Building a Healthy Relationship
Abusive relationships are about power and control. Healthy relationships are about sharing and negotiating and respecting boundaries. We all come to relationships with our histories and views on relationships. We also come from a community / media that sends very disrespectful messages to women and men about how they are valued and others are not. Thus no one is immune to finding themselves in an unhealthy relationship. However, the basis of creating a healthy relationship is knowing yourself and learning to voice your wants and boundaries. Also it is knowing the warning signs of an abusive person so it allows the woman to get out as early as possible. For women, many have learned not to voice their concerns, or believe that you can save or heal someone even if they hurt you or they believe they are not good enough thus deserve poor treatment. Unlearning these beliefs and valuing your worth is one way that you will be able to build a healthy relationship. The other way is that the partner you choose must come with the same kind of maturity.
Below is a list of characteristics found in healthy relationships. This list can be used along with the “Evaluate Your Relationship” to help you better understand your own relationship.
- Have fun together more often than not
- Each enjoy spending time separately, with your own friends, as well as with each other’s friends
- Always feel safe with each other
- Trust each other, without exceptions
- Are faithful to each other if you have made this commitment
- Support each other’s individual goals in life, like getting a job or going to college
- Respect each other’s opinions, even when they are different
- Solve conflicts without putting each other down, cursing at each other or making threats
- Both accept responsibility for your actions
- Both apologize when you’re wrong
- Have equal decision-making power about what you do in your relationship
- Each control your own money
- Are proud to be with each other
- Encourage each other’s interests - like sports and extracurricular activities
- Have some privacy - your letters, diary, personal phone calls are respected as your own
- Have close friends and family who like the other person and are happy about the relationship
- Never feel like you’re being pressured for sex
- Communicate about sex, if your relationship is sexual
- Allow each other ‘space’ when you need it
- Always treat each other with respect
Remember, you have the right to be treated with respect. Let your partner know what your expectations and boundaries are for the relationship.