Turn on any episode of reality TV, listen to a few songs on the radio, sneak a peek at the tabloids, or watch the latest romantic comedy and you’ll see it.
Drama. Especially relationship drama.
Those tear-jerking, gut-wrenching, anger-inducing, ups and downs of romantic relationships have become commonplace. And we are a society that is growing dangerously accustomed and immune to them.
We see it as the norm. Part of the equation. A piece of the pie. And it’s wreaking major havoc. That stress is unneeded, unwise, and unhealthy.
If you’re involved in a relationship that’s characterized by more drama than an 8th-grade theater club, remember this: Healthy relationships are characterized by peace, maturity, and mutual respect.
They’re defined by life, nourishment, honesty, integrity, and peace.
Relationships aren’t meant to be this complicated. They really aren’t.
So if drama has become all too commonplace, how do you know if you’re in a relationship that’s unhealthy? Here are 16 ways to tell.
Your relationship has too much drama if….
• You are on-again-off-again more times than a game of musical chairs.
• You spend more time arguing than you do actually communicating.
• You often leave a conversation feeling frustrated and unresolved.
• Your relationship is plagued by jealousy, mistrust, and fear.
• You are constantly having to review and rehash boundaries that have been crossed again and again.
• You feel like you’re at an amusement park because of the constant emotional roller-coaster, but without the cotton candy.
• You work through issues by having sex, instead of actually working through issues.
• You receive (or deliver) more criticism than encouragement.
• Your friends have to regularly ask you if you’re “back together”.
• You regularly find yourself sifting the truth from the dishonesty.
• You or your partner regularly exchange words that are degrading, hurtful, and mean.
• You don’t feel the freedom to engage in open communication about how you really feel.
• You’re having to deal with constant issues involving “other women” or “other men” that shouldn’t be part of the relationship.
• You find yourself “getting over” problems instead of “working through” them.
• You’re commonly concerned about whether or not your significant other is being faithful to you.
• You often wonder if you have made the wrong choice in this relationship.
If you find yourself in a dating relationship that’s starting to resemble an episode of “Couples Therapy,” you need to ask yourself what is really going on, and why you’ve allowed yourself to stay.
Relationships aren’t meant to be this complicated. They really aren’t. Healthy relationships are marked by peace. They happen naturally. They don’t have to be forced (but that doesn’t mean they don’t require work). Seek this kind of a relationship: a relationship that’s filled with grace and maturity. Strive for that. You owe it to yourself.
And remember, what you experience during dating will always, always, always be multiplied and magnified in marriage. So do yourself a favor, and quit while you’re ahead.
A version of this article originally appeared on the True Love Dates.
Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from over 150 articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.