8 signs your relationship is hurting your mental health.

The Road To Mental Wellness > Mental Health > 8 signs your relationship is hurting your mental health.

We often overlook this when it comes to improving our mental health Here are. 8 signs your relationship is hurting your mental health.

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When it comes to our mental health, we need to think, “What are all the ways I can improve it?” Sure, getting therapy and going on medications are essential for many; however, they are far from the only means of improvement.

Take the power of nature, for example. A powerful force against mental illness. So much so, that I strongly encourage everyone, ill or otherwise, to get back to it. See, the one thing we often forget is that our natural habitat is nature. And while we associate “the wild” as a dangerous place, it is far less dangerous in a sense to our mental health. Our manufactured environment? The one built of concreate and metal; deadlines, bills, and trying to build “the dream life?” Well, if I may, it’s this life that can be downright destructive.

if you end up with someone who doesn’t value your goals and passions, temperament and needs, they are devaluing you.

So, one can argue that we need all the therapeutic help we can get. Because we are essentially, factory workers, we are by default, valued not by our own needs, but by what we can bring to the economy. Without getting too political, we nonetheless need to know this. Why? Because it goes against the grain of our purpose. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we are all feeling the sting of depression and/or anxiety.

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In short, we aren’t meant to live this way. We have built up a scenario where one’s angst is always dialed on medium to high. Moreover, our fight, flight, fawn, and freeze, the brain mechanism responsible for anxiety, isn’t designed for it. Rather, it’s designed to prevent you from getting eaten. In other words, it engages when it sees a lion and once you run away from it, your anxiety/flight response shuts down.

We often overlook this when it comes to improving our mental health.

While plenty of us are painfully familiar with the more negative sides of relationships, there are things that get overlooked. For example, facing the end of a relationship – super tough to do.

So, if you have ever found yourself slugging along in what used to be a partnership, you may be denying what’s in front of you. And for good reason. Many of us have a lot invested in our courtships. Plus, when we marry up the idea of our “ideal” love, with the slow and painful end of it, it can for all intense and purposes, be a loss. No different than that of the passing of a loved one.

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When we know something, we’ve invested our love and mental energy in, is over, we deny. And when we deny, we avoid. Sadly, the act of avoidance produces anxiety. Over time, your fight, flight, freeze, fawn system will be engaged more and more. Not a good thing considering I indicated that it’s not supposed to run full-time.

Always keep in mind that your sense of self is fundamentally important to your mental health.

So, then what? One feels trapped – right? Therefore, it makes sense that feeling trapped goes hand and hand with loss of control.

What else you can expect

Keep in mind that while what’s listed below can be majority red flags that the relationship has run its course, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it is. Many couples learn to see these signs and seek help for them. Nevertheless, they should be seen as a sign the relationship needs help.

1. Fighting

All the time! Healthy couples should see some conflict, and many happy moments. A good question to ask, I think is, “Are my partner and I always at war?” If the answer is yes, more often than not – get help. Don’t just medicate yourself to cope with the battles; we all need to figure out when it’s time to retreat.

2. Lack of compromise

Let’s face it, not everyone in this world will see the needs of their significant other. In my opinion, we try to build love on a social template (think Disney). So, what I think we do is force it to conform to an ideal that doesn’t exist. Remember, the “happily ever after” always comes at the end of the movies. Therefore, we must define what we need, who we are, and what our deal-breakers are. Essentially, stop destroying your mental health trying to make it work. And if you end up with someone who doesn’t value your goals and passions, temperament and needs, they are devaluing you.

3. You are living two completely separate lives.

Other than noticing a decline in your mental health, the second most important tell is the life you are leading together. Or to be more specific, the lives you’re living as a couple. For instance, if you feel more like roommates and less like lovers, time to sound the alarm! How much time do you spend together? If the answer is “hardly any,” maybe a good therapist can help. While doing things independently is a must, never spending any time is a warning sign.

The bigger the resentment, the bigger the elephant in the room. Read 8 signs your relationship is hurting your mental health.

4. Defensiveness.

Are you reacting to one another or listening? If this reacting is on the more-often-than-not end of the scale, get help. Think of reactivity as two negative magnets; they always repel.

High anxiety and/or depression: pay attention to how you feel around your partner. Moreover, pay attention to whether the good feelings maintain or increase and vice versa. So, if you feel awful and anxious – when they get home or are up for the day – this is a serious concern to your Well-Being.

5. A sense that you don’t matter

When what you love and when your dreams go unnoticed or are even made fun of, it’s hard to say, “I can see myself spending the rest of my life with this person.” Validation and showing interest in your partner’s hobbies is a great way to cultivate the union of two. Just make sure it’s mutual. Always keep in mind that your sense of self is fundamentally important to your mental health.

6. Both avoid the elephant in the room. Or, opting to fight instead.

There are many times when we know some of the sources of our fights. Therefore, we will avoid. Expecting one partner to do more than other often gets people to this place. While there are many examples of things that need to be talked out, taking advantage is killer. Why? Placing the majority of the domestic duties on your partner will make them resent you. In my view, this is a natural consequence. However, the bigger the resentment, the bigger the elephant in the room. Sadly, this ends up with people being defensive. Now, you’re both primed to react.

7. You’re actively seeking reasons to stay together

Do you find yourself working hard to find reasons to stay together? “I don’t want the kids to grow up without their mom and dad.” “I know they will go to therapy if I ask enough.” or “We have a home and so many things together, it’s hard to walk away.” While there are many more excuses we use to “force the relationship,” if they sound anything like these, I urge you to elevate them.


If you use an excuse like, “We go to Cuba every year, I won’t be able to on my own.” I would suggest that your relationship’s priorities were misaligned with what a relationship is. In my view – doomed from the start.

8. You’re not being honest with yourself

I mentioned denial earlier and I purposefully left it for last. When I think about the single biggest impact on one’s mental health, it always comes down to denial. Regardless of if your relationship is failing or not, if you’re denying your problem, you’re lying. More specifically, you’re lying to yourself. I think we all know deep down when it’s over. Unfortunately, however, we often wait till our mental health is so poor that it forces us to be honest. Thus, we finally leave.

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Now, do these eight things signify the end? No. And it’s important to realize this. However, what’s clear is that they aren’t healthy if they are on the extremes. As people are different, you may find that both parties experiencing these things are open to working on them.

So, work together and if for some reason working together isn’t your thing, than maybe you’re simply incompatible? Whatever you choose, remember: you deserve to be mentally healthy and with someone whom you can build a life.

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8 signs your relationship is hurting your mental health. Copyright 2022

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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