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DATING 101 WHAT IS A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP?

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Is there a couple in your life that you admire? Do you look up to some one who is in a relationship that you think is healthy? What do you think makes their relationship HEALTHY?

There are three elements needed to create a HEALTHY relationship.

  • Element #1: Trust & Honesty
  • Element #2: Respect
  • Element #3: Emotional & Physical -Safety

TRUST

There must be MUTUAL TRUST in a healthy partnership. Both partners can be counted on to be honest and reliable. It is far wiser to choose a partner who is trustworthy in the first place, than to find someone dishonest, and hope to change them. Each of you can have outside friends and interests, without constant accusations of cheating, etc. Trust is earned over time. You do not have to automatically trust just anyone. You can pick and choose whom you believe seems trustworthy, and then allow them to gradually earn your trust, based on their actions.

HONESTY

Honesty and trust go hand-in-hand. If you catch your partner lying to you, it will become harder and harder to believe what they say to you. This breaks down the level of trust in the relationship. In domestic violence, many batterers are extremely jealous, suspicious, or controlling. It is not unusual for a person to be emotionally abused or physically injured for things like talking to a member of the opposite sex because their partner imagines that they are flirting, or even cheating on them. In cases like this, a person finds themselves lying in order to avoid abuse. THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING A TRULY DISHONEST PERSON. In domestic violence, lying sometimes becomes a survival skill.

RESPECT

For most couples, respect seems to be the hardest to define, and the trickiest to keep in the relationship.  There is a subtle difference between showing respect to someone, and having respect for someone. Displaying good manners, or “being polite to elders or people in authority”, are examples of showing respect.  But in order to truly have respect for someone, you also need to admire them a little and how they live their life.

EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL SAFETY

In order to have a loving, nurturing, healthy relationship, there must also be safety. Obviously, if your partner has pushed, kicked, hit you, etc., there is not peaceful assurance that there is physical safety with this person. If your partner makes fun of you, humiliates you, laughs at you, deliberately discloses sensitivities to others, etc., then there is no emotional safety.

ABUSIVE PEOPLE AND UNHEALTHY REALTIONSHIPS

If somebody you’re in a dating relationship with seems to get angry at you frequently, or even really angry once in a while, there’s a really good chance they’re afraid of something and don’t even know it.  Here’s an example:

Your girlfriend or boyfriend sees you talking to someone during lunch and suspects you are flirting with that person even though you aren’t.  They come over and start glaring or even accusing you in an angry or sarcastic tone.  Or maybe they begin to flirt with someone else in front of you to try and make you jealous.  Maybe they give you the “cold shoulder”.

The person seems angry or distant, but what is this person really feeling?  If you think about it, the person is really afraid you’re not interested in them anymore or may want you to leave them.  They’re also too afraid to be honest or to admit that they’re insecure.  They may not even be aware of their own fear.  The bottom line is usually this: Frightened, insecure people often seek power.  And sometimes they may become verbally or even physically abusive to get it.  From their angry and blurry perspective, they think you’re doing something to hurt them, and now they are going to get you back or put you in your place.

When somebody becomes abusive, critical or controlling, it’s a strong indication they’re not very happy or secure with themselves.  So, it makes sense that if somebody isn’t very happy or secure in a dating relationship, they’re probably not very happy being alone either.

Changing social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

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