think it’s funny when you pull out a playful insult, but does your partner see it that way? Even if they’re just “jokes,” they can still be hurtful.

It’s perfectly fine to tease and joke around with your significant other. It becomes a problem when those “jokes” are actually insulting and hurtful. You have to know what will cause your significant other pain.

And on the flip side, if they’re continuously insulting you and it’s actually making you upset, then you have to say something. If you can’t and this is a serious problem, it’s a sign of a bad relationship. [Read: The 15 types of humor and how it affects your romantic relationships]

10. Leaving arguments unresolved

We’ve already mentioned that fighting in relationships is perfectly fine. Obviously, if you’re fighting all the time, that’s not good. But arguing and then never actually talking about it is a major issue.

You can’t bottle up those feelings. If you do, they’ll explode in the worst ways. Always make sure that you resolve the issues that you’re fighting about.

11. Having make-up sex instead of talking

If your arguments all end in the bedroom, you have an unhealthy relationship. It’s okay if you talk it out and make up BEFORE the sex, but using sex as a means to solve your problems is as toxic as it gets.

By doing this, you’re basically brushing every issue under the carpet and waiting for it to explode later on. [Read: The art of make up sex – A guide to master the romp after the rage]

12. Your friends have told you it’s bad

They know you best and they can tell when your behavior takes a dive for the worse. You really have to listen to them.

It’s hard and you may be very defensive at first, but they care about you. If they’re telling you that they can see a few signs of a bad relationship in your love life, chances are, it truly is bad already.

13. Your family doesn’t like them

Most of your family members can tell if someone is treating you right just by how you act. If they have issues with the guy or girl, it’s for a reason.

Pay attention to your family and even ask them what they think. Some may not even be shy about telling you how they feel.

Of course, this does depend upon the type of relationship you have with your family as to whether you can trust them completely. But for the most part, if your family tells you something isn’t right, it’s quite likely to be the case. [Read: How to prepare your partner to meet your parents]

14. Their family doesn’t like you

Normally with bad relationships, both people are to blame. Not always, but often. This may be evident in the way their family treats you. You might think you’re being great to them but if their family is showing you otherwise, it’s time to do some self-reflecting.

15. Passive-aggressive notes are left everywhere

When your partner is leaving you notes and texts all about the stuff they’re mad at you for, it’s not healthy. This is a very passive-aggressive way of going about problem-solving.

As we’ve established, when you can’t talk, it’s one of the glaring signs of a bad relationship that’s getting worse. [Read: How to deal with passive-aggressive behavior calmly and with class]

16. You don’t prioritize each other

If you’re in a relationship, your partner should be your priority. Of course, you have other things to worry about, but they should still be toward the top of the list. If you’re both ignoring each other and not respecting that prioritization, things will never be good for you.

17. You hardly do nice things for one another

In a healthy relationship, your goal is to always make each other happy. When you stop doing those things, something is wrong.

You can’t be with someone if you don’t even want to do nice things for them. That doesn’t mean you have to buy gifts for one another all the time and do small things on the daily, but it should be a regular occurrence at the very least. If it’s not, something toxic is going on.

18. You don’t appreciate the stuff you actually do for each other

When you actually do stuff that’s sweet and kind, neither of you appreciates it when the other person does it.

When you come to expect nice things and never acknowledge that they’re done, you’re not grateful. Being ungrateful is not healthy. [Read: How to show your appreciation to someone and express your gratitude]

19. You feel relieved when you get to be alone

Now, a lot of people enjoy their alone time. But when you were just with your partner and are relieved when they finally leave, there’s an issue.

You should want to be around your significant other – not constantly, but it shouldn’t be that you desperately want them to leave you alone. Not wanting them around means you don’t like their company.

If you don’t like their company, then why are you even together?

20. You sometimes wish you weren’t together

Even if you’re arguing, you should never feel like this in a healthy relationship. If you do, it’s one of the many signs of a bad relationship and you probably aren’t happy. When you feel this way more often than not, it’s trouble. [Read: A confession – I want to be single again]

21. When you think about it, you’re unhappy

This should just be obvious, but some people need the reminder. If you’re not happy with your significant other, you shouldn’t be together.

Forget about how long you’ve been with them or what anyone else would think if you split. Your happiness is of the utmost importance.

If you’re in a bad relationship, what should you do?

If you’re noticing many of these signs of a bad relationship, you need to sit up and take notice. What you do about it is a personal choice, but it should certainly set alarm bells ringing.

Are you happy? Think about that honestly. If you’re not, you need to make a choice.

Do you want to stay with your partner? If so, sit down and have an open and honest conversation. Make sure you avoid using blame language such as “you make me feel,” or “you always,” and instead keep it light and blame-free. Explain how you feel and what you would like to happen. [Read: How to face relationship challenges and overcome them as a couple]

If your partner isn’t amenable to such a conversation, that really only leaves you with one option. You deserve better than to stay in a relationship that doesn’t serve you well and doesn’t make you happy.

It will hurt, for sure, but it’s always better to get out while you can, than to stick around and waste years with someone who just doesn’t make you happy or even care about you.

[Read: How to fix a relationship that’s falling apart and fix it again]

If you’re looking for signs of a bad relationship, focus on these signs to begin with. After all, even the biggest of relationship problems have to start with these little secret signs.

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Chester Bloom
A practical thinker, Chester Bloom is a writer who loves a good conversation, a long walk in the park and great company....
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