Relationships can be difficult, even when they’re wonderful. But sometimes, they just are plain and simple not good for you. If you find that you’re not feeling the love at the moment, there are some signs to check if your relationship is taking a toll on your self esteem. When you realize that your relationship is wrecking your self-esteem, that doesn’t mean it’s over. In fact, if you feel like the things your partner is doing are things that can be changed, this is a great chance to talk to each other and get a little vulnerable about what’s bothering you. They might be doing something that hurts your self-esteem and not even know it. Depending on how long you’ve been together, this could be the time to see how well you can communicate and work with each other to make things better.
Then again, there are times when you tell someone that they’re taking a toll on your self-esteem and they’ll tell you you’re too sensitive, or should change. But it’s not you — it’s them. Your feelings are your feelings. If your relationship is taking so much of a toll on your mental health that it’s interfering with other parts of your life, that’s emotionally abusive and you should find a way out.
Here are a few signs your relationship might be hurting your self-esteem.
1You find yourself apologizing all the time.
It’s a fact: Women tend to apologize more than men, and some women apologize more than other women. So Rule Number 1 for everyone is to stop saying sorry so much for the tiniest of things. If you do something mean or hurtful, you should definitely apologize. That’s just the rule of being a good friend and human being. But you should not be apologizing all the time for everything, especially if you don’t feel like you should be saying sorry! Don’t let your partner make you feel like you’re doing something “wrong” all the time.
2You’re not wearing your favorite clothes.
This might happen slowly, but if you notice that you’re taking fashion cues from your partner, wearing your hair a different way because they said they liked it, or skipping your lipstick because they complained about it, you need a reality check (we mean that in a loving way). We all have our own styles and makeup routines and favorite hair products — stick to yours. If you’re changing styles because you like it, that’s one thing. But if it’s more about some cutting thing they said about your Millennial pink cardigan than the fact that you’re over Millennial pink, it’s time to start asserting yourself.
3They’re not respecting your friendships.
One of the first signs of any kind of abusive relationship is that the abusive partner starts tearing down the other’s self-esteem and isolating them. Maybe your partner hasn’t gone as far as not “allowing” you to hang out with your friends, but talking smack about them is just as bad. If your partner is insulting your besties to their faces when you’re in a group hang, or just saying mean things about them behind their back on the way home, speak up. A partner doesn’t have to like all of your friends (nor you theirs), but they should respect the friendship that you have with them.
4You start to dread time with your partner.
You should look forward to coming home after work and making dinner with your partner, or go on a day trip with them on a weekend. If you’re feeling like being with them is a lot of work, or that you have to come up with the strength to deal with their attitude before spending time with them, that’s a sign that your self-esteem is taking a hit in the relationship. You should feel relaxed when you’re being yourself, you know?
5You’re not being nice to yourself.
Ah, the eternal inner monologue. We all have rough moments where sometimes we let our internal monologue get a little nasty. Like when you were just a teenager and judging yourself in the dressing room mirror. But we know better now, right? Take a mental note of how you’re talking to yourself — would you talk to your friend that way? That’s that we thought. Don’t start to internalize your partner’s criticisms of you. Be nice to yourself.
6You’re not standing up for yourself.
A healthy relationship means that two people can communicate about the good and the bad things. If you find that your partner is doing things that hurt you (or even just annoy you, like never replacing the toilet paper in the bathroom or letting you pick the movie for movie night) and you’re scared to approach them and talk about it, that’s a big deal. No one wants to start fights, but every conversation shouldn’t be a fight. You deserve to have your needs met.
7You’re accepting things you normally wouldn’t.
This could mean a lot of things. Maybe you’re a clean person who needs things organized, but you find yourself crashing at your partner’s place and it’s totally filthy. Or you don’t like marijuana, yet their friends are sitting on your couch every day smoking joints. Maybe they’ve kissed someone outside the relationship even though you’re monogamous and you’ve let it slide against your will. Look around you. If things are happening that are normally your deal breakers, you need to get out.
Bad relationships happen to good people. And even people with the highest of self-esteem can find themselves feeling down sometimes. But your confidence is precious. Don’t let someone tear it down, especially not the person you’re spending your time or life with.