Promoting Healthy Relationships

By Sunny Lim

There are signs to watch out for to help us understand if we are in healthy or unhealthy relationships. The media bombards us with relationship discussions whether it’s talk shows, 90 Day Fiancé, Love Island, or gossip. With social media, there are countless dating platforms and apps for people to meet up. Some of the aforementioned media doesn’t always show healthy relationships. People have criticized films and tv shows that glorify toxic, obsessive relationships. 

Because the media overwhelms us with depictions of relationships, it’s important for us to be aware of what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. It’s necessary to know how to spot the differences for our own safety and well-being.

Unhealthy relationships have borderline or fully abusive dynamics and actions occurring. It is also difficult for a person to break free of an unhealthy relationship if they don’t know they are in one. Glamorizing and romanticizing unhealthy relationships is dangerous and threatens people’s level of happiness as well as their mental health.

Promoting healthy relationships is the best method for ensuring people’s safety and it is helpful to be aware of what unhealthy versus healthy dynamics look like. Healthy relationships enrich our lives by adding to them and boosting our happiness. Relationships provide us with support when we face difficulties and stressful days. 

Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, so they are partnerships — one person should not be dominating or controlling the other person. Although some healthy relationship dynamics might be obvious to some people, it isn’t always as apparent to others. 

There are various ways you can share and promote healthy relationships. You can participate in campaigns raising awareness on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. You can also encourage and participate in an open discussion with your friends, co-workers, and family members about what their thoughts are and how they compare. Also, it might be helpful to organize an event for teenagers and other students to learn about healthy relationships such as a classroom presentation. Additionally, you could talk about media and its role along with analyzing fictional shows or reality tv romantic relationships.

There are also multiple signs that you can look for to determine whether you are in a healthy or an unhealthy relationship. 

Trust 

Does your partner constantly ask where you are, try to look through your text messages and social media, or accuse you of cheating? If so, these are typical signs of an unhealthy relationship. Healthy relationships are built on mutual trust without crossing boundaries. You shouldn’t have to share your passwords, reassure your partner you’re not cheating, or tell them where you are every hour. If your partner doesn’t trust you and acts this way, it’s a toxic dynamic.

Open communication

Can you have honest conversations with your partner? Does your partner ignore your attempts at having an open dialogue? If they also constantly accuse you of lying and don’t pay any mind to your thoughts or feelings, then it’s another sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Pacing

Did the start and pace of the relationship feel comfortable or rushed? Was there love bombing present? If you feel as if the relationship was rushed, then it leans toward an unhealthy dynamic. If your partner is already mentioning marriage plans or saying how much they love you on the first day of the relationship, then it might be best to step away from them.

Freedom

Does your partner insist on sticking together all the time? Do they respect your time? In a healthy relationship, you should be able to devote your own time to your own interests, hobbies, and schedules. 

Accountability 

Does your partner play the blame game? If your partner doesn’t own up to their wrongdoings in the relationship and only blames you as the constant problem, that’s another red flag.

Gut feelings

In addition to all the warning signs mentioned previously, trust your gut. Sometimes we have a gut feeling that tells us something isn’t right even though we don’t have a logical reason why we feel this way. If your partner’s actions are triggering a warning bell inside your head, then it’s best to go with your gut.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.

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