5 Signs Your Relationship Is Tumultuous AF, According To Experts, & What To Do About It
Do you feel like your relationship is like a rollercoaster? Up and down and slightly out of control; the lows are brutal but the highs are so good that you can’t quite let go. Well, those might be red flags and signs your relationship is tumultuous AF, and potentially becoming unhealthy. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to take a good, long look at whether continuing on is the right path for you or your partner. What makes these kinds of relationships so tricky is that while they can be really toxic, they are also filled with the kind of passion that can make them hard to leave. The first step in taking control of your emotional wellbeing is to first recognize what the dynamic really is — and if it's worth saving.
While the signs are often clear that something is off in the relationship, sometimes knowing how to handle it can be really confusing. But then, matters of the heart often are. To help shine a light on what to look out for if you suspect your relationship has become too tumultuous, I reached out to the experts. Here's how they say you'll know if your "passionate" relationship is actually becoming a toxic one — and what to do about it.
1. You keep having the same fight — and it’s escalating.
Do you feel like you’re stuck in a time loop and that you just keep having the same fight over and over again — the only difference that it seems to be getting increasingly heated? If so, Christie Tcharkhoutian, professional matchmaker at Three Day Rule and marriage and family therapist, says that’s a clear indication of an overly tumultuous relationship. “This is a sign that your relationship has developed an unhealthy dynamic and may be going in the wrong direction,” Tcharkhoutian tells Elite Daily. However, she says it is still possible to turn things around. “If this is the case, seeking the help of a therapist is a helpful tool to give perspective and slow down the co-created dynamic to understand that the content of the argument is not as important as the process of feeling stuck and not able to resolve the underlying issue,” she advises.
2. You can’t forgive the past.
In a healthy relationship, both partners have to be able to forgive and put the past behind them, or else they risk falling into that fight loop. This is why if the past never seems to stay in the past, Tcharkhoutian says that is a sign that your relationship is becoming unhealthy. “Relationships are a school of forgiveness, and if it is impossible to deal with current issues without forgiving and letting go of past hurts, this creates an unhealthy dynamic in which neither of you will be able to move forward into a future of forgiveness, acceptance, and grace.”
If that is striking a cord, Tcharkhoutian offers some advice. “It's very important to reflect on if there are unresolved issues from the past that you need to address, rather than carrying resentment and letting that creep up and sabotage the current state of your relationship,” she explains.
3. Your relationship feels like a rollercoaster.
While all relationships tend to have their ups and downs and ebbs and flows, it shouldn’t feel like you’re stuck on a rollercoaster hurtling back and forth between the two at 100 mph. This is why Dr. Patti Feuereisen, a psychotherapist specializing in sexual abuse and author of Invisible Girls: Speaking The Truth About Sexual Abuse, tells Elite Daily that if your relationship is “basically a rollercoaster,” it’s a sign that it’s too tumultuous. That can manifest itself in anxiety and insecurity with your partner, she warns.
“You get anxious and you are not an anxious person. You can start to feel angry at the smallest things, you stop trusting yourself,” according Dr. Feuereisen. Those are all big signs that something is seriously off in the relationship. What can make that complicated is that those lows also come with highs — often sexual ones, says Feureisen. “The sex continues to be great — makeup sex almost always is, and in tumultuous relationships, there is always a lot of make up sex. The problem is that couples confuse great sex with great all-around connection.”
4. You begin to doubt yourself.
One of the most subtle signs of a tumultuous relationship can also be the most damaging, and that’s when you begin to doubt yourself, warns Feuereisen. “There is a lot of gaslighting in tumultuous relationships, [so] you start to doubt yourself,” she says. If you sense that is happening, Feuerisen says it’s time to set some boundaries and surround yourself with people who can help counteract that.
“Keep your friendships, keep boundaries around your time,” she advises. It may be subtle, but gaslighting is a form of emotional and mental abuse, and you should never have to stand for that kind of treatment in a relationship.
5. Everything has become a trigger.
If your relationship seems like it could blow up into a fight at any moment, that’s another red flag, says Tcharkhoutian. “If you feel constantly triggered by your partner, or your partner feels like they are walking on eggshells or across a minefield, this is a sign that your relationship has become tumultuous and unhealthy,” Tcharkhoutian explains. In this case, she says it’s time to stop and seriously reevaluate the health of your relationship.
“It's important to reflect and take emotional inventory on your own individual emotional health,” she says. “Often we are stressed out with work or other events in our life that seep into our relationships if remaining unchecked. Do the necessary self-care to ensure that you are being your best self and able to show up well in your relationship and not scapegoat your partner for external stress outside of your relationship.” You should expect the same of your partner. If they are not willing to do that work, then it’s time to move on.
While there is some hope for a tumultuous relationship to improve, it will take work and willingness on the parts of both partners for self-reflection and to make the necessary changes. It’s not easy, and not all relationships are built to last. How do you tell the difference? Feuereisen says to trust your instincts. “When you feel too up and down, listen to your gut. It takes two to engage in a tumultuous relationship — but it usually takes one to see it and either break it off, or get to counseling and try to work it out. “
Ultimately, it’s about being honest about whether or not the relationship is meeting your needs and, more importantly, if you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically safe with your partner. If the answer to any of those is “no,” then it’s time to let go and move on. You deserve happiness and a healthy relationship, so don’t settle for less.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.