Is your relationship healthy or unhealthy?
In a healthy relationship, you will find:
- Mutual Respect
- Freedom to be yourself
- Freedom to voice your opinions and make choices
- Freedom to socialize with your friends and family
- Freedom to do things on your own
- Freedom to share decision-making power
- Freedom to say “no”
- Freedom to refuse a date
- Freedom to control your own money and possessions
- Freedom to end a relationship
- Freedom to live free from fear and abuse
In a healthy relationship, you will also find:
- You feel like you belong and are an equal.
- You can figure out what you need and take care of yourself.
- You can listen to your true feelings.
- You can speak your mind, change your mind, and question the world around you.
- You can be different from your family, your friends, and media ideals and images.
- You can feel and be safe.
- You can become independent.
- You can follow your passions and be the real you.
In an UN-healthy relationship, you will find:
- Someone else trying to control you
- Extreme jealousy and possessiveness
- Explosive anger
- Threats and intimidation (i.e. threats to harm you or threats of suicide if you won’t do what he/she wants)
- Verbal abuse (i.e. name called, made to feel worthless through words)
- Humiliation (i.e. getting spit on, public shaming)
- Stalking (including always “checking up” on you)
- Physical abuse including but not limited to:
- Arm twisting
- Non-consensual sex ( a.k.a. sexual assault)
- Don’t get married for the wrong reasons. These include: fear of loneliness, a feeling that you’re incomplete without a spouse, avoiding an unhappy home life, financial dependency, concern that you’ll be labeled an “old maid,” the need to “save” the other person, or the attitude that “a man will take care of me for the rest of my life.”
- Be yourself. If you find it difficult to be yourself with your partner, examine the relationship carefully. If you have to change your beliefs, opinions, or values to keep the relationship then this may not be the best one for you.
- Get to know your partner. Learn how he/she relates to men/women in general, how he/she treats his/her family and friends, and how he/she deals with frustration and anger. Find out about past relationships. Did the relationship involve abuse?
- Communicate your goals, needs, beliefs, personal philosophies before marriage. Be clear on such issues as children and finances.
- Trust your gut-level feelings about the person you plan to marry. Natural doubts about marriage are normal; deeply felt concerns about the person signal problems. If you have doubts, contact a counselor to discuss ways to resolve these problems before you get married.
- Be realistic about expectations of change after marriage. Conflicts left unresolved before marriage to not miraculously disappear after marriage. In fact, many conflicts may be magnified after marriage.
- Finally, if you get into an abusive relationship, get help immediately; don’t wait until a pattern of violence has been established. Use your support system. Contact us for counseling or shelter!