Warning Signs for Unhealthy Relationships

If you don’t feel good in your relationship, it’s important to pay attention to that. Maybe you’re confused because your partner is sometimes supportive and caring and at other times critical and controlling. Whatever your situation, there are confidential resources at Princeton that can help you sort things out.

If you’re unsure whether your relationship is unhealthy, think about the following questions:

Is there a person in your life who…

  • Makes all the decisions?
  • Needs to know where you are at all times, or checks up on you constantly?
  • Keeps you from seeing friends or talking to other people?
  • Controls how you dress or who you spend time with?
  • Wants you to quit an activity that you love?
  • Criticizes you constantly or calls you names?
  • Blames you or makes you feel guilty about things you have or have not done in the relationship?
  • Physically hurts or harms you, or threatens to hurt or harm you?
  • Forces you to engage in sexual acts without your consent?
  • Threatens to hurt themselves if you end the relationship?
  • Excuses hurtful behaviors with drugs or alcohol use?

Do you…

  • Feel like you can’t be honest about your feelings or talk about them freely?
  • Often feel unhappy in the relationship?
  • Think you can fix all the other person’s problems?
  • Worry about your safety, or the safety of a loved one?

To truly understand abusive or violent relationships, it is important to consider how the experience differs across people with marginalized identities, including people of color. This article illuminates the differential impact and challenges accessing resources, while these fact sheets from the Women of Color Network include relevant statistics on the experience of interpersonal violence for a broad range of ethnic groups.

Explore Further 

Check out the Relationship Spectrum from the National Domestic Violence Hotline to see how your relationships measure up on the continuum from healthy to abusive. See how respect serves as an anchor for healthy relationship characteristics, as compared to power and control in unhealthy relationships from Youth.gov 

Support is Available

Sometimes, it’s tempting to make excuses, or to misinterpret some actions as an expression of caring, but the behaviors above aren’t signs of a healthy relationship. If any of them exist in any of your relationships, you can contact SHARE to speak with a confidential clinician.