5 signs your relationship is unhealthy and how to improve it

5 signs your relationship is unhealthy and how to improve it

Yes I know I had promised to address the big issue of ED (erectile dysfunction) but my writing team just wanted to go with the love theme as tomorrow is Valentines Day (we should always appreciate our loved ones daily, though – just my old skool thinking!).

But back to science(this is a medical blog, not a soap opera)… so… my resident shrinks, psychiatrist Dr Sylvia Kemunto and Psychologist Kevin Gachee, thought that we should address issues they have been facing at the practice in last one week the numbers have surged (we offer free consultation – see details below).

Let us take it away!

Relationships are one of the most significant and meaningful parts of our lives. Research has shown that strong relationships are a key component to living a long, happy and healthy life. However, there could come a point when a relationship starts to deteriorate and becomes unhealthy.

Here are the 5 signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to solve them:



Communication plays a major role in whether a relationship lives or dies. Poor communication is always a recipe for disaster and many relationships fail as a result.

A key and common example of poor communication is avoidance, i.e. not talking about or ignoring certain issues affecting the relationship.

This causes the issues to build up, resulting in big fights or arguments and not seeing things eye to eye. Poor communication further hinders the relationship from growing and moving forward.

It is important to have respectful, open and honest communication whether it is about likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, problems etc. Only with good communication can a relationship survive and continue to grow.


Physical and emotional intimacy is a basic need of human beings especially when they are in a relationship.

Without physical intimacy (e.g. hugging, kissing, touching, hand holding, sex etc.) and emotional intimacy (e.g. empathy, compassion, lust, love etc.) the relationship is likely to deteriorate and may not survive. For instance, if the couple lives together, without intimacy, they will become more like housemates/roommates.

Emotional and physical intimacy go hand in hand, or rather, they complement each other. They are signs of love and caring for your partner which in turn contribute to a healthy and lasting relationship. Why not try to build on intimacy this Valentine’s Day in the following ways:

  • Spend quality time together
  • Share words of appreciation/compliments
  • Have physical contact, touch etc.



Trust is the major foundation of every relationship. It is impossible to have a healthy relationship without trust. It is the oxygen of the relationship. Trust issues can occur due to various reasons. Some examples are:

  • Infidelity/cheating/ dishonesty
  • Hurt feelings from previous relationships
  • Low tendency to trust

Building/rebuilding trust takes a lot of time, patience, determination and commitment from both individuals in the relationship. It is also important to identify whether the trust issues are due to your partner’s actions or your own issues, or both.

Use this Valentine’s Day to build/rebuild, improve and develop more trust. For this to occur, certain steps must be taken. These are:

  • Be honest
  • Be consistent
  • Be forgiving and willing to build/rebuild trust
  • Listen
  • Be accountability for your actions (good or bad)
  • Pay attention to your partner (and their likes/dislikes)
  • Show affection and appreciation
  • Letting past mistakes go (i.e. not dwelling or bringing up hurtful events that happened in the past)



Unrealistic expectations can easily stress and destroy a relationship. Some individuals base their ideas about how a relationship should be on romantic novels, TV shows and movies, and once their expectations are not met by their partner, conflict arises.

Some examples of unrealistic expectations to think about this Valentine’s Day are:

  • A good relationship has no arguments/disagreements – No relationship is perfect and no two people see things in the same perspective. Although arguments have their bad side, they can help strengthen relationships by increasing understanding of each other.
  • Your partner will ALWAYS know and understand your feelings – It is impossible for your partner to ALWAYS know what you are thinking or automatically understand how you are feeling without you telling them/helping them understand. The key is open communication.
  • Your partner will ALWAYS be romantic – Romantic gestures take planning and time, therefore it would be unrealistic and exhausting to ALWAYS be romantic, without interfering with other responsibilities and obligations. (i.e. work, finances etc.)
  • The relationship cannot survive unless you spend ALL free time together – Spending some time together is essential in terms of strengthening the bond between you two. However, ALWAYS spending time together is unrealistic and unhealthy. It is important to give each other space to engage in hobbies and to spend some time with friends and family. Space is also important as it usually makes the heart grow fonder of your partner.

Understanding that no relationship is perfect, and accepting your partner for who they are, is the key to a long-lasting and healthy relationship.

  1. ABUSE

Abuse is defined as the cruel or violent treatment of a person. Abusive relationships are damaging and harmful to your well-being. Therefore, it is quite frankly impossible to have a healthy relationship when one of the partners is a victim of abuse.

Abuse can be emotional and physical. Emotional abuse does more damage psychologically. It involves your partner constantly and deliberately yelling, name calling/insulting, blaming, isolating, threatening/scaring, embarrassing/shaming, ignoring, belittling, ridiculing or criticising you. Exposure to emotional abuse increases the chances of the victim developing psychological conditions such as chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Emotional abuse can gradually escalate to physical abuse. This violence can include hitting, punching, biting, kicking, burning, scratching, strangling and hair pulling. Physical abuse causes severe/traumatic injuries to the head and body, which in turn can result in death.

It is important to recognise the warning sign of an abusive relationship. If you are in an abusive relationship, the best solution is to find the courage to leave as soon as possible for the sake of your health and well-being.

I hope this piece helps you in improving your relationships

feel free to contact our counsellors at any time any day through our contacts on Facebook, Twitter and Skype calls for free counsellling from the comfort of your home. For those that prefer physical sessions.That too is available.


Happy Valentines Day! Tanto Amore

Housecall Daktari Team @hsecalldaktari. facebook.com/housecalldaktari/. housecalldaktari@gmail.com. Call us on +254 717 583 111


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