8 warning signs you’re in a relationship with an emotionally unstable person

Life has its ups and downs – and it can get to us all at some point.

When life’s troubles have made a home in your mind, it can make you a bit emotionally unstable.

This impacts all your relationships, especially romantic ones – and not in a good way!

Dating someone who’s emotionally unstable can be tiring, confusing, and downright hurtful sometimes.

Think you might be dating an emotionally unstable person? Here are 8 warning signs that might be the case!

1) They don’t know what they want

A clear sign someone is emotionally unstable is if they don’t know what they want.

They won’t know what they want when it comes to your relationship, their career path, hobbies, friendships, or even what they want to do with their weekend!

When you aren’t in a good place emotionally, making decisions is tough. You either become extremely impulsive (see more on this below) or you become the most indecisive person ever.

When it’s the latter, this can be extremely tiring for you as the person they’re dating. They might not want to commit to the label of a relationship, but they’ll want to keep you around and act like your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Or they might always tell you they “don’t know what they’re looking for” when you ask where things are going between the two of you.

Either way, it’ll be hard to navigate.

2) They blow hot and cold with you

One minute they want to be with you. The next minute they don’t.

Some days they’re head over heels in love with you and want to be with you forever. Other days they aren’t sure how they feel or if “this” is what they want.

This is one of the clearest signs someone you’re dating is emotionally unstable. Because their emotions (and love) towards you are all over the place!

For them, things will seem normal because it’s all rationalized inside their head.

But for you, it’ll be confusing and hurtful. And most of the time, you won’t know where you stand with them.

3) They have rapid mood changes

It won’t just be their love for you that blows hot and cold. When you’re dating an emotionally unstable person, it seems like their entire personality changes at the drop of a hat!

In your head, you consider there to be multiple versions of them – a happy one, a sad one, a hot-headed one, a fun one, an anxious one, etc. etc.

Sometimes it’s funny how quickly they switch up on you. But sometimes it can be tiring and take its toll.

When you come home from work or an evening out, you never know which version of them you’re going to get. When you’re texting, they’ll be sending love hearts and laughing faces, and then it’ll all disappear and they’ll be as blunt as anything!

You don’t always know what you’ve done wrong. And sure, it could’ve been something you said. But you might not be the problem here.

They might be emotionally unstable and taking it all out on you…

4) They pick fights without a reason

When someone’s emotions are all over the place, the first thing you’ll notice is their mood swings. The worst thing about their mood swings is that they’ll pick fights with you for no reason at all!

Imagine you’re out for dinner together. You’re chatting and having a lovely evening. You look over at a couple who walk past on their way to their table. It was a normal glance that lasted a split second.

Suddenly, your partner is furious. They’re mad that you looked and want to know why you looked. You tell them there was nothing to the look. You just glanced because they walked past.

But your partner won’t drop it. They’ll want to argue with you about it. And they won’t let it go no matter what you say.

Sound familiar?

If these types of things happen in your relationship, and you know there’s no real substance behind the argument (i.e., you didn’t actually do anything wrong), your partner could be emotionally unstable…

5) They make rash decisions about the “big” stuff

Impulsiveness isn’t considered a good trait. That’s because of its consequences. When you’re impulsive, you can make quick decisions that aren’t the best decisions.

Some people are just a little bit impulsive. They see a bag they like in the store and they buy it without thinking. It’s not the best trait but it’s also not the worst!

Other people’s impulsiveness stems from an emotional instability inside themselves. They make quick decisions that aren’t based on logic. And they sometimes regret them and end up going back on their words…

Say you get into a fight about something small and they break up with you. Or pack their bags and tell you they’re moving out forever.

Later, they take it all back and say they weren’t thinking straight.

This is a rash decision. And it can cause trust issues and a ton of hurt for you.

It won’t just be with your relationship that they’ll make rash decisions. It’ll be with other parts of their life, too. They might be enjoying their job one day and quit it the next. Or friends with someone then hate them on a whim.

And it’s a clear sign they’re a bit emotionally unstable!

6) They constantly break promises

If you haven’t noticed, the theme of an emotionally unstable person is that they go with the wind! Which applies to promises they make and plans they commit to.

You might have a plan to meet on a Saturday night. But they cancel on you last minute to see their friend instead. They do it the next Saturday, too. And the next and the next…

Or you might be booked in to go for dinner with your family. At the eleventh hour, they want to chop and change your plans. They’ll want to cancel or only come for after-drinks. They might even want you to change your plans to match theirs.

It won’t be because they’re anxious. It’ll be because they can’t decide what they want to do or who they want to do it with.

And those feelings will come from – you guessed it – their unstable mind.

7) They don’t handle criticism well

The slightest bit of criticism and a friend of mine loses her head. And I don’t mean she gets a bit upset, rants, and then moves on.

I mean it plagues her day, consumes her every thought, and sticks with her for days, weeks, or even years after!

She is (admittedly) a little unstable emotionally. Why? Well, firstly, she can’t handle her emotions. When something upsets her, it takes over.

Secondly, her self-esteem is a little worse for wear. So she can’t just brush off people’s critiques. They deeply impact her sense of self and send her into a downward spiral.

This isn’t a criticism (pardon the pun!) of said friend. It’s just how she is and a product of how she’s feeling within herself right now.

If your partner is a little similar and handles criticism in the same way, they might be a bit emotionally unstable, too.

8) They can’t stay faithful

People who cheat aren’t emotionally stable in their relationships. When you’re deeply in love with someone, you don’t even think about being unfaithful.

But when you’re not 100% about this person, staying faithful doesn’t matter to you.

In my experience, people cheat because they’re bored, want drama in their lives, and/or can’t decide what they want.

Emotionally unstable people love drama, and cheating is drama (the hurtful kind, of course). Plus, their indecision about your relationships means they want to stay with you but see what else is out there, too.

It’s hurtful and unacceptable, but the reason for their cheating could stem from their emotional instability.

Final thoughts

Tons of things can cause a person to be emotionally unstable.

Their job could be wearing them down, a past relationship could have caused a million triggers, or a childhood trauma could be resurfacing and making their thoughts a little hazy.

Their instability could also stem from poor self-worth and low self-esteem.

Either way, dating someone who’s emotionally unstable can be a roller coaster ride – and not in a good way!

If your partner is aware of their downfalls and working on them, this is good and healthy. Provided you’re seeing progress, staying with them can be the right thing to do.

But when someone is unaware of their outbursts, refuses to work on themselves, and continuously hurts you via their actions, this isn’t so good.

Naturally, it’s your decision what you do, and only you know the ins and outs of what’s really going on (and how it’s making you feel).

But just know their emotional dysregulation isn’t your responsibility. And it might be time for a long chat or even to call it quits if all you’re left with is hurt at the end of the day…

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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