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Identifying healthy/unhealthy (“toxic”) relationships

A new relationship can be a wonderful and exciting time. During this time it can be easy to romanticize your partner and/or brush off unhealthy behaviors; otherwise known as “red flags”. This is why it is important to learn how to identify the difference between healthy, unhealthy (“toxic”), and abusive relationships; not only for yourself but you can potentially be helping a friend or loved one. Below you can find a short list to give you a better understanding:

Healthy relationship:

  • Respect: values each other’s feelings, boundaries, opinions, and needs.
  • Trusting: believing one another and not having to “prove” trustworthiness. 
  • Equal: you can your partner make decisions together and hold one another to the same standards. 
  • Consent: you and your partner both consent to sexual activity and can safely discuss what is and is not comfortable.
  • Communicative: talking openly about problems and respecting each other’s opinions. 

Unhealthy relationships:

  • Disrespectful: inconstant behaviors towards one another.
  • Not trusting: feeling entitled to invade your partners privacy and refusing to believe your partner. 
  • Control: believing that one’s opinion or desires is more important that the others
  • Pressured into sexual activity: guilting, pressuring, or coercing your partner into sexual acts or reproductive choices.
  • Non-communicative: not discussing or fighting when problem arise.

Abusive Relationships: (Please asses your safety risk. Safety will always be our number one concern.)

  • Mistreats: not respecting thoughts, feelings, or physical safety.
  • Making untrue accusations: accusations of cheating or breaking boundaries. Your partner making you “prove” your trustworthiness by handing over phone, email, and/or social media passwords.
  • Control: One partner makes all the decisions ( or certain parts such as financial) without the others input.
  • Force: forcing or pressuring partner into sexual activity they did not want. It can also include taking control of your partners reproductive rights by pressuring them to have or not have a child, or sabotaging birth control. 
  • Communication: communicates in a hurtful, insulting, and/or threatening manner.

Remember to ask for support, you are not alone. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact a professional.