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Are You in An Unhealthy Relationship? 8 Signs

You’ve been in a relationship with ‘Jack’ for some time now. He’s a decent Christian guy. Months have turned into years and it’s hard for you to even consider being with someone else. But is it an unhealthy relationship?

Everyone knows that you’re planning to marry him. To the outside world, the relationship seems happy, solid and healthy. But something is wrong. Only you and one or two trusted friends know the struggles that you’re facing.

Suppose you end the relationship with ‘Jack’. Without a doubt, you can’t imagine starting afresh with someone else. So much time, energy and resources have already been invested in this relationship.


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What would people think of you if you were to end it? Would other Christians think that you’re a player? Moreover, suppose you never meet another guy. Would you remain single all the remaining days of your life? Isn’t it better to remain with ‘Jack’? At least, you’ll get married.

My story

I was in a similar situation years ago. The guy was a really pleasant guy who loved the Lord. However, a person can sincerely love the Lord and still be unhealthy.

Even though your boyfriend might love the Lord, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you should proceed to marry him. No one is perfect and no marriage is free of challenges. Even so, your mate selection will impact the health of your marriage and it might be wiser to end a relationship now than reap the devastating effects of a tumultuous marriage.

You can check out 6 Tips to End a Relationship Well.

Here are signs that you’re in an unhealthy relationship:

1) Constantly arguing.

No healthy relationship is without disagreements. But if you’re constantly at war with each other before you get married, it will only get worse after marriage when the honeymoon phase disappears.

Right now, you cannot see eye-eye on key issues and sadly enough, every issue is key for both of you. If most of your conversations end in an argument, you might not be a good fit for each other. A loving relationship should not be a never-ending war.

Possible causes:

  • An issue of pride where both parties feel that he or she is always right. As you would know, no one is always right. If anyone thinks that he/she is always right, that person is suffering from a serious case of delusion.
  • Both persons have strong convictions on many areas of life and are not willing to submit to the other.


  • Find someone who lines up with your convictions.
  • Become a woman who carefully and wisely chooses her battles. Some battles are simply not worth the fight. When you marry, oneness is the ultimate goal and not being right.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3

2) Unreasonable jealousy.

A strong relationship should be characterised by mutual trust. Indeed, trust is foundational for stability and loving feelings to flow. If you’re with someone who has serious trust issues, it will be very difficult for the relationship to blossom. Hence, he will always be accusing you of unfaithfulness even if your male cousin calls you!

Warning signs from him:

  • Accusations of you being with any and everyone. You cannot speak with any men without his insecurities flaring up.
  • Checking your phone to view your messages from other men.
  • Controlling who you talk with and who you shouldn’t talk with.
  • Has a temper tantrum when you speak with other men.
  • After speaking with someone on the phone, he demands to know who it was.

There are many causes for distrust such as the unfaithfulness of one of his parents, a former girlfriend or even you; negative influences of other jealous and controlling men in his life; or his own propensity to control others. Regardless of the reason, you don’t need to put yourself under this level of stress. You deserve better. Remember, you’re not married to him so set yourself free. If you’re not married, you’re still single.

3) Controlling and manipulative behavior.

A controlling person wants to restrict your freedom as a human being. For a Christian man, it may be camouflaged as his protection for you. But if that ‘protection’ seems smoldering and you can hardly breathe, perhaps he’s gone overboard. As an adult, no one wants to be treated like a little child.

Warning signs from him:

  • Tries to make you feel guilty to make you do what he wants.
  • Gives you ultimatums.
  • Uses his emotions to manipulate you – shouting, anger, sadness (to feel sorry for him), temper tantrums and the like. Each person manipulates in different ways but it’s the same controlling motive.
  • Wants to isolate you from your family and friends.
  • Has coerced you to become sexually active with him against your better judgement.
  • Never admits that he’s wrong.
  • Never apologizes.

You are not the healing balm for his deep insecurity. He needs a counsellor and not a girlfriend at this point in time.

4) Emotional roller coaster.

This one was shocking for me to learn. I never realised how important emotional health was in a relationship. Whenever I would think of husband-to-be traits, I never listed ‘emotional stability’. But ladies, this is very important. Everyone will have challenges in life, but what matters most is how we deal with those challenges. You need a man who could handle stress.

An emotionally stable man has the ability to intentionally choose his thoughts and actions to handle life’s stressful circumstances. In contrast, an emotionally unstable man sees himself as a victim of circumstances. This person is usually riding on an emotional rollercoaster. And guess what, since you’re with him, you are also on this turbulent emotional ride. It might be wise for you to jump off that ride.

Warning signs from him:

  • Has problems having healthy boundaries with others and often complain about being undervalued and underappreciated.
  • Expressing his emotions is difficult and he gets frustrated.
  • Prone to extreme emotional swings. One minute he’s very happy and the next minute, he’s very sad.
  • Tends to be very hard on himself. Instead of intentionally working to overcome his weaknesses, he wallows in self-pity.
  • When less-than-desirable events occur, he will tend to become frustrated, sad, withdrawn, disappointed and angry for extended periods of time.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32

5) Patterns of abuse.

Unfortunately, Christian men (and women) abuse their spouses. I remember speaking to someone years ago. Her husband was physically abusing her. Were their signs that this would have been her fate? Yes! When they were dating, he got angry and raised his hand to hit her. She excused it, ignored that sign and married him.

Ladies, don’t let feelings blind you into making an unwise selection of a husband. The longer you stay in that relationship, the harder it will be for you to make prudent choices.

Open your eyes to see the hints of abuse committed against you and others. Feelings of love are insufficient to help an abusive person. These persons need a support group, deliverance, counselling and NOT a spouse!

True love is acting in the highest interest of the other person and ending an abusive relationship is acting in the best interest of everyone involved, even him.

We hear a lot about physical and sexual abuse, but emotional abuse is just as devastating. It can destroy your own emotional well-being in a very slow and subtle way.

Warning signs from him:

  • Constantly insults and criticizes you. This can even be done in a very calm way but it’s effect is still demeaning and crippling.
  • Gives you the silent treatment when he is upset.
  • Disrespects and embarrasses you in public.
  • When he’s angry, he may punch the wall; throw stuff; hit the steering wheel, etc. (look out for the signs).
  • Unashamedly flirts with other women in your presence.
  • Apologizes profusely, but ends up in the same abusive behavior again and again.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

6) Fearful to be yourself.

If you intend to marry this guy, you need to be comfortable sharing your position on issues, your feelings, and your individuality without feeling fearful of his reaction. It might be him or it might be your own insecurities. Whatever the source is, your relationship is not healthy. You need to be with someone with whom you can be totally free to be yourself.

Warning signs in you:

  • Fearful of his reaction to certain topics.
  • Afraid of hurting the person so you keep silent about issues that are negatively affecting the relationship.
  • Timid about giving him constructive criticisms.
  • Fearful of what he might do if you ended the relationship. Would there be an outburst of anger? Is he prone to depression? Would he be able to function? Are you afraid of being abused by him?

7) Unbearable selfishness.

Every human is inherently selfish. However, some people have an extra portion of selfishness, not from birth but from growth. I personally think that the main reason is that one or both of their parents (or guardians) have spoiled them ‘rotten’.

When parents fail to lovingly correct their children, the children grow up believing that everyone else exists to satisfy their every whim and fancy. They become unbearable to teammates, subordinates, roommates, and especially spouses.

Warning signs from him:

  • Always willing to take but never able to give.
  • Doesn’t like to share. He will share only if he has something to receive in return (that is, with strings attached).
  • Has the view that everyone owes him.
  • Is very ungrateful and has a strong sense of entitlement.
  • Cannot deal with constructive criticism.
  • Never admits that he is wrong.
  • Never asks for forgiveness.

8) Addictions.

Any kind of an addiction can destroy a relationship. It can be drugs, pornography, alcohol, sex, etc. An addiction is an obsession that controls a person to the point where it begins to destroy his/her life. It has been cited that 65% of Christian marriages end in divorce because of porn addiction.

Warning signs from him:

  • Is extremely moody and irritable.
  • Lives for the next high and has lost the pleasure for human interaction and daily life.
  • Has begun to show signs of mental illness.
  • Easily becomes angry and aggressive.
  • Has lost his motivation to work.


If you’re current relationship is characterized by constant arguing, unreasonable jealousy, controlling and manipulative behavior, an emotional rollercoaster, abuse, fear of being yourself, unbearable selfishness and addiction, then you may need to tell ‘Jack’ to hit the road (as politely as possible).

As women, we are tempted to think that we can change a man and make him better. Years ago, one of my friends lovingly confronted me about my unhealthy relationship. I naively replied, ‘don’t you think God can change him?’ Of course, God can change someone, but the person has to be a willing participant.

Humans are not robots. None of us should enter marriage with the hope that we can change our husbands. Who wants to be someone’s renovation project? Besides, he might very well decide to change his ways when he’s on his last breath after forty years of marital distress.

Final Thoughts

No one is perfect, but each of us must take responsibility to mature in Christ. In order for any of us to mature, we need to come out of our comfort zone and face our giants! God is graciously and consistently giving us opportunities to grow, but too many of us prefer what is easy and comfortable. Therefore, we remain stunted in our development.

As such, you need to marry a mature healthy man and not a boy stunted in his development based on his choices. Align yourself with the right sort of man. And I can attest that there are still many good mature single men out there!

While you’re still single, the ball is in your court to decide what kind of marriage you want. It might be in your best interest (and his) to end an unhealthy relationship sooner than later.

The truth be told…you might be the unhealthy one in the relationship. If you are, please seek wise counsel and humbly get help. The effort will be worth it.

To recap, here are signs that you’re in an unhealthy relationship:

  1. Constantly arguing.
  2. Unreasonable jealousy.
  3. Controlling and manipulative behavior
  4. Emotional roller coaster.
  5. Patterns of abuse.
  6. Fearful to be yourself.
  7. Unbearable selfishness.
  8. Addictions.

Now it’s your turn to express your views. What are some signs that a woman is in an unhealthy relationship? What has been your experience in dealing with this? Please comment below. Thanks for dropping by!


With love & laughter,

Kimberly Garth

Other Helpful Resources:

6 Tips to End a Relationship Well

6 Guys to Resist

5 Essential Qualities in a Godly Husband

5 Tests to Know If He’s the One


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Recommended Books:

“Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse” by Paul Hegstrom

“Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Heathy Relationships” by Henry Cloud

“Changes that Heal: Four Practical Steps to. Happier Healthier You” by Henry Cloud

“Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature” by Peter Scazzero


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Ever feel like you don’t know what a godly man is looking for in a wife? Our Irresistible Godly Woman Checklist will give you clear insights so you can stop guessing and start preparing … while reaching your full potential as a single Christian woman.