As a therapist for survivors of domestic violence, I think this issue deserves “awareness” for more than one month. Nevertheless, I wanted to share some information in today’s post about what HEALTHY relationships look like.
When I’m working with a survivor it’s not always appropriate to rehash the unhealthy relationship traits they have seen. In order to move towards prevention we have to talk about what we DO WANT, not just what ISN’T tolerated.Awareness requires action, in my opinion. Click To Tweet
What’s the sense of being “woke” or aware if we won’t demand changes in our relationships?
Let’s review 5 aspects of healthy relationships (Adapted from CORA-Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse http://www.teenrelationships.org)
Communicating Openly– Respecting each other’s opinions. Being able to accept responsibility when one partner disagrees with you. In relationships, many experts say it’s not about “being right.” Disagreements will happen but they should be fair, without insults and without making threats. Threatening to leave, to withhold money or the car or to take the kids is manipulative behavior.
Respect – Valuing each other as you are. Listening to their feelings and honoring their physical safety. Don’t make everything about “you.” Their needs, values and busy schedules are honored and considered in the relationship. It’s healthy to have talks about personal goals as well as goals you can share as partners.
Enjoying Personal Time – Each partner respects when the other needs time apart. Your partner isn’t jealous or possessive when you spend time without them. This could include time with family. Spending all your time together is not healthy. Neither is isolation. Jealousy isn’t love. It’s control.
Mutual Sexual Choices– Partners can openly talk about sexual choices and respect each other’s decisions. Force, manipulation and guilt are NOT part of this discussion. Each partner also respects birth control methods of the other partner.
Partnering About Responsibilities & Finances – Money decisions are made together. Financial arrangements are beneficial to both partners. It is NOT healthy for one partner to be controlling with “allowances”, access to the bank or to manipulate their partner’s role at work. Decisions about budgeting are made together.
These lessons are not exclusive to adults. Teaching children and teens about healthy relationships at an early age is recommended. Remember, kids take their cues from adults. Abuse is learned behavior.
**If you or someone you know needs assistance because of domestic violence, please contact 211 to find an agency near you or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Seek information from a safe location and a safe internet source.**