Red Flags Indicating Dire Problems in Relationship
The goal of this article is to provide questions to consider and alert you to red flags that signal things are desperately not right in your relationship and serious soul searching is needed. Although the list is written using the word partner, most of the problems signal serious problems in any significant relationship. Counseling can help resolve these issues or help you sort out whether is better for you to leave the relationship.
1. Chronic abuse of any variety: sexual, emotional, physical, financial. Any sexual or physical abuse in a relationship is a signal that counseling is urgently needed.
2. Your self-esteem has deteriorated as a result of being in this relationship.
3. Your relationship feels like a contest, battlefield, or some other interminable game.
4. Nothing you do seems to please your partner.
5. You don't have fun together.
6. You don't feel respected or don't respect your partner.
7. Issues don't get resolved in a way that brings you closer together.
8. S/he maintains that the problems in the relationship are mainly your fault.
9. Your partner refuses go to counseling or work on their issues.
10. You don't enjoy talking with your partner.
11. Your children are traumatized by your relationship.
12. Infidelity is not a deathblow to a relationship, but it is important to resolve it. It may indicate some problem with the relationship, a sexual addiction, or childhood trauma/abandonment issue.
13. Sexless relationship. Physical intimacy is important to a healthy partner relationship.
14. Major problems like addiction and personality disorders will destroy a relationship without major intervention. If you have spent years with a person who is chemically dependent or very difficult, and s/he still hasn't changed, it is time to consider how much more you are willing to invest.
15. Your child is being abused by your partner.
16. You fantasize about injuring or murdering your partner.
17. Some life events often require counseling for successful negotiation of the life passage in a way that keeps the relationship intact. Examples include death of a child, serious illness, or loss of a job.
Sometimes these issues get resolved. Sometimes, the issues become deadly. If your relationship has even one of the above issues, you have probably done some serious procrastination. It is time to resolve the issues or move on in as honorable way as possible.
A Good Goodbye
Nobody can tell you when to end a relationship. That is a decision only you can make. Others can listen deeply, be supportive of your deepest self, and provide feedback and information, BUT, only you can make that decision. Love does not solve everything, but if your are still reading, you may need to resolve the relationship by ending it.
Sometimes it is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and the other person. You can both go on to find someone more suitable. And if the other person is refusing to work on their issues, the termination of the relationship might be the best thing that could happen to him/her. If the other person wasn't willing to change before, perhaps now s/he will do some serious self-examination. But at least one of you will have a chance of surviving this sinking ship.
It is respectable to admit a mistake. Good closure with others makes space for good beginnings with others. Good counseling can support a person in getting through the break-up of a relationship (including divorce) with less stress and more fairness.
Counseling can also assist with Resolving the issues that led to the dissolution; Achieving Closure; Recovering Self-Esteem; Establishing an Authentic Life of Your Own; Identifying What You Want in a Relationship; and Establishing and Maintaining a Successful New Relationship. Jumping right into another relationship is usually a bad idea and usually recreates a similar drama. Enlisting the help of a skillful counselor can increase your odds of success.
©Noreen Wedman 2008