Relationships are never easy. Everyone gets angry sometimes, and the most loving couples will argue. That’s normal. But if you are arguing too much, it can be unsafe. It’s important to know what is healthy and what is not. If your relationship is unhealthy, it can affect your mental health and overall health. Understanding what makes relationships healthy or unhealthy can make all the difference.
Know the Signs
Signs of a healthy relationship are:
- Supporting each other
- Having more good times than bad
- Having a life outside the relationship, with your own friends and family
- Making choices together
- Dealing with conflicts by talking honestly
- Feeling that you are allowed to be yourself
- Signs of an unhealthy relationship include:
- Being afraid of your partner
- Dropping friends and family or activities you enjoy
- Spending all your energy on your partner
- Feeling pressured or controlled by your partner
- Having more bad times in the relationship than good
- Feeling sad or scared when you are together
When relationships are unhealthy, it can lead to abuse. But abuse isn’t always physical. There are many types of abuse, like mental and emotional. Even if it isn’t physical, abuse can still be harmful to your health. It can lead to depression, anxiety and fear.
Some signs of abuse may include your partner:
- Watching what you do all the time
- Controlling your money
- Stopping you from seeing friends or family
- Getting angry when drinking or using drugs
- Blaming you for his or her violent outbursts
- Destroying things that you care about
- Threatening you or your loved ones
- Hitting, pushing or biting
- Threatening to hurt himself or herself when upset with you
Besides mental and physical abuse, there is sexual abuse. Never allow yourself to feel forced into sex. In healthy relationships, sex should always be safe and positive. Know what each other wants and make sure you both agree.
Break the Cycle
Abuse is common and it happens every day. But women and men can help prevent abuse through talking with each other. Talk to your children about healthy relationships that are not violent. Be sure to show your children how by treating your partner with respect.
You may be in a healthy relationship, but know someone who is not. If this happens, listen to him or her and encourage them to get help. Never blame them, or tell them they don’t have the right to feel afraid. Never force them to make a choice, but help them find healthy options.
If you or someone you know is being abused, there is help. You can get the support you need. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or counselor. If you are afraid to end the relationship, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (TTY: 1-800-787-3224). If you are in a crisis, call 911.
Sources: Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.