In an Unhealthy Relationship? 7 Ways to Tell

Why 7 ways? Because I had more than 5 but less than 10. Also, because 7 is the Lord’s number and some of you need a real Holy Spirit awakening if you’re ever going to quit this awful dating cycle that you’re in.

In the effort to not sound mean since some of you are so. dang. sensitive, I’d like to explain that I’m being honest because I have found myself in relationships like these. Don’t get it twisted: I’ve dated some really wonderful, incredible, caring men. The fact that it didn’t work or that it was an unhealthy relationship isn’t always a reflection on a specific party as much as it just a lack of compatibility. But, sometimes it’s that there is an idiot involved. Maybe that idiot is them. Or maybe that idiot is you.

Either way, let’s begin.



1. You’re constantly on the defense.

You don’t know him like I know him. 

She’s just having a hard time.

It’s just how he is. 

Ever heard this before? Many of you have used one of these. Me, 57 hundred times. It’s frustrating to be in a relationship with someone that others don’t see as a positive fit for you. Constantly being on the defense is exhausting. Even worse is when you are trying to convince those around you that your mate is actually a decent person. But I have to ask the question- who are you trying to convince- them? Or you? 

Sometimes your family and friends- the people that know you best- can be wrong, but I would say that 8 times out of 10, they’re not. Those close to us have an inside look. If they think you’re being defensive, you probably are. If you feel like you are constantly forced to defend their every move and action, ask yourself why. Why don’t they naturally like him/her? Do they see something that I don’t?

2. You’ve never met their friends.

For me, this is just weird. I’m a slow mover, definitely, and I won’t introduce a guy to my inner circle until I think that things are moving forward.

With that being said, I strongly believe there is an issue when the person you’re dating has no desire to introduce you to the people that he/she is closest with. Why wouldn’t you want me included in that part of your life? Do you know how hilarious I am? God, I’m so fun! Why wouldn’t you want me to grab dinner with your friends or come to a summer BBQ?

It’s easy at this point to feel like it’s you; They’re ashamed of me, they don’t want their friends to know about me, etc. But in my opinion, anyone that will take you out and text you nonstop and be physical with you, but won’t let you into the inner part of their life has something going on that you don’t know about. I won’t assume the worst (you’re the other woman), but I will assume that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

3. They won’t tell you about their past relationships.

I was once dating a guy who was the whole package: funny, handsome, nice hands, smart, loved hockey. We had been working at it for awhile when the subject of past girlfriends/boyfriends came up. We said we would talk about it the next day, and he became flaky. He ended things a week later. The frick?

So here’s the thing…If he had said, “Ya know, Leah, this is a hard topic for me. Can you give me a little more time?” I would have dropped it, no problem. For me, past relationships aren’t a deal breaker. It doesn’t matter to me how many girls you’ve dated, if you were married, your “number,” or anything like that. But I also don’t want to ignore it. I think those details are really important in understanding who you’re with. I don’t need (or really want) the messy details, but I would like the bullet points.

Often some people are just nervous and don’t know how to talk about it. I can work with that. But when they WON’T tell you…not aren’t ready to tell you…but won’t tell you, it makes me think that there is something really iffy there.

4. You’ve never had access to their phone.

This is a tricky one. I am not someone that’s like, “Sure, take my phone and please go through everything.” At the same time, I would have no problem leaving my phone in my boyfriend’s possession for an extended period of time when he knows my passcode. There’s nothing on my phone that I wouldn’t want him to see, except perhaps my Justin Bieber inspired iTunes playlist. Have you heard his new album? Fire.

So when I say you’ve never had access, it’s more that you’re denied access. Again, it’s one of those things that makes me question, “Why? What is on your phone that I can’t see?” It’s one thing to not want people touching your phone. That’s me. I don’t let my nephews or nieces play with my phone. I’ve successfully made my 5c work for over 3 years, and I don’t want anyone ruining it. But when you just aren’t allowed to scroll through their pictures or check something online, that’s weird. There’s something not right there.

I would also like to point out that if you are in a relationship where you feel the incessant need to check their phone, maybe you shouldn’t be in a relationship with them in the first place. Just a blatantly obvious observation….

5. You’ve never DTR’d (Defined the relationship. Duh).

You’ve been dating for awhile and the ever looming question of “What are we?” has never come up. 

There are people who don’t want to define relationships for one reason or another. Okay, fine. To a point, I get it. But non-definer’s are usually pretty straight up with it. They’ll normally tell you right away, “I don’t believe in conventional labels.”

But when you’re dating someone who will just never take it to the next step, it really makes me wonder what their motivation. I’m at an age where I’m not dating just to date. I can buy my own meals. I only shave my legs when I absolutely have to. So if I’m dating you AND shaving my legs, it means that I can potentially see it going somewhere.

Some people move slower than others (raises hand). It took me 4 months to admit to my best friend that I even liked my last boyfriend, to which she responded, “Uhhhh, ya think?”  But when you’re dating someone who refuses to make you his girlfriend or even admit that it’s serious without a valid explanation, you might not be dating someone who is serious about you. The truth hurts.

6. You’ve never seen their place.

For me, this is a head-scratcher, especially if you know that they aren’t homeless. It maybe isn’t a biggy in the beginning. I would say it’s not even a dealbreaker for the first few months. But if you’re dating someone who never has you stop in, pick them up at home, or suggests a Netflix night at their place, it begins to strike me as odd. Unless I am going to walk in on a room full of pictures of me and pieces of my hair, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want me to see it.

Some people treat their home as their private place. To a degree, I understand the sanctity of it and keeping it yours. But, I mean, who doesn’t want their boyfriend to come over and cuddle on the couch? Again, it’s just a gaping question of why.

7. You keep it from your friends.

This, in my opinion, is the BIGGEST red flag that you’re caught up in something that’s potentially bad.

I dated a guy after college who my family and friends despised. When I say despised, I’m not being my normal exaggerating self. They definitely despised him. There were immediate concerns, many of them valid. I don’t know, things like he did drugs, he was dating a few other girls, he would go for weeks without contacting me. Ya know, average red flags.

He and I had what I would describe as a tumultuously passionate relationship. We did this little “we’re together / we’re not together” dance for about a year, and every time we reconnected, I would keep it a secret. People knew mainly because they’re not blind. But I was always terrified to tell them.

Why? Because I knew he was so, so, so, so wrong for me. I knew the whole thing was toxic, and I didn’t want anyone telling me what I already knew. I wanted to live in the bliss of forced ignorance and closed my eyes to all of the things that honestly ended up really burning in the end.

Anything relationship that leaves you apprehensive to tell your friends isn’t a good. The end.



So here’s the thing: Ignorance is never bliss. That’s something that we tell ourselves when we don’t feel like putting on our big kid pants and dealing with stuff. So if you’re reading this and keep thinking, dangit, that’s me, I want to ask you a question:

Why don’t you think that you’re worth a good relationship? What about you makes you feel as though you aren’t deserving of a healthy mate? 

Because that’s what it really comes down to, isn’t it? We will choose our partner based on how we view ourselves. We will choose what we think we deserve.

You deserve more than what you think, but that’s completely and totally up to you. Personally, I want to be in a relationship that involves celebration between both him and me, and our families and friends.

If you’re not in a relationship like that, it might be time to reconsider…not reconsider whether you love them enough to stay, but if you love yourself enough to not stay.


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