1. Your self-esteem / confidence / self-belief
Some relationships bring out the best in us, others leave us feeling unworthy and unsure of ourselves. If you find you are full of self-doubt and are less confident than you were at the beginning of the relationship it might be time to analyze where this decrease has come from. A healthy relationship should provide a solid base from which to explore the world and achieve the best you possibly can. If your relationship is keeping you ‘small’ and diluting your strengths it’s a warning sign to take notice of.
2. Your independence – personal and financial
Being in a relationship can be a wonderful, loving experience. It’s always important to maintain your independence and resist morphing into one mutual identity. See your friends; enjoy interests that don’t always include your partner and keep a separate bank account for yourself. Independence is healthy and always helps you feel you are in the relationship because you want to be not because you need to be.
3. Your right to decide for yourself – freedom of choice
Never give up your opinions and freedom of choice to keep another person happy. Compromise is important and a win-win situation is the ideal outcome, but be wary of partners that try to control you. Whether it involves negative comments about the way you dress, the way you cook and/or clean the house or the friends you have – choose for yourself and do not be manipulated into doing things you don’t agree with in order to keep the peace.
4. Your right to be you
Protect your fundamental characteristics and personality traits and never give up the ‘essential you.’ We all change to a certain degree in relationships but be careful that you don’t try too hard and end up losing yourself in the process. Those who love you will adore the real you and all your imperfections. Constantly trying to change yourself will erode your confidence and self-esteem and it can be demoralizing.
5. Your happiness
There are times when our fear of being lonely is bigger than our wish for genuine happiness. As a result we remain in relationships that don’t bring out the best in us. We stay in lack-luster relationships because we fear the unknown and ultimately do ourselves a huge disservice. You only have one life – try not to waste it in a relationship that makes you miserable. Give up a relationship that undermines your sense of happiness and fulfillment during a long-term basis. If you feel unappreciated and unhappy, ask yourself why and assess whether the relationship you are in has anything to do with your sadness.
6. Your dreams and goals
Never give up your dreams for the sake of a relationship. A relationship should be a spring board from which to chase your dreams rather than a place that keeps you chained and disillusioned. Jealous and/or insecure partners try to stifle a creative, passionate mind and keep their talented partner where they feel they can maintain control. If this sounds like your relationship, realize this is unhealthy. Happy relationships encourage adventure and help the people in it to move forward and progress rather than stagnate.
7. Existing relationships that are important to you
Good friends can be hard to find and if you have a few wonderful and loyal friends, never give them up for a relationship. Any partner that expects you to give up friendships for him or her is selfish and likely controlling. A healthy relationship allows friends and family to happily co-exist alongside it. See it as a warning sign if your partner tries to isolate you from your friends and family.
8. Your self-respect
In our pursuit of love we can sometimes cross self-respecting boundaries that we wouldn’t normally consider crossing. Whether it involves engaging in behaviors that you find demeaning or whether you allow yourself to be treated in a disrespectful way, this is another sign that the relationship is not good for you. Never give up your right to be treated with respect and decency. If someone crosses this line you should get rid of him or her right away. If you allow this treatment to continue it will become worse and you will end up despising yourself for allowing it.
9. Your identity – don’t morph into your partner too much and lose yourself in the process
When we immerse ourselves in a relationship, we tend to take on the interests and habits of our partners. There is nothing wrong with this process as ‘mirroring’ helps us to bond and feel more in tune. The problem comes in when we do not have a strong sense of self to begin with and we take on too many characteristics of our partner instead of developing our own identity. If we are too influenced by our partners we may stop making decisions for ourselves and veer off the path of true self-discovery.
10. Your decision-making power
Think of decision making as a muscle that weakens if you don’t use it often. The more we don’t defer in decisions from our partners the less likely we will be to make future decisions and think for ourselves. This doesn’t mean you have to make every decision alone but be aware of habits you may have of double checking with your partner before making a decision – especially if it is for something fairly inane, such as a small household purchase. Think for yourself and keep making decisions, no matter how small. This helps to maintain your sense of individuality as well as your ability to stand on your own two feet.
Relationships can be heaven but they can also be hell. Take regular health checks on your relationship and use the above pointers to guide you through the process of assessing how happy and healthy your relationship is.
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