Developing Healthy Relationships and Recognizing When They Aren’t

By: Mary James

Two puzzle pieces that fit

Relationships have the potential to enrich and add enjoyment to our lives. However, relationships can also cause discomfort and can even cause harm emotionally and physically. An unhealthy relationship can cause frustration, heartache, and worry. A healthy relationship should bring more happiness than stress into your life. Every relationship has healthy and unhealthy characteristics.

A healthy relationship is based on mutual respect. Respect is very important in a relationship: respecting your significant other for who they are. Trusting one another to make the right choices in the relationship is another characteristic. Communication is a key part to building a healthy relationship. It’s important to talk about what’s on your mind or what is bothering you so you two can work things out instead of keeping everything bottled in because that may lead to an outburst and certainly isn’t a good trait no matter what. Being on the same page is very important. Knowing where you two stand in the relationship. Other key characteristics to help maintain a healthy relationship are supporting one another, honesty, and being accountable. A healthy relationship is about building each other up not putting each other down.

All of these aspects take time, it doesn’t just happen in a relationship. The two people have to work at it every day. Every relationship will have stress but it’s important to communicate and not let this stress prolong. Love and respect should be the basis of a healthy relationship. Appreciating each other in a relationship is central, you want to make the other person feel wanted. Not taking each other for grated will help maintain a healthy relationship. Also good communication between the two is another important trait. Learning when to sit down and be open to talk about situations that may be bothering you in the relationship. This will enable you to take the necessary steps to ensure happiness.

Unhealthy relationships cause tension and stress for both members involved in the relationship and may almost certainly lead to other problems in other areas of their life. An unhealthy relationship can consist of a lot of things such as feeling pressure to change who you are for the other person. Attempting to control or manipulate one another or trying to control what your partner does is unhealthy. It’s important to give your partner privacy in a relationship. Sometimes people need space and it’s important to give them that space. An unequal control of resources is another sign of an unhealthy relationship, such as over money or the car. If you’re constantly having to justify your actions, explain where you’ve been, who you were with, and what you were doing, that’s harmful. Your partner should trust you but if they’re constantly interrogating you, that’s unhealthy.

These characteristics do not necessarily mean the relationship is coming to an end. These are signs to look out for and begin to work on improving the negative aspects to benefit both sides of the relationship. If you begin to experience yelling or physical violence during arguments that’s when the relationship moves beyond unhealthy and into dangerous. If your partner ever tries to harm you physically or force you to do something you don’t want to do, that’s a sign to seek help. Physical and mental abuse is a clear sign of an unhealthy relationship. Even if you believe the person loves you, it does not make up for the harm they are doing to you.

An abusive relationship includes verbal abuse such as name-calling, threats, and lies. Emotional abuse consists of criticism, jealousy, inappropriate comments, making the other person feel weak. Physical abuse consists of choking, pushing, hitting, and any harm done to the body. These relationships are the ones that need to end. There is no excuse for any kind of abuse in any relationship.

Abusers often try to isolate their partner. Talk to your friends, family members, someone you trust. There are so many resources you can turn to for advice and help.

Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse is a located in the Inland Northwest. They provide 24-hour emergency and supportive services to family and sexual violence victims. Services are available for concerned, supportive family, friends, and community members.

The Counseling and Testing Center is located on the University of Idaho campus. They offer a wide range of counseling services, resources, and referrals. They offer individual counseling and couples counseling. They also offer crisis management.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline consists of highly trained advocates who are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with. They also offer live chat services. They provide confidential one on one support.

Anyone can fall into an unhealthy relationship. There are plenty of resources and options for people who are currently facing these struggles. It takes courage to reach out and to be healthy, but there are resources available.


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