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Just the other day, I had a conversation with my buddy about the unhealthy relationship he’s currently in. It’s no fault of his own, necessarily, as it takes two to tango. But, unfortunately, when things start to go south with a girlfriend, it’s the one thing you can’t work extra hard at fixing. Emotions are tough, after all.

Think about it. If you want to complete a marathon, you go out and run a lot to get in shape. If you want to start a new business, you hustle on the side and make it happen. If you want the “ideal” relationship — however you define it — you can’t just work extra hard and get it. Nope, because of so many factors, unhealthy relationships happen.

Most of us can become blind or almost accept the dysfunction in a relationship. We know that nobody’s perfect, so we think that it’s normal to fight, to have bad communication or have problems linger. That’s not so in healthy relationships, though, so you need to know the signs that make it clear you’re in an unhealthy relationship so you can make the necessary steps to either get out or try to make it work.

Things aren’t fun

Feel like you and your girlfriend are constantly having those coming to Jesus conversations every single night? You know the ones; when both of you stare blankly into one another’s eyes, feeling hopeless but not wanting to give off the appearance that the spark is gone. It’s a false identity, though, with the two of you knowing that things just aren’t fun anymore and, for whatever reason, you’ve gotten to a point where simple dinner dates turn into arguments.

Arguments or disagreements linger

Speaking of arguments, when you feel like they’re happening a lot, that’s a strong sign of being in an unhealthy relationship. However, while arguments and tension happen, that’s just a part of life, when the issue at hand lingers for days, weeks or months afterwards, that’s when you know the relationship is unhealthy. For instance, if a girl finds out about your past and is upset, that’s fine, and should be expected. But if it ends up being a topic of conversation after you’ve both talked about it for months, with her using it against you as a reason for trust issues, that’s not positive.

There are secrets and shady activity going on

Think your girl’s texting her friends bad stuff about your relationship and/or is hanging out with a different group of people without including you, that’s a clear sign things are unhealthy. Relationships are all about trust, communication and honesty, and if you feel like your girlfriend’s jeopardizing those things with her own agenda, you need to recalibrate and think about breaking things off.

You feel timid

We all know that the first three months of any relationship are always the best. It’s when both people can live freely, say and do almost anything they want to and, typically, it ends with a lot of laughs. Problem is, that will wear off — and quicker when in an unhealthy relationship. When that happens, one or both people might feel a bit timid about speaking his/her mind for fear of starting an argument. Sure, it’s with the best intention in mind, but relationships require communication and humility, so neither side should feel scared to speak their mind about an issue.

There’s emotional or physical abuse

This is, arguably, the worst thing about an unhealthy relationship. As someone who has experienced both, when there’s emotional and/or physical abuse, it’s a dilemma that, as a man, can mess with your head. Sure, you want to forgive the person for slapping you a few times for something you did that upset her, but when it becomes routine, that’s when you’ve got to man up and call it quits. As for the emotional abuse, that’s one of the toughest situations to be in, because the mind will be curious about what’s going on, but, because your girlfriend won’t open up or be honest, you spin your thoughts over and over. Manipulation is real, so understanding how to spot emotional abuse is a skill worth having.

People often make stupid mistakes that can ruin their relationships. Read about these five easy mistakes you might be doing.

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