Love + Sex, Love

These 10 signs will tell you how good your relationship REALLY is

No one said that relationships are perfect, but I wish I had known these sooner.

No one said that relationships are perfect.

In fact, how can they be? The combination of two or more very different people deciding to make a commitment to one another can be a difficult space to navigate. You won’t always get along, and there won’t always be rose petals on hotel beds every Valentine’s Day.

But there are certain behaviors in relationships that are red flags for significant issues down the line. Abusive behavior manifests itself in ways that both the abuser and abused might not even realize, making it important to seek help when you feel confused or unsure.

And remember: heartbreak, though painful, is completely and totally normal. There are so many different ways to deal with it, but don’t let it scare you into making the right decision for your physical and emotional wellbeing.

1. They keep score.

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Like I said, no relationship is perfect. You’ll have your ups and downs, that’s just part of getting to know someone.

But when your partner decides to keep a metaphorical ‘scorecard’ of every bad thing you ever did in your relationship, it’s time to consider whether or not they’re really happy being with you. Scorecard keeping is a sign that your partner may be unhappy but settled. It can also hint that they enjoy bringing up the past to put you down.

Healthy relationships mean having to forgive the past and move on.

2. They refuse to compromise.

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Compromises are an important part of any relationship, and not just the small things either.

For example, if every time you go out on a date you’re doing what your partner wants to do, that might implicate that they don’t really care about your desires, your likes, and dislikes. They’re happy so long as they get their way, and that can have severe implications in the future.

Imagine that you’re both still paying off student loans but your partner decides to buy a new car without consulting with you. Or you want to have kids somewhere down the line but your partner won’t even entertain the conversation. All these big, important life decisions cannot be made by one person only.

Being able to compromise on decisions in a way that both parties can be content with is important for building a healthy, equal relationship.

3. They beat you when you’re down.

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Everyone goes through rough times every now and then. It could be failing a test, losing a best friend or even being retrenched. Having a partner who will be there to support you through those tough times is fundamental for any healthy relationship.

But if your partner blames you for your difficulties, puts pressure on you to get over it or fix the situation, it is possible that they don’t really care about your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Tough times like the ones mentioned above can alter a person’s mental health for good. Many of us suffer from depression and anxiety because of the stresses of modern life. And you’re going to need someone who’s going to have your back; for better and worse.

4. They feel entitled to sex.

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Consent. Consent. Consent.

A date does not entitle you to sex. Three months of dating does not entitle you to sex. Marriage does not entitle you to sex. Every single time you engage in sex with your partner or partners, each person needs to give their consent.

If you are in a relationship where someone is pressuring you to have sex when you’re not ready, or even when you just don’t feel like, that is constituted as sexual harassment. If they coerce or force you into sex, no matter what kind, it is considered rape.

If this happens to you, seek help immediately. Find a trusted friend or family member to turn to, or reach out to national hotlines and help centers for support. You can get out.

5. They cheat.

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Of course, Beyoncé can forgive Jay-Z for cheating on her if she wants to, that’s her prerogative and it’s yours too.

But what I want to address here is cheating in polyamorous relationships. There are many misconceptions about polyamory, like believing that it involves no commitment or communication about sexual partners. In reality, it is possible to cheat in a polyamorous relationship. When a set of boundaries is established, they have to be respected. Partners who deviate from those boundaries are violating the trust of that relationship. In other words: cheating.

This goes for monogamous relationships too. For some, dancing with someone else at a club is not considered cheating. For others, mild flirting can be considered grounds for breaking up. Establish those boundaries and make sure that both you and your partner respect them.

6. They give you ultimatums.

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“It’s either me or x-important-thing-in-your-life.” is the worst thing you could hear from a significant other.

Your partner could expect you to give up education, work, lifelong dreams, family and friends for them, and none of it is okay. But of course, we need to look at context.

For example, in same-sex relationships where one partner’s family is homophobic, it can be difficult to deal with that kind of rejection and animosity. But if you love your family and want them in your life, no one can ask you to give them up. Instead, you can work through it together and find a solution that doesn’t involve distancing yourself from those you love.

7. They try to fix your problems with marriage or kids.

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Let’s be honest: lifelong commitments like marriage and kids will not solve your problems.

Sure, you may be going through a rough patch at the moment, but binding yourself to your partner is not going to solve anything. In fact, it is most likely going to result in resentment.

When it comes to marriage, of course you have the option to divorce or annul. But children are a no-going-back commitment. When you make the decision to bring a child into this world, you do it with the understanding that this kid is a whole human being, not an arts-and-crafts “I’m sorry!” card to stick in the middle of a feuding relationship.

8. They refuse to acknowledge their privilege.

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My fiancé is white and I’m Indian, and to cut a long story short, our differences in race have been an issue.

When your partner has certain privileges that you don’t have it is important to acknowledge and talk about that with an understanding of systemic oppression. When my partner and I met we were just 16 and 17 years old, and barely knew how to comprehend our this.

But now that we’re older and wiser about issues like white privilege, we are able to talk about it openly and honestly. When I experience discrimination (because yes, racism does exist) I need my partner to be there for me. Not to defend white people’s actions with a young #notallwhites, but to listen and empathize with my situation. And hell, even defend me in the arena.

9. They verbally and physically abuse you.

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Of course, any kind of verbal and physical assault is completely and totally wrong.

Your partner hurling insults and curse words is abuse.

Your partner hitting, punching or pinching you in any way is abuse. Things like throwing objects in your direction is also abuse. In fact, anything that puts your physical being in danger is considered abuse.

If this happens to you, seek help immediately. Find a trusted friend or family member to turn to, or reach out to national hotlines and help centers for support. You can get out.

10. They can’t accept change.

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Repeat after me: everyone changes.

It is ridiculous for someone to expect you to remain the same from the time they meet you till five years down the line. People can even change from month to month, that’s a normal part of being a human being. You know what is strange though? Expecting someone to look and act the same way they did in high school, when they’re 28 years old.

Your partner being unable to accept change can be a sign that they aren’t happy with your growth. And if they simply aren’t happy with the person you’ve become, that’s normal too. It’s okay to break up with someone when transitioning into different stages of your life, in fact, it’s very, very normal.