Love Shouldn’t HurtFiled under: News
Valentine’s Day is a time for love, and everyone deserves to be treated well, but sadly not all relationships are as loving as they should be. So, how can you tell if your relationship is healthy? And what red flags might you spot to warn you that things may not be as healthy as you would like?
Positive relationship goals could include:
- Open Communication, where both partners can express their views and agree to disagree if necessary
- Feeling Safe
- Having fun together
- Mutual respect
- Companionship, but time apart as well
- Maintaining your privacy and independence
- Making shared decisions
- Healthy sex life; mutual consent
- Mutual trust
- Resolve conflict without feeling threatened
- Having other friends and outside interests
Eight Basic Steps to Maintaining a Good Relationship
- Be aware of what you and your partner want for yourselves and what you want from the relationship.
- Let one another know what your needs are.
- Realise that your partner will not be able to meet all your needs. Some of these needs will have to be met outside of the relationship.
- Be willing to negotiate and compromise on the things you want from one another.
- Do not demand that a partner change to meet all your expectations. Work to accept the differences between your ideal mate and the real person you are dating.
- Try to see things from the other’s point of view. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with one another all the time, but rather that both of you can understand and respect each other’s differences, points of view, and separate needs.
- Where critical differences do exist in your expectations, needs, or opinions, try to work honestly and sincerely to negotiate. Seek professional help early rather than waiting until the situation becomes critical.
- Do your best to treat your partner in a way that says, “I love you and trust you, and I want to work this out.”
At Behind Closed Doors, we often use the “Cake of Life” analogy – life is like your cake. You get to choose the flavour! Everybody’s ‘cake’ is made up of different slices, depending upon their priorities – some people might have a large slice for their career, others might include family, hobbies, values and interests – anything that is important to you. Your relationship with a significant person should be the icing on the cake – something that enhances the other aspects of your life and makes them even more fulfilling. It shouldn’t be the whole cake! Abusive relationships can be like over-loading the icing so much that the cake itself starts to disappear. You might stop seeing your friends so often, change your career goals or future aspirations, quit college or change your job. In the end, you are just left with a sticky mess.
What does an unhealthy relationship look like?
- Not much communication, which may often be aggressive or abusive
- Being made to do/encouraged/coerced into intimate things you aren’t comfortable with
- Your partner having access to your passwords for social media and your phone
- Your partner makes all the decisions
- You always seem to get the blame for arguments or anything else that goes wrong
- You often feel uncomfortable or unsafe around your partner
Sadly, domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography. It doesn’t always include physical violence – power and control are at its root, and this can take the form of intimidation, coercion, psychological and emotional abuse, and controlling finances. In fact, most victims say the psychological abuse is far more damaging than any physical abuse they experienced.
Abuse can start very low-key, so in the early days people don’t see the need to ‘make a fuss’ but it typically escalates in frequency and severity, often so gradually that the person doesn’t notice.
You don’t have to put up with it! Everyone deserves to be treated with care and respect.
Recognising this, and learning to love yourself, might be the best gift you can give yourself this Valentine’s Day.
If you are in immediate danger, call the police 999.