Gina Vaynshteyn
July 21, 2014 6:00 am

Relationships can be awesome. They can make you feel better than eating the perfect slice of ice cream cake, summer rain drizzling on your shoulders, and stretching in the morning after a particularly hard workout, COMBINED. But relationships can also be crappy at times, and when they get too crappy it’s time to take a stand. It’s one thing when your boyfriend or girlfriend snaps at you out of anger every once in awhile, or lets it slip that they don’t like your haircut, but if your partner is constantly doing things that make you feel awful, then you need to address that problem STAT. Here are some red flags you should totally shut down before they swallow you and your relationship whole.

1. Control freakishness

Asking where you are is okay—it usually just means a person cares, and that if something were to happen to you, they would at least know where you were last. Totally understandable. But if your partner is setting time constraints on outings with friends, or not “allowing” you to hang out with certain people, then you need to say something. Or maybe he’s controlling in other forms. Maybe he always wants to pick out the restaurant you go to on Saturday nights. Or perhaps he always insists on choosing the movie you go see. Basically, if you find yourself unable to make half of the decisions, you need to have a strongly-worded chat.

2. Unreasonable jealousy

Is he or she always worried you’re going to cheat on them, even if all you’re doing is going to Target to pick up some nail polish remover? That extreme kind of jealousy stems from major insecurities. We all get insecure sometimes, but it’s not normal if it becomes stifling.

3. Expecting you to change who you are

When you settle down with a person and become involved in a committed, intimate relationship, for the most part, you accept that person for who they are. You accept their bad habits, their diets, their hair, their hobbies, their friends; you accept everything, and you don’t force them to change (unless it’s something life-threatening and dangerous, obviously).

4. Unhealthy fighting

There’s healthy fighting, and then there’s unhealthy fighting. You know the kind I’m talking about: the kind you hear through your paper-thin walls in your apartment. That couple that’s screaming at each other for hours, yelling mean you-can’t-take-that-back things. Don’t be those people, and don’t ever let anyone verbally abuse you.

5. Constant, stupid bickering

Bickering totally happens. When you’re with someone all the time (or most of it, anyway), they’ll piss you off. Maybe they’re driving too fast in your car, or you didn’t like the sarcastic tone in their text message. Totally normal. However if this is your relationship all the time, pause for a sec. Is your partner being mean for no reason at all? Making fun of you? Starting a war just because? Not okay.

6. Completely unbalanced house chores (i.e., you’re the maid)

If you’re cleaning the floors, the bathrooms, doing all the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and your partner’s just like, “Oh yeah, I’ll do nothing,” you need to speak up.

7. Lying

Whether it’s about something huge, like where he was last night until 3 a.m. or something smallish, like spending some money out of your joint savings account to buy new shoes, lying is never acceptable. In fact, lying is one of the easiest ways to totally doom your relationship.

8. Not supporting your dreams

I’m a writer, so I’m pretty much in my office (our second bedroom that holds an IKEA desk and five thousand books) 24/7. It sucks for my fiancé sometimes, and I know it. I always ask him to read my poems before I submit them to journals or bring them to a workshop. And he’s almost always either sharing or liking my articles online, and it’s amazing, and I’m so grateful. But if he didn’t do any of those things, or if he made me feel badly about being glued to my laptop, I don’t know how our relationship would even function. If you’re really into traveling, or art, or cooking, and he’s just not into what you love at all, then it’ll make you feel resentful.

9. Asking you to put his or her needs before yours—all the time

You both have needs. You can’t live for another person’s needs, end of story.

10. Past-life shaming

Look, we’ve all done stupid things when we were younger. We’ve been with the wrong partners, done things we may now regret, and we may have even worn platform Sketchers in the ‘90s. So, there’s no need for anyone to be judgmental or hold an unnecessary grudge.

11. Pressure to get married if that’s not something you’re ready for

Hey, if that’s not something you want right now, then don’t allow your partner to corner you into anything. If things are good as they are, why rush? Weddings, from what I hear, are expensive, time-consuming, and oh yeah, they’re hard to get out of. You both should be on the same page if marriage is on the table.

12. Deep uncoolness to your friends

Like the Spice Girls once wisely said, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”

13. Giving you attitude about sex

Just because you’re in a long-term relationship, that doesn’t mean you have to have sex when you don’t want to. If you’re not in the mood, then you’re not in the mood. If you’re too full, or too sad, or too tired, you don’t have to pretend to be into it. Just say no, and if the person you’re with doesn’t respect that, or acts pissed off, then tell them how you feel. It’s normal for your partner to feel hurt or rejected (and there are nice ways of letting them down), but they need to understand that it’s your body, and your decision. Sex isn’t a one-person act.

14. Apathy

You know when you first started going out on dates and you two couldn’t shut up? You had so much to talk about, and you would notice the other couples sitting around you and not saying a word, and you would note to yourself that you would never be like that. Well, three years have gone by, and you guys have become THAT COUPLE. He doesn’t care what’s going on in your life. He doesn’t ask you how your day is going. When you’re upset, he doesn’t even try to comfort you. You deserve more than that. You don’t have to call it quits, but you don’t have to let a relationship turn into something that makes you feel insignificant.

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