No one ever dreams of being in a relationship that is dangerous, toxic or unhealthy; however, many of us still find ourselves in that situation. It usually doesn’t start out that way- many things that we later realize were warning signs seemed cute or romantic when they first started. This is why it is so important that we listen when we feel like something is not quite right. No healthy relationship should ever leave you in a constant sense of fear, heartbreak, or the feeling that you are not enough.

Know that you are enough and worthy of a love that is full of grace and understanding, not one that is controlling and heart breaking.

So how exactly do we know when we are in an unhealthy relationship when we are blinded by “love” or rather, infatuation? First things first, listen to your instinct. If someone is ever making you uncomfortable, nervous, or even just unsure, listen to that. Keep your friends and family in the know, and share with them if you are ever feeling uncomfortable or unsure. Be aware of things that don’t seem normal in a relationship.

One of the biggest signs that can often be misconstrued as someone just wanting to spend a lot of time with you is isolation. When you enter into a new relationship, it is normal to want to spend a lot of time with that person, especially one on one time getting to know each other. That being said, be sure that you are not allowing the other person to isolate you from everyone else who is in your life. Allow for some of your time together to also be spent with friends and family, and take caution when you feel that the other person is constantly telling you not to hang out with other people or do activities apart from them. This is not normal and it is imperative that you both still have friendships outside of each other.

Another sign that people will claim is cute, or just being newly in love, is jealousy. It is human nature to become jealous at times, however, jealousy is not something that is “cute” or “romantic”. When the person you are dating begins making jealous comments, have a conversation right away about maintaining relationships outside of each other and creating clear boundaries. If this person seems to be upset by creating boundaries, there are often ulterior motives to their jealousy, and this will create unhealthy habits in your relationship.

What happens when your partner becomes jealous?

Jealousy can often be excused as being “protective” and while it is important that you feel safe and protected with the person you are dating, there is a clear line between “protective” and “controlling”. You are not anyone’s property, nor do they have any sort of ownership over what you do, who your friends are, or who you spend time with. I also want to note that in all of this, remember to still be sensitive to your significant other. When the person seems to be jealous or upset about something, take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. If you would feel the same way then maybe their feelings are justified. For instance, if you are a girl and you have been dating a new guy for a couple of months, however, you are still spending one on one time with your other guy friends, it is natural that your boyfriend will be a little uncomfortable. So still be sensitive to your boyfriend, but also know that jealousy in any relationship is unhealthy, and when it becomes controlling, it is no longer because the other person wants attention, but rather a dangerous and abusive scenario.

Every relationship looks different, and it is important to not compare your relationship to others, but continue to hold high standards for yourself. Before entering any relationship, know that you are enough and worthy of a love that is full of grace and understanding, not one that is controlling and heart breaking. And while every relationship looks different, it is often found that signs of abuse and control are all the same. So if you find yourself seeing any of these characteristics in your relationship, reach out to someone and ask them for guidance on how to get out of the unhealthy relationship. Know that we are always here to serve you at Gateway; you are never alone and you do not have to stay in a relationship that is causing you harm- physically or emotionally.

Please contact Gateway Campus at (919) 833-0096, if you or someone you know is in a harmful relationship and needs help.