We all service our vehicles and give it proper maintenance to make sure it doesn’t disappoint us and see our doctor to make sure our bodies are in good health. But sadly, we tend to neglect one of the most important things in our lives – the health of our relationships.
A healthy relationship means that both members of the couple are…
- Communicating with each other: Talking about problems without screaming and shouting; listening to each other, and respecting their viewpoint; being willing to adapt, and to sometimes change their mind.
- Showing respect for one another: Valuing the other person’s culture, beliefs, viewpoints, opinions and boundaries. Also, treating each other in a kind and caring way.
- Demonstrating and conveying trust: Each person is trustworthy and trusts the other person because they have been shown that they are worthy of that trust.
- Honest with each other: Both are open and honest – but are private as well; and they don’t demand the other person tells them everything.
- Equals: They make joint decisions and treat each other well. No person calls the shots, or determines all the rules.
- Able to enjoy their own personal space: As well as spending time together, they spend time on their own. They respect the fact they’re different, and they need their own life, too.
- Decisions about sex are discussed, and are consensual: They discuss sex together, including birth control. There’s no one individual sets the rules and standards here.
SIGNS OF AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
An unhealthy relationship develops where one, or both, of the partners is…
- Failing to communicate: Problems are ignored, or not talked about at all. One or both don’t really listen, and they rarely compromise.
- Acting in ways that are disrespectful: One or both are inconsiderate toward the other person; and they don’t behave in ways which send the message that they care.
- Refusing to trust the other person: One or both is suspicion of their partner’s loyalty. Hence, they make false accusations, or won’t believe the truth.
- Acting in a way that is dishonest: One or both is deceptive, or they lie and hide the truth.
- Acting in a controlling way: One person thinks that they should be the one who sets rules, controls the other person, and says how things should be.
- Beginning to feel squashed and smothered / cutting themselves off from friends and family: One partner is possessive, or feels threatened and upset, when the other’s with their family or spends time with their friends.
- Attempting to pressurise the other into sexual activity / refusing to talk openly about birth control: One partner wants the other to participate in sex, or to engage in different practices against that’s person’s will. Or, one of the partners stops using birth control, or expects the other person to take care of birth control.
SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
An abusive relationship develops when one of the parties…
- Starts to communicate in ways that are abusive: When arguments occur, one of the partners screams and cusses, or they verbally threaten or attack the other person.
- Shows disrespect through acting in abusive ways: This is where one of the partners abuses, harms or threatens the physical safety of the other individual.
- Wrongly accuses their partner of flirting or cheating: One of the partners is convinced – with no real grounds – that their partner is cheating or having an affair. Thus, they lash out verbally, or hurt, the accused partner.
- Refuses to accept responsibility for the abuse: When they fly into a rage or act in ways that are abusive, they miminise their actions and refuse to accept blame. They may even blame their partner for causing the abuse.
- Starts to control the other partner: One partner has no say as the other sets the rules – and arguing against that simply leads to more abuse.
- Does what they can to isolate their partner: One partner has control of who the other person sees, the way they spend their time – and, even, clothes they buy and wear. Thus, they start to lose their confidence and personality.
- Forces sexual activity: The frequency, type and circumstances for sex are determined by one partner, and if they don’t acquiesce it leads to violence or abuse. Also, sometimes violence is included in the sex.