While David and I were talking about something, I was reminded of what is and isn’t healthy in regard to a relationship. According to various experts (as well as real life experience)…
In an unhealthy relationship, one or both of you:
- Try to control or manipulate the other.
- Make the other feel bad about her/himself.
- Ridicule or call the other names.
- Dictate how the other dresses.
- Do not make time for each other.
- Criticize the other’s friends, family…
- Are afraid of the other’s temper.
- Discourage the other from being close with anyone else.
- Ignore each other when one is speaking.
- Are overly possessive or get jealous about ordinary behavior.
- Criticize or support others in criticizing people with your gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other personal attribute.
- Control the other’s money or other resources (e.g., car).
- Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, or objects of personal value.
- Push, grab, hit, punch, or throw objects.
- Use physical force or threats to prevent the other from leaving.
How do you know that you have a healthy relationship with someone?
- You feel good about yourself when you are with that person.
- You support each other.
- You take an interest in one another’s lives: health, family, work, etc.
- You think that both people work hard to treat the other person well.
- You feel safe around the other person.
- You like being with the other person.
- You feel that you can trust him or her with your secrets.
- You communicate clearly and openly.
- You have letters, phone calls, and e-mail that are completely your own.
- You make healthy decisions about alcohol or other drugs.
- You encourage other friendships.
- You are honest about your past and present sexual activity if the relationship is intimate.
- You know that most people in your life are happy about the relationship.
- You have more good times in the relationship than bad.
Since David and I have both been in an unhealthy relationship (or two), we are both much appreciative of each other, we’re extremely respectful of each other, and we are open and honest with each other.
The other week I was really stressed out over a number of things (wedding planning, etc) and I needed some time to unwind. David tells me, “Go hang out with your friends. You haven’t done that in a long while. Go! Have fun!” He has to go to bed really early that night because he as to be at work in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun has even risen. He also tells me, “Dress up….(and then) You look sexy!” and in the back of my mind I’m thinking Oh, I better change. This is too sexy…I’m unsure about going out, unsure about what I have on…And it hits me! Whew! WTH!? I’m unsure because I had “learned” not to dress remotely sexy, to dress so that I wouldn’t draw attention to myself, and even though I’d gotten past the bulk of all that after I became single, and made myself become a “work-in-progress” so I could re-develop my self-esteem and confidence, had finally become completely happy all by myself and was really enjoying being alone, now that I’m in a serious relationship I have few unresolved small issues lurking in the recesses of my mind.
David and I talk about it. We talk about everything. He doesn’t judge me. He hugs me. Tells me how much he loves me and appreciates me. How wonderful I am and how he knows I haven’t been able to spend much time with my friends lately, and I should enjoy myself. Tells me how beautiful and sexy I am, and how blessed he is that he has me in his life. He also tells me how much he trusts me, and how when he wanted to hang out with his friends, which included a short road trip out of town, I didn’t blink an eye and said, “Have fun. Be careful.” As we talked, I was once again amazed at how wonderful my future husband is, and how amazing it is to be in a happy, healthy relationship.