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Is this an unhealthy relationship?
I have a tendency of getting into emotionally abusive relationships and this is something I am currently working through in therapy.
I am in a relationship currently which is definitely healthier than my past relationships but lately there has been some behaviour which I’m unsure whether I should be concerned about.
I’m posting this because I have trouble discerning what is acceptable in relationships, so I was hoping to get some insight.
1. he spends all of his free time playing video games. Today he had a bad day, said two words to me, and hopped straight onto his console.
2. Semi-related to the above, he doesn’t help me with any responsibilities around the house. He has lived in my house for about a year now. He works full-time, and I work part-time and study.
3. he jokes about everything. I quite like this, but sometimes the jokes hurt my feelings. I tell him this but he continues to make the same jokes. For example, whenever he proof reads one of my assignments, he always starts by saying “alright, let’s see how much of a mess I have on my hands” but then insists it is a joke.
Now that I’m writing this, I feel pretty silly and these things are clearly bad. The issue is, however, all of my close girlfriends have similar complaints about their partners (or worse) so it’s hard to assess what’s normal and what isn’t 😞
Thanks in advance for your advice and support ♥️ I don’t know where I would be without BB!
it is wonderful that you have chosen to write your concerns in this forum and equally great that by writing them down, you seem to already have given yourself a new degree of insight. That is a huge achievement because often when we have difficult situations on our hands, we cannot see what would otherwise be quite obvious to us with the right amount of emotional distance. So you are on a great path already and I do not mean this condescendingly but rather with admiration.
One thing that drove me to respond to you was your reference to your friends at the end of your contribution. I felt compelled to write, maybe out of personal experience. In my opinion, at the end of the day, it does not necessarily matter what your friends experience and complain about. What matters most is how something makes you, and only you, feel. If you feel that some of the words and behaviours of your partner hurt, belittle or ridicule you, then that behaviour is likely not ok. It may be ok with someone else or it may not. But it is not ok with you and in the relationship between the two of you, what you feel and experience should absolutely matter. Especially if you have already advised that some of those jokes hurt. If I were you, I would trust my gut feeling because I have learned that that is often spot on. Also, I was wondering whether you could speak to your therapist about your concerns and possible strategies to manage them or address them in a constructive way. Especially if you have already tried to address some of this and not seen the improvement you would like. I always found it really helpful to "war game" scenarios before big discussions or decisions and I do not mean the expression war game in a destructive and antagonistic way. It is simply planning, so that you have a good way forward for potential conversation and hopefully they lead to constructive solutions.
I hope this helps and makes sense. My main point important to me was to say - you do not need to compare your situation with anyone else because only you can feel the way you feel. There is no right or wrong about it. And if something does not feel right, it is absolutely ok to address and change that. Your feelings matter and by standing up for them, you are showing yourself some important self-care and self-love.
Please do not hesitate to write again and stay in touch in the forum, it can be such a helpful mechanism when times get a bit difficult or confusing. Warm wishes, Ree.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me!
I have a lot of trouble working out what is normal in a relationship so you make a good point about following my gut and what feels ‘abnormal’ for me.
I’ve been told that because I’m gentle person there’s a chance I attract people that thrive off exploiting that 😞 it’s upsetting but I guess life is a process and I will some day learn to refine that.
Hello Autumn, you can only put into a relationship what you receive back, and if you are the person receiving all the criticism it's a failure at getting any positive change because you are always questioning yourself.
I don’t always criticise my partner. I have raised the issue about him not contributing to house duties about 3 times since he moved in (which was about 1.5 years ago).
Thanks so much for your response. It is helpful to hear from someone that went through the same thing. It’s a shame things did not improve after your discussion 😞 I’ve just had my final discussion and will see how things go from here.
Glad to hear you’re with someone better fitting now! 🙂
I'm really happy to hear that you have had the discussion again, and you seem to be clear with yourself that its the final one, which is great if that's what you need.
Relationships aren't always easy, we wouldn't have to "work" at them if they were. In my experience, what makes a relationship unhealthy is when it makes you feel less than you are. Only you can determine that. I have friends who do everything for their partners, and love doing so. They thrive on it, and not having that feeling of being needed is worse for them. For me, I could never be like that. For me, relationships are partnerships, 50/50 and requires equal time and effort from both people.
I guess what I am saying is that each individual needs to be able to get what they need from their relationships. Only you know what you need, and it seems you have worked out that you aren't getting that currently. Its super awesome that you have made the effort to fix things though, and give your partner another chance. It really difficult to throw away 1.5 years that you have invested in this, so giving another chance is fine :). Just remember to trust yourself, and if things don't change do what is right for you.
Remember we are here for you and let us know how things go, or ask for more advice if you need
Yeah it’s really difficult for me to assess when I’m ‘putting in work’ versus it’s not working. I guess because I’ve raised it for so long with no improvement and I know I personally need a 50/50 divide, that’s my answer.
It’s a shame because we’re otherwise really compatible and good friends so it seems a waste 😞 but that is life I suppose.
Thanks for the really helpful advice!
Hello Autumn, thanks for getting back to us.
A 50/50 share is what a couple always want but what is disappointing, when you are both attracted in so many different areas is that one person does most/all the hard work while the other spends his free time playing video games, that's not a fair combination because he would have contributed to what you have to clean up.
Raising this issue 3 times in over a year as you're a gentle person only highlights the good in your heart, but fair is fair, we all have difficult days, but the work still has to be done.
I admire you, but any help would help.