Are You in a Dysfunctional Relationship or a Healthy One? 15 Ways to Tell the Difference

Every relationship is different. Something that works for one couple might be complete and utter chaos for another, but there are some things that are universal signs of an unhealthy relationship. It can be hard to put aside the denial and look at your relationship with a clear mind to decide whether it’s really working for you. The first step in converting your dysfunctional relationship to a functional one (or simply making the decision to get the hell out) is being aware of what isn’t working.

1. A dysfunctional relationship is full of petty fights that you never quite get around to resolving. A healthy relationship means you’re able to talk through your disagreements, no matter how big or small.

2. In a dysfunctional relationship, you probably feel like spending time with each other’s family is an obligation. In a healthy relationship, you both at least attempt to make a real connection with each other’s closest family members.

3. A dysfunctional couple gets jealous of each other’s accomplishments, while a healthy couple is genuinely happy for and supportive of one another, no matter what.

4. A dysfunctional couple has to know where their other half is every single second of the day, while a healthy couple knows that unexpected things happen and sometimes returning every single text isn’t a top priority.

5. A dysfunctional couple can’t go anywhere or do anything without each other. A healthy couple has their own separate interests, and is capable of being apart for various lengths of time without having a mental breakdown.

6. A couple that’s dysfunctional is constantly criticizing and trying to change each other, while a healthy couple accepts each other as they are, flaws and all.

7. Your relationship is dysfunctional if you always feel like you’re settling and the grass must be greener on the other side, but it’s healthy if you can’t imagine there being anyone better out there for you.

8. A dysfunctional relationship will make you feel like you’re never good enough and that you have to be someone you’re not in order to keep him happy. A healthy relationship will make you feel comfortable in your own skin and unconditionally loved.

9. Your relationship is dysfunctional if you constantly have to nag him to get his act together and you feel like you’re his second mother. It’s healthy if you each shoulder your share of the responsibilities and feel like you are in everything, the good and the bad, together.

10. A dysfunctional relationship feels like an unpredictable roller coaster that you can’t get off of, while a healthy relationship remains at an even keel most of the time.

11. Your relationship is dysfunctional if you often think about what it would be like to end it and daydream about breaking up. Your relationship is healthy if breaking up never even crosses your mind, no matter how tough things are at the moment.

12. A dysfunctional couple hides things from each other, while a healthy couple shares everything because they want to, not because they feel like they have to.

13. In a dysfunctional relationship, you feel like your significant other is holding you back or bringing you down, but in a healthy relationship, you feel like together you’re so much stronger than you ever would be on your own.

14. A dysfunctional couple accuses each other of cheating on a regular basis and is uncomfortable with any time spent with members of another sex. A healthy couple trusts each other, and doesn’t let jealousy control their emotions.

15. A dysfunctional couple is just killing time with each other until something better comes alone, but a healthy couple is on the same page. They know where the relationship is going, want the same things, and are committed to achieving their goals together.

By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to, contributes regularly to, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.