Jealousy is a common issue in many relationships. It’s normal to feel some jealousy with our partners, but what determines if a person’s relationship behaviors are healthy, unhealthy or abusive is how they deal with their jealous feelings. Since there are so many different ways to go about confronting your own jealousy, we want to break down some of the myths and help you learn to handle jealousy in a healthy way.
Love seems to be everywhere. In songs, movies, TV shows, books and magazines, we’re told that it’s the greatest thing in the world and that all you need is love.
But the truth is, love isn’t always enough of a reason to stay in a relationship.
Don’t get us wrong: loving someone, or caring deeply for them, is a wonderful thing, but it’s a feeling that can also make a relationship complicated. We hear from many people who tell us about unhealthy behaviors or feeling unhappy in a relationship but say that they still love their partners. It’s very possible to have feelings of love for someone even if they are mistreating you.
It seems like a no-win situation. When someone you’re close to says something like this, it can feel like the world just stopped spinning.
People who have a mental illness, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, typically have a higher risk for suicide. Depression, a history of substance abuse, and other disorders carry risks as well. If your partner truly wishes to die and has a plan and intention to follow through, get immediate help. Call your local emergency number, or call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
But what if your partner regularly threatens suicide, particularly whenever you’re not doing something he or she wants you to do, or when you’re trying to leave the relationship? First, understand that this is a form of emotional abuse: your partner is trying to manipulate you by playing on your feelings of love and fear for them. You might get angry when this happens, but you also might feel like you have to give in to them in order to avoid a potential tragedy. When your partner makes these threats repeatedly, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and possibly help your partner as well.
Tell your partner you care about them, but stick to your boundaries. Giving in to threats over and over does not make a relationship healthy, and it only creates anger and resentment on your end. You could say something like, “You know I care about you very much, and I understand you’re upset right now, but I will not _____.”
Put the choice to live or die where it belongs – on your partner. You can’t be responsible for another person’s actions, no matter what – and this includes when your partner chooses to be abusive. An optional response is: “I think our relationship should be based on love and respect, not threats. I really care about you, but this is your choice and I can’t stop you from making it.”
Remember that no matter what your partner says, you don’t have to prove anything. Even though they might be saying something like, “If you really loved me, you’d stop me from killing myself,” the real truth is that there are unhealthy patterns in your relationship. Until those unhealthy patterns are addressed, they will most likely continue no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s demands.
If your partner often says they’re going to kill themselves when things aren’t going their way, they’re not showing you love – they’re likely trying to control your actions. If this is the case, consider the tips above and try to get help where you can. You might try talking to a counselor or other professional therapist, if that’s an option for you. But remember, you are not your partner’s counselor, and you can’t force your partner to get help if they don’t want to. They have to make that choice for themselves.
Please keep in mind that these tips may not be right for everyone; you know your own situation best. If you’d like to talk through these tips with one of our advocates, please get in touch with us by phone 24/7 or online chat everyday from 7am-2am CST. We’re here for you!
For teens, a first relationship is exciting. However, we know that sometimes relationships can mean disappointment, broken hearts and even abuse. As a parent, teaching your child about healthy relationships is a good step to prepare them for the future. It’s never too early to talk about it!
Begin by asking questions to learn about what your teen already knows or thinks about relationships, such as “Are any of your friends dating? What kind of person would you want to date?”
It’s important to be open and honest with teens and give them space to express their own feelings and concerns. Start the conversation by discussing the elements of a healthy relationship:
Freedom to Be Yourself
Tell your teen that they should feel comfortable expressing who they are. This means spending time with the people they like, dressing in ways that they choose, and participating in the activities that make them happy.
Both people in the partnership should speak to each other respectfully. Partners should avoid put-downs, even in the heat of a disagreement.
While the green-eyed monster is sometimes mistaken for caring, a good partner doesn’t make their partner feel guilty for spending time with family or friends instead of them.
In a healthy relationship, partners offer a listening ear and encouragement for their significant other’s ideas and aspirations. In bad times, a partner can be the one to turn to for comfort.
While sharing can be a good thing between a couple, being someone’s partner doesn’t require a person to open up every aspect of their life. Partners are still allowed their privacy, which means they don’t have to share their passwords or their call/text history.
Setting boundaries is an important part of any relationship. A couple should talk about what they’re comfortable with — how often will they see each other, how far do they want to go physically, etc.
Trust and honesty are key foundations to a healthy relationship. Both partners should be able to talk about feelings openly without fearing negative consequences. Partners should be able to discuss serious matters safely face-to-face and find the right time to do so. Compromise is often part of a healthy relationship.
By starting a conversation about healthy dating with your children now, they are more likely to feel comfortable coming to you in the future when they need to talk. If you suspect that your teen may currently be experiencing dating abuse in their relationship, read about how you can help and resources you can pass along.
What exactly do we mean by healthy though? And who decides what is healthy and what’s not? In the coming weeks, we want to look at what makes a healthy relationship so healthy, and what steps can be taken to improve the health of a relationship.
What Is Healthy?
Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent. Here are some signs of a healthy relationship.
- Treat each other with respect
- Feel supported to do things they like
- Don’t criticize each other
- Allow each other to spend time with friends and family
- Listen to each other and compromise
- Share some interests such as movies, sports, reading, dancing or music
- Aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and feelings
- Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes
- Respect boundaries and do not abuse technology
- Trust each other and don’t require their partner to “check in”
- Don’t pressure the other to do things that they don’t want to do
- Don’t constantly accuse each other of cheating or being unfaithful
There are two major components of healthy relationships: communication and boundaries.
Communication allows you and your partner to have a deep understanding of each other. Do you feel that you can openly talk to your partner? Do you feel heard when you express your feelings? Do you allow your partner the same chance? Communication allows two people to connect.
Setting boundariesis also an important part of a healthy relationship. There are two distinct people in a relationship. While a couple should have shared goals and values, it also matters that both people have their needs met. Each person should express to their partner what they are and are not comfortable with, especially when it comes to their sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space and time.
Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.
Stay tuned for more information about healthy relationships. How do you define “healthy relationships?” If you need support in your relationship, don’t hesitate to call a Hotline advocate today at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).
The most popular gifts loved ones give each other for Valentine’s day are roses, chocolates and jewelry. Yes, it is nice to get the flowers and treats, but it is also nice to know that you are in a loving and secure relationship. The best gift you can give a loved one is the gift of a healthy relationship year-round.
Here are some tips to a healthy relationship:
- Be respectful, thoughtful and kind. This sounds simple enough but there are times when our own emotions get in the way and we take out our stress and anger on those we love.
- Be honest and talk openly with each other if something is bothering you. If there is conflict, see if there is a compromise that suits you both.
- Be supportive of each other’s successes and also be there for one another when things don’t go quite right.
- Maintain your own identities and spend some time apart so that you do not become dependent on each other and isolated from friends and family.
If you’re a parent, remember that maintaining a healthy relationship is also good for your children. They mimic what they see at home so show them through your own relationship what they should look for in a partner. It is never too early to talk with your children about how to develop a healthy relationship.
Consider these goals for teaching your children about relationships:
- Ensure they respect other people and other people’s property.
- Show them how to address a situation that makes them angry without using violence or angry words.
- If they have a problem with a friend, talk to them about compromises.
- Teach them that there are consequences for our actions. Kids need to know this, even at an early age.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship but you should strive for a healthy relationship that makes you happy and doesn’t cause you an inordinate amount of stress. Everyone deserves love, dignity and respect in their relationship.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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