All of these facts about the wide variety of abuses and the wide variety of victims might seem like an insurmountable problem, but we have the power to change things on an individual level by promoting healthy relationships in our own lives. There is a whole spectrum of ways our partners or ourselves might be creating unhealthy relationship habits. Noticing these habits before they get worse is the first step to changing them.
We might know the things we don’t want - not being hit, not being controlled, not being raped and not being threatened - but do we know what we do want? There are two major concepts that make up a healthy relationship, along with a lot of other factors that are related:
Communication and Sharing: Open communication allows you to share things with someone in order to develop intimacy. If you are confident that the other person won’t lie or withhold information, there’s no need for intrusive checking-in or threats. Additionally, communication is the way to make positive changes in a relationship by talking about what might not be going well.
Respect and Trust: Open communication and sharing likely depends upon a foundation of respect and trust. Mutual respect allows you to work through conflicts and disagreements with the people in your life, without resorting to violence because you respect them and their opinions/choices. Trust is not only trusting that someone is being truthful, but it also involves trusting that someone respects you enough to do their best to be a good friend, partner or family member.
With these foundations under your belt, developing a healthy relationship with respected boundaries, clear expectations for communication and open dialogue about physical contact should be smooth sailing.
Read more on our next post "What We Can Do For Others" coming to the blog on Tuesday!
Author: Morgen Snowadzky, Ujima Intern
If things don’t feel right, something is probably not right. Loveisrespect.org offers free, confidential online chatting to talk to someone about concerns around dating violence.OR Call the local help line at Women Against Abuse (1-866-723-3014)
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