8 signs your relationship is quietly bringing you down, according to psychology

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but not all relationships lift us up. Some, unfortunately, can bring us down, often so subtly we hardly notice.

You see, relationships should add value to our lives, not subtract from it. Yet, sometimes we find ourselves in situations that drain us, instead of filling us with joy and love.

Psychology has a lot to say about this. And today, I’m going to share the eight signs that your relationship might be quietly pulling you down.

Buckle up, because this is going to be a bumpy but enlightening ride.

1) You’re constantly second-guessing yourself

Now, we’ve all had moments of self-doubt. It’s a natural part of being human.

But when it comes to your relationship, there’s a fine line between healthy questioning and constant second-guessing.

If you’re always questioning your decisions, feelings, or worth within your relationship, it’s a clear sign that things are not as they should be.

In a healthy relationship, you should feel secure and confident. You should trust your partner and feel trusted in return.

But if you find yourself constantly second-guessing everything you do or say, chances are you’re in a relationship that’s quietly bringing you down.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should jump to conclusions or make rash decisions. But it’s important to recognize if this pattern exists, acknowledge it, and address it constructively. After all, your peace of mind matters.

2) Joy has become a visitor, not a resident

Have you ever heard that old saying from Maya Angelou? “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” This should apply to our relationships too.

When I was younger, I had a relationship where the good times seemed more like fleeting visitors rather than permanent residents. And that’s just not how it should be.

Psychology suggests that while every relationship has its ups and downs, the overall emotional state should be one of happiness and contentment.

If you find yourself mostly feeling drained, anxious or unhappy, it’s a clear red flag.

A relationship should be a source of joy, not a constant battle. It should inspire you to be the best version of yourself. If it’s doing the exact opposite, then it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate.

3) Everything revolves around your partner

In one of my earlier relationships, I found myself prioritizing my partner’s needs over my own, constantly.

It was as if my life revolved around them. And let me tell you, it was exhausting.

This is something I talk about in depth in my book Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. It’s a deep dive into understanding and overcoming the unhealthy dynamics of losing oneself in a relationship.

Psychology warns us about this very danger – when your identity becomes so entwined with your partner’s that you lose sight of who you are as an individual.

If you find your personal goals, passions, and friendships fading into the background while your partner’s life takes center stage, it’s a sure sign that your relationship might be bringing you down.

A healthy relationship allows room for two individuals to grow and thrive, not just one. Maintaining your individuality is not just important, it’s essential.

4) The absence of arguments

Now, this one might seem a bit counterintuitive. After all, aren’t arguments supposed to be bad for a relationship?

Well, not exactly.

In fact, complete absence of arguments can sometimes be a sign that your relationship is quietly bringing you down.

You see, arguments – or rather, healthy disagreements – are a part of any normal relationship. They indicate that both partners feel safe enough to express their opinions and work through their differences.

But if you find yourself holding back from expressing your feelings or opinions for fear of upsetting your partner or causing conflict, it’s a red flag.

Psychology tells us that this kind of conflict avoidance can lead to resentment and emotional distance. It can also mean that you’re in a relationship where your voice isn’t valued or heard.

So remember, a relationship without disagreements isn’t necessarily a healthy one. It’s important to have a voice and to use it. Your thoughts and feelings matter.

5) You’re always on the defensive

I remember a time when I found myself constantly defending my actions, my words, even my feelings. It was as if I was on trial in my own relationship.

And that’s not a situation anyone should find themselves in.

Psychology tells us that constant criticism or fault-finding can be incredibly damaging to our self-esteem. If you’re always on the defensive, it’s a sign that your relationship might be bringing you down.

In a healthy relationship, criticism should be constructive, not destructive. It should help us grow, not make us feel small.

If you find yourself constantly needing to justify your actions or feelings to your partner, take a moment to reflect. Remember, it’s important to feel valued and accepted in your relationship, just as you are.

6) Emotional intimacy feels like a distant memory

Let’s get real here. Emotional intimacy is the glue that holds a relationship together. It’s about being vulnerable, sharing your deepest fears and dreams, and feeling understood on a profound level.

But if you’re in a place where emotional intimacy feels like a distant memory, it’s time to take notice.

Psychology underscores the importance of emotional closeness in a relationship.

It’s not just about physical attraction or shared interests – it’s about truly understanding and connecting with each other on a deep, emotional level.

If you’re feeling emotionally disconnected from your partner, it’s a sign that your relationship may be quietly bringing you down.

A relationship without emotional intimacy is like a ship without a compass. It might float along for a while, but eventually, it’ll lose its way.

7) You feel a sense of relief when they’re not around

I’ll never forget the time when I realized I felt more at peace when my partner wasn’t around. That was a wake-up call. 

In a healthy relationship, your partner’s presence should bring comfort, not discomfort.

If you find yourself feeling a sense of relief when they’re not around, it’s a sign that your relationship is bringing you down.

Our emotional responses can be telling indicators of our relationship’s health. If the thought of spending time alone feels more appealing than being with your partner, it’s time to reassess.

Here’s the hard truth: Being in a relationship should not feel like a burden. It should feel like coming home.

8) You’ve started to lose sight of your future

This is probably one of the rawest, most honest signs that a relationship is bringing you down: when you start to lose sight of your future.

If you find it hard to envision a future with your partner, or worse, if you can’t see a future for yourself at all because of the relationship, it’s a serious red flag.

Having a shared vision of the future is crucial in a relationship. But equally important is maintaining your personal dreams and aspirations.

A relationship should never feel like an end to your personal growth or ambitions. If your relationship makes you doubt the possibility of a positive future, it’s high time to take a step back and reflect.

Final thoughts

Recognizing these signs is the first step towards making positive changes. Remember, every relationship has its challenges, but it should never cost you your happiness or self-worth.

If you’ve resonated with any of these signs, I recommend checking out my book, Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. It’s a practical guide to help navigate through such situations and reclaim your life.

Remember, you deserve a relationship that uplifts you, not one that brings you down. Keep striving for that. Always.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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