In relationships, saying “I love you” isn’t enough.
In order to create a happy, loving partnership, both parties should exercise integrity, which is really just love in actionable terms.
Integrity is finding ways to uphold the “I love you”s and letting your partner know love, consistency, trust, and protection are present in the relationship.
What happens if your relationship doesn’t have integrity?
It’s not always easy to spot but there are some key signs you can watch out for:
1. A History Of Lying
Honesty and trustworthiness are the bedrock of integrity. If your relationship doesn’t have those, you’re working on very shaky ground.
Lying is bad enough but if the relationship has a recurring history of lying, it’s definitely a giant red flag.
From small white lies to giant secrets waiting to spill over, lying could be a symptom that you’re uneasy with your partner and are not comfortable being truthful to them.
No matter how benign the lies might be, this recurring habit can prove detrimental to your relationship and can pave the way for bigger, more dangerous lies.
2. Constantly Pushing Boundaries
Your partner is supposed to have an understanding of your limit.
Relationships are healthiest when they have baseline levels they can refer to.
During fights, do you hold back on certain insults or do you let the anger get out of hand and say whatever’s on your mind?
Boundaries should be ever-present in any relationship.
Without boundaries, it’s not uncommon for respect to rupture soon after.
Without respecting each other’s hard lines, it’s difficult to achieve some baseline respect and see each other as partners, especially during fights.
3. No Regard For Personal Space
Boundaries aren’t just emotional. Individual space and privacy are all very important aspects of a healthy relationship.
Does your partner snoop on your phone? Stalk you on social media? Do they constantly ask to be invited into your home even after you’ve said no and asked for space?
Boundaries are essential for maintaining a healthy relationship. This extends to things in the bedroom as well.
Do you feel comfortable being intimate with them?
Are they accommodating of you when you say you don’t enjoy certain things in the bedroom?
Your relationship should be a safe space, not only for you, but also for your needs of privacy.
4. Inconsistency In Emotions
Relationships should be founded on healthy, consistent emotions. You don’t have to feel butterflies in your stomach to be in love.
Love isn’t defined by giddiness or ecstasy.
At the very least, you and your partner must feel comfortable and secure in each other’s feelings.
Do you feel like the relationship is unpredictable?
Do you feel overwhelmed with love and affection one second and then completely shut out the next?
Feelings of love in relationships ebb and flow, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re having to constantly guess what your partner might be feeling about you.
5. Conversations Are Lopsided
Invasion comes in many forms. In dynamics such as romantic relationships, it can even manifest in the simplest of ways such as everyday conversation.
If one of you has to constantly circle back to conversations or even feel like you’re not getting a word in the simplest decisions like choosing where to eat, it’s worth looking into your conversational behavior.
Are you really talking to each other or simply exerting force over one another?
Without any conscious intervention, this intrusive habit can easily bleed into other aspects of your relationship.
6. Blame Is Passed Around A Lot
When you fight, are you more concerned with resolving the issue at hand or passing blame around?
Partners that don’t know how to take ownership of their individual actions, regardless of “who started it first”, are doomed to split up.
Without ownership, it’s easy to get lost in a storm of emotions and escalate fights.
But if you both take ownership of your own actions and apologize for the choices you make during fights, it shows that you care about your partner and the relationship.
7. The Communication Is Mostly Defensive
The ideal relationship is a relationship with easy and open communication.
You and your partner both feel comfortable telling each other anything — from the most random trivial thoughts, to deep and personal secrets.
This is one clear sign of a relationship filled with respect and integrity.
But if you feel like talking with your partner is closer to a police interrogation than anything else, then you’re not in a great relationship.
There’s no trust or openness between you two, and this comes from a bad history of using information against each other, or constantly blaming each other for one thing or another.
You and your partner don’t think of each other as confidants, but as someone who is ready to chew them out for something they did wrong.
8. The Relationship Is Ambiguous
Do you actually know where you stand with your partner?
Sure, you might sleep together, go on dates together, and spend most of your free time together, but if you asked your partner right now, would they actually say that you two are official?
Or would they say something like, “I’m not really into labels”?
If it’s the latter, then that’s a huge red flag showing disrespect and underappreciation.
Not only should the people around you clearly know that you two are a real, legitimate relationship, but you should know that as well.
9. Behavior With Each Other Is Inconsistent
Integrity is all about consistency: you have the respect and love for each other to always treat each other the same way, with the same love and appreciation no matter what happens.
Your love should be solid and rock-hard, meaning it takes the biggest issues for you two to feel differently about each other.
But if your behavior with each other is inconsistent, then it means your relationship is built on a weak foundation (if it has any foundation at all).
True partners shouldn’t be so hot and cold with each other, going from “I love you forever” to “We’re breaking up!” in the space of an hour.
10. Apologies Are Rare
We all make mistakes, and we all need to have the integrity to recognize that.
No matter how smart and careful you might be, you will make a mistake at one point or another, especially when it comes to the entire act of trying to balance and share your life with another person.
So you shouldn’t crucify your partner for a mistake.
But they should be able to recognize when they’ve made one and apologize for it.
They should care more about your feelings and thoughts than their own pride and ego, and prioritize giving you sincere apologies when you deserve it.
And of course, this should go both ways!
11. Fights Are Mean and Personal
Disagreements are totally natural in a relationship; you’re not always going to be on the same page, and there will be times when you want to go one way and your partner wants to go another way.
So learning how to navigate even your worst disagreements in a healthy and positive way is the best thing you can do for your relationship.
One of the worst things you can do? Turning objective disagreements into mean and personal fights.
It shows a clear lack of integrity in a relationship when you and your partner turn to bitter, deep, personal insults whenever you get into a spat.
You mock each other and aim for your worst insecurities, the things that only you and your partner know.
This is one of the most toxic traits in bad relationships because it shows you that your partner isn’t a safe space for your secrets and inner thoughts; they’re just waiting to use those things against you at the first opportunity.
12. Too Many Compromises
One of the biggest pieces of advice most people give when it comes to having a healthy relationship is making compromises.
With disagreements comes the need for compromise, or meeting each other in the middle.
But it becomes a problem when you’re constantly making compromises for each other, or worse, when one person keeps making the compromises while the other just enjoy it.
You need to realize that there’s a line between compromising for a relationship and simply giving your partner everything they want without thinking about yourself.
And this is something you really need to think about.
If you’re constantly compromising for your partner, then why are you even with them?
It shows that you’re not nearly as compatible as you should be.
13. Lack Of Forgiveness
The last thing you want to do in a relationship is hold a grudge.
This is the person who should bring happiness and light into your heart when you see them, so when it gets to the point where you can’t forgive them anymore — or simply you don’t want to forgive them — then it becomes problematic.
Relationships with integrity must be relationships with forgiveness.
We have to give each other the space to make mistakes, and we have to know how to forgive those mistakes.
Only when both partners are willing to play along with the act of apologizing and forgiveness can they both feel safe doing it.
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