“Am I Hurting My Partner?”
Even the best of relationships have their ups and downs. You hate it when your boyfriend leaves dirty dishes in the sink… for the third night in a row. Your wife keeps scheduling all the holiday visits with her in-laws and you just wanted to see your family this Christmas. You can’t pry your husband away from the football game even when you had plans to go out.
In any relationship there are arguments both big and small that can cause hurt feelings. What distinguishes the arguments in a healthy relationship from those in an unhealthy relationship is how they’re handled, how each partner responds to them and how both partners communicate about them.
Have you ever thought that you may be behaving in a way that could be physically or mentally harmful to your partner? These behaviors are often difficult to recognize if you’re the one doing them — but acknowledging that you may be hurting your partner is the first step in moving toward a healthier relationship.
Check in with yourself: How do you act toward your partner?
- Get angry or insecure about your partner’s relationships with others (friends, family, coworkers) and feel possessive?
- Frequently call and text to check up on your partner, or have them check in with you?
- Check up on your partner in different ways? (Ex. Reading their personal emails, checking their texts)
- Feel like your partner needs to ask your permission to go out, get a job, go to school or spend time with others?
- Get angry when your partner doesn’t act the way you want them to or do what you want them to?
- Blame your anger on drugs, alcohol, or your partner’s actions?
- Find it very difficult to control your anger and calm down?
- Express your anger by threatening to hurt your partner, or actually physically doing so?
- Express your anger verbally through raising your voice, name calling or using put-downs?
- Forbid your partner from spending money, or require that they have an allowance and keep receipts of their spending?
- Force or attempt to force your partner to be intimate with you?
- Blow up in anger at small incidents or “mistakes” your partner makes?
How does your partner react?
- Seem nervous around you?
- Seem afraid of you?
- Cringe or move away from you when you’re angry?
- Cry because of something you don’t let them do, or something you made them do?
- Seem scared or unable to contradict you or speak up about something?
- Restrict their own interaction with friends, coworkers or family in order to avoid displeasing you?
If any of these behaviors sound familiar to how you act or how your partner reacts, it could be a red flag that you may be hurting them. This can be a difficult and unnerving realization to come to.
So — what now? At the hotline we take calls from everyone, from concerned friends and family, to those questioning unhealthy behaviors in their relationship (whether they’re on the giving or receiving end of the actions). Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to confidentially talk to one of our advocates. We’ll discuss these behaviors with you, learn about what’s going on and take it from there.
By acknowledging now that your behaviors might be questionable and taking responsibility for them, you’re a step ahead in beginning to correct them.