The fear of being alone may drive you to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, the cost of doing so can be much higher than you may realize. When a supportive, loving, caring and respectful atmosphere isn’t available at home, you and your partner may both suffer the consequences.

An unhealthy relationship can take its toll in a variety of ways. Both you and your partner may feel unwanted, dejected, unworthy or even depressed. The negativity and lack of self-worth in your relationship may carry into other areas of life and damage you in your career, your interactions with other loved ones and most especially deep down in your psyche.

What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship and what can you do about them? Here are a few examples of common issues that signal serious problems:

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* You and your partner fail to communicate – When a respectful, open and caring exchange of thoughts, ideas, needs and wants isn’t shared between partners, an unhealthy relationship is evident. Communication is essential for building up and maintaining a good relationship. It is also vital for both partners in a relationship to feel part of a bigger and better whole. This issue can be tackled by facing it head on and learning the rules of good communication. Even if your partner is resistant, you can make attempts to work on communication skills yourself.

* You or your partner feel taken for granted – When one partner does all the work and the other one does not pitch in or little time is spent together, a feeling of being taken advantage of can result. This is a major sign of an unhealthy relationship. To face this issue head on, use communication skills to discuss your feelings in the open. Take steps to show your partner you care. Explain the actions that would make you feel more valued, appreciated and loved.

* Intimacy has gone out of your relationship – Intimacy is a major part of a healthy, loving relationship. Going beyond sex, intimacy can also include communication, cuddling, simple signs of support and even just holding hands. Making sure that you do your part can help bring the intimacy back into your relationship. If romance and passion are lacking and are seriously missed, leading to an unhealthy relationship, get creative to spark the flames. Little gestures can go a very long way on this front.

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* You or your partner feel unsupported in personal development – A healthy relationship is one that provides plenty of support for the development of the individuals within the union. If you or your partner feel you’re prevented from developing interests, skills or talents, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. To remedy this, learn to support each other, not only within the confines of acting as a “couple,” but also individually. If your partner loves to sing, support her efforts to develop that talent, If you are passionate about painting, ask for the same support in return.

An unhealthy relationship can stifle the individual and damage the spirit. If you are living in one, take steps to bring your concerns out in the open and address them together as a couple. When you are able to do this, you may find that a seemingly troubled union can be put on the path to become a healthy, nurturing relationship that grows better over time.