The Differences Between A Healthy Relationship & An Unhealthy One

The Differences Between A Healthy Relationship & An Unhealthy One ©iStock/Geber86

Unhealthy relationships know no age, sex, race or hemisphere. They pop up all over the place when two immature people decide they want to make an item out of themselves. These couples probably think that their relationship is stable and totally healthy, but there are glaring telltale signs that their union is anything but holy. The difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one is night and day.

  1. Healthy couples fight in private; unhealthy couples fight in front of their family and friends.There’s no reason to blow up at each other in front of your loved ones. It’s awkward and embarrassing for them to witness the primitive display and they’ll be even less impressed when you complain about your significant other later. Healthy couples keep their disagreements to themselves and work things out in private — they don’t go at it publicly like territorial monkeys.
  2. Healthy couples leave their kids out of arguments; childish couples use their kids as weapons. Kids don’t deserve to be used as pawns in petty cat fights. They might be the cause of a lot of stress and financial woes, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to use them against your significant other when life gets rough. It’s up to the adults to solve the big problems themselves. Kids shouldn’t be used as messengers between angry parents who can’t be bothered to communicate with each other. Spoiler alert: kids raised this way will turn into adults with the emotional variation of a stoned sloth.
  3. Healthy couples call things like they see them; unhealthy couples feign ignorance.Healthy, mature people don’t shield themselves with denial when they think about the state of their relationship or life in general. If things are crappy, they recognize that, take steps to figure out why, and take action to fix what they can. They don’t sit around and let their lives deteriorate further. Letting everything slip into the abyss is no way to live, but unhealthy couples find it easier to pretend that none of their problems exist in the first place. Why confront those problems when you can watch crappy reality shows and eat nachos, right?
  4. Healthy couples maintain privacy; unhealthy couples plaster their entire love lives all over social media. Most people don’t think, “Awww how cute!” when your social media profiles look like you swallowed a bunch of chick flicks, romance novels and potpourri and barfed up the mixture into cyberspace. We get it — you guys like mashing your lips together and writing “adorable” comments on each other’s posts. Healthy couples keep the inner workings of their relationship to themselves. Posting 63 pictures from their latest date night doesn’t even cross their minds.
  5. Healthy couples fight constructively; unhealthy couples aim low. There’s an intelligent way to work through your disagreements, and insulting each other isn’t it. Bringing up irrelevant events from the past and deliberately trying to piss each other off will never solve anything. Healthy couples stay on topic and try to reach an agreement together while the unhealthy couple fights about their household plants and somehow ends up arguing about their trip to Vegas four years earlier. Problem solved? Not even close.
  6. Healthy couples let things progress naturally; unhealthy couples rush into stereotypes. Unhealthy couples have a mental picture of how their relationship “should” be, so they do everything in their power to fit into that mold: they must date for X months, get married after X years, have X kids, etc. The typical life script doesn’t fit everyone, and healthy couples are fully aware of that. They do what suits them and give a gigantic middle finger to the naysayers who pressure them to follow a certain path.
  7. Healthy couples call it quits when it’s over; unhealthy couples delay the inevitable. Healthy people don’t want to waste their time in a relationship that clearly isn’t working. There are better things out there, and they know that. They’re strong enough to let each other go, even if it seems like they’ve been together for an eternity. Unhealthy couples are terrified of being alone and don’t want to part with the familiar, no matter how doomed it may be. This is destructive as hell, but they don’t care and keep trying to “make things work.” They will let this stretch out for years, even though it’s like trying to fix shattered glass with gravy.
  8. Healthy couples maintain their identities; unhealthy couples lose themselves. New relationships are exciting and cause a flurry of emotions. Unfortunately, some people get so swept up in the joy of being with another person that they change completely. They lose sight of who they were before they got into the relationship and have no idea who they are outside of it. Healthy couples are much stronger than that. They’re not afraid to compromise and work as a team, but they are still separate individuals at the end of the day. They don’t become completely dependent on each other and form an emotionally inseparable radioactive monster from hell.
  9. Healthy couples want to make each other happy; unhealthy couples stop caring. Healthy couples never stop caring about each other’s joy- it’s second nature to them. They enjoy making each other happy and being happy together. People in unhealthy relationships let themselves fall into a stale complacency. They get too comfortable with each other and stop trying. They will likely grow to resent each other and blame their relationship for things that they have full control over. Don’t let the flame die out, people.
Lauren Clark is a writer and news curator based in Denver, Colorado with bylines here on Bolde and at While she’s vehemently anti-social media, you can find her on LinkedIn.