What to do when a Relationship Becomes Unhealthy

always arguing

What to do when a Relationship Becomes Unhealthy

 Is your relationship unhealthy? Is it the romantic version of a deep fried mars bar or is it more like a nice mixed green salad? It can be devastating to realise that a relationship has crossed the line from being a fun and positive experience to something which is actually detrimental to your happiness and well-being…and like deep fried mars bars, unhealthy relationships are often addictive and despite knowing that they’re bad for us we keep going back for “just one more bite!”


Knowing that you’re involved in an unhealthy relationship is not always apparent straight away; it’s often a creeping feeling of something not being “right” which alerts us to the fact that things aren’t what they should be and that in fact, your Prince Charming has morphed into Jack the Ripper somewhere along the line.


How do you recognise the signs though? The baddies don’t always wear black cloaks and laugh in an evil fashion…sometimes they’re good looking and cool…they might even be kind and popular. And more importantly what do you do once you have noticed that your other half is now making you unhappy rather than happy?


The First Signs

The first signs that something is wrong are often to be seen in changes in your behaviour and that of your partner. Here are some questions to ask yourself which will help you to realise what the problem is.


  • Have you stopped seeing your friends?
  • Has your partner stopped seeing their friends?
  • Do you feel nervous about telling your partner when you have made plans with friends?
  • Do you feel unhappy with the way you look?
  • Are your friends and family not keen on your partner?
  • Are you struggling with your work or your studies?


All of the issues above are things which can occur in a healthy relationship as well as an unhealthy one but when you take time out to think about them, try to pin down the reason behind the troubles you’re having. Could it be due to your partner? Some relationships become unhealthy because one or both members of the partnership have grown too reliant on the other; this can be shown in various ways.


  • Not wanting to spend time apart.
  • Jealousy.
  • Making one another feel guilty about spending time apart.
  • Criticizing one another’s looks.
  • Interfering with work or study time.


If you or your partner are jealous of one another (read this article Jealousy: When Emotions Betray Logic) then it’s time to stop this unhealthy behaviour. Insecurity is a normal emotion but it is also one which we need to keep a handle on. Trying to control a partner is never a good thing; having respect for one another’s friends and family is important and we should always try to keep a good balance of time spent with partners and time spent with friends. Don’t try to force a bad lot to become good…some people are just not worth the effort. If they’re hurting your self esteem on a regular basis then it’s time for the old heave-ho. However, unhealthy relationships can sometimes be saved and here’s how to do it.


Sorting your relationship out

If your relationship is growing unhealthy and you feel stifled but your partner is willing to work with you to improve things then it is time to instigate some changes. Discuss the problems with your partner, admit your shortcomings if you are the insecure one and if you are not, then ask your partner to talk about why they feel insecure. Set regular times to meet up but make sure that this leaves space for you and your partner to spend time with other friends and loved ones too.


Ensure that you and your partner don’t fall into the trap of being over-critical of one another; a good relationship is supportive and encouraging. Remember the reasons that you fell in love with one another and make sure that you treat one another well.


  • Be thoughtful: this means that you think about the small things which can make the other person’s day and try to instigate them. If that means something as simple as making your partner a cup of coffee in the morning or texting them a loving message then great! It doesn’t take much to make someone feel good.
  • Be encouraging: if your partner has ambitions, try to encourage them to pursue them, help them to stick to their studies or to do well at work by listening to their worries and letting them know if they are slacking!
  • Be confident:  this means helping your partner to enjoy a social life apart from you; we all need friends and spending time with them makes us feel good about ourselves, when we feel good about ourselves we’re happier. This has a knock-on effect in our relationships.


Above all, remember that it takes two; it’s no use making all the effort to keep your relationship healthy if your partner is not doing the same. Some relationships are simply too one sided to ever succeed. If you’re spending more time worrying about your relationship than enjoying it then it might just be time to call it a day.



book under spotlight


Further reading


Recognizing Unhealthy Relationships: Guide to Healthy Love & Self Discovery

If you ever were curious about why you have some of the relationships you have then this book is for you. Start by assessing your roles and involvements in relationships and then look at some of the people you establish yourself with. This book takes you through a series of chapters and journal exercises that will allow you to uncover your life patterns and establish healthier relationships as a result.

Are You the One for Me? How to Have the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted – 

World-renowned relationship counsellor Barbara De Angelis reveals everything you need to know about compatibility. You’ll learn:

• Why you’ve chosen the partners you have – and how to make better choices,
• How much sexual chemistry you and your partner really have,
• The ten types of relationships that won’t work,
• How your childhood memories may be affecting your love life,
• The six essential qualities to look for in a mate,
• How to spot fatal flaws in a partner,
• Why you may be falling in love for the wrong reason.

If you’re single or divorced: read this book to understand why your past choices weren’t right for you and how to get it right this time.

If you’re in love: learn how to be 100% certain that this relationship is the one for you.

If you’re married: discover how to understand and balance your differences so that you can live happily together every day.

Women Who Love Too Much (highly recommend)

Is having ‘somebody to love’ the most important thing in your life? Do you constantly believe in Mr Right, and that being with him would guarantee you would no longer feel depressed or lonely? Are you bored with ‘nice guys’ who are open, honest and dependable?


If being in love means being in pain, this book was written for you. Leading relationship and marriage therapist Robin Norwood describes loving too much as a pattern of thoughts and behaviour, which certain women develop as a response to problems from childhood.


Many women find themselves repeatedly drawn into unhappy and destructive relationships with men. They then struggle to make these doomed relationships work. This bestselling relationship self-help book investigates and reveals how powerfully addictive these unhealthy relationships are – but also gives a very specific programme for recovery from the disease of loving too much, a problem that plagues women everywhere.

USA and the rest

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, surviving It 

  • Reveal behaviors that are meant to control, punish, and hurt
  • Confront and speak truth when the timing is right
  • Determine when to keep trying, when to get out
  • Get safe and stay safe

Co-dependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Other and Start Caring For Yourself  (highly recommend)

Is someone else’s problem your problem? If, like so many others, you’ve lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else’s, you may be codependent–and you may find yourself in this book.

The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America’s best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.

With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward, readable map of the perplexing world of codependency–charting the path to freedom and a lifetime of healing, hope, and happiness.

Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change

The #1 New York Times bestseller that asks



  • Do you find yourself attracted again and again to troubled, distant, moody men — while “nice guys” seem boring?
  • Do you obsess over men who are emotionally unavailable, addicted to work, hobbies, alcohol, or other women?
  • Do you neglect your friends and your own interests to be immediately available to him?
  • Do you feel empty without him, even though being with him is torment?

Robin Norwood’s groundbreaking work will enable you to recognize the roots of your destructive patterns of relating and provide you with a step-by-step guide to a more rewarding way of living and loving. If being in love means being in pain, you need to read Women Who Love Too Much.



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